Thursday, September 19, 2013

An Interview With Iron Man 3 Co-Writer Drew Pearce

Marvel Studios’ Iron Man 3 pits brash-but-brilliant industrialist Tony Stark/Iron Man against an enemy whose reach knows no bounds. When Stark finds his personal world destroyed at his enemy's hands, he embarks on a harrowing quest to find those responsible. This journey, at every turn, will test his mettle. With his back against the wall, Stark is left to survive by his own devices, relying on his ingenuity and instincts to protect those closest to him. As he fights his way back, Stark discovers the answer to the question that has secretly haunted him: does the man make the suit or does the suit make the man?  With the 3D Super Set and Blu-ray Combo Pack of Iron Man 3 about to be released, Drew Pearce – who co-wrote the screenplay – talks about the epic superhero project…

When it comes to superhero movies, what makes Iron Man 3 stand out from the crowd?
Coming into this project, [Iron Man 3 director and co-screenwriter] Shane [Black] said he wanted to bring in lots of different genres because a movie like this is sometimes just regarded as a superhero movie. One of the great things about the first Iron Man that we always discussed was the fact that it’s as much a romantic-comedy as it is an action movie.

How similar is the Tony Stark we see in Iron Man 3 to the Tony Stark we see in Marvel comic books ?

I think what’s interesting about the Marvel universe is the way that we take ideas and characters from the comic books, but there is no version of Tony Stark in the comic books that’s exactly like the one in the Marvel cinematic universe. I think one of the brilliant things that Marvel does is they use great actors like Rebecca Hall [who plays Maya Hansen in Iron Man 3], Guy Pearce [who plays Aldrich Killian] and Sir Ben Kingsley [who plays The Mandarin], and it ends up being a bit more symbiotic. To be honest, it’s a bit more old-fashioned. You end up writing to the great actors as much as you do to your inspirations in the comics and the ideas you have.

Tony Stark is very cynical as a character. Does that add a cynical tone to the movie?
My sense of humor – along with Shane and Robert Downey Jr.’s – is quite cynical and is about undercutting things. Weirdly, even though I think the tone of the movie is somewhat sarcastic or cheeky at times, I actually think the overall tone of the movie is Capra-esque. There’s a bit of hope and a bit of love. It’s sincere, and [Jon] Favreau set a brilliant template for that in the first movie. For all the myth and all the comic book themes, what he always came back to was grown-up emotional reality – and you see that mostly in the Tony Stark/Pepper Potts relationship. In this movie, you see it in the relationships with Killian and Maya as well.

Christmas is a common theme that runs through a lot of Shane Black movies. Lethal Weapon, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and now Iron Man 3 are all set during the holiday season. Why was this period chosen as the setting of this Marvel movie?
If I was going to go and see a Shane Black Iron Man 3 movie, then it had to be at Christmas – but there’s always a reason for it, too. There’s something interesting about Christmas. When you’re telling a story that’s about taking characters apart, it almost has more resonance if you put it at Christmas. If you’re telling a story about lonely characters, then that loneliness is heightened at Christmas, too.

You wrote a 25-page outline and treatment for Iron Man 3 in a matter of days, which then led to you signing up to write the movie’s script alongside Shane Black. How quick was the screenwriting process?
To be honest, the process was way longer than that. I had some notes at the beginning of the project, but this process truthfully started with Shane and I on opposite sofas in his house surrounded by his dogs trying to eat the treats off the table. That’s where we sat for four months. Marvel let us cook the stew for as long as possible before they saw what we had, which was great.

What themes or scenes were always in the storyline and script for Iron Man 3?
Marvel always knew there were certain points that we wanted to hit. We wanted to take stuff away from Tony and the house attack was always very much on the cards – but other than that, it was really all up for grabs. It was a case of Shane and I sitting around talking rubbish for as long as possible until we found stories that we really liked.

At the beginning of Iron Man 3, War Machine became Iron Patriot. Why did you decide to bring this particular character to the movie?

One of the things in the stew of this movie is the idea of symbols. We thought about the way that in the modern age, symbols are more powerful than the facts themselves, or of the substance behind them. Even though Iron Patriot as a concept in the comic books has nothing to do with what we play with here, the outfit plays into that idea because it’s such a potent-looking super-heroic notion. Quite early on, he went into the pot because we love the idea of playing around with that. We also liked the theme, as well as comedy and the reality of the fact that there’s a superhero getting rebranded in order to make it more popular, which feels like it was something that could genuinely happen in the real world. That was our reason for including him.

And finally… How many Iron Man movies do you think there are going to be in the Marvel franchise?
Eight? [Laughs] I don’t know. It’s interesting because Robert is at a place where he doesn’t have to do any movies, so unless he’s excited about the idea of what the character is going to do and that it’s going to feel fresh and that there is still a story to tell, he’s genuinely not going to do it. It’s two years of his life. We found something in Iron Man 3 that he definitely did want to engage with. I’m sure it can be done again.

Iron Man 3 Arrives on Blu-ray September 24!  Order your copy today!

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