Iron Man 2: Interview with star Robert Downey Jr.

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Robert Downey Jr. returns as Tony Stark in "Iron Man 2," which also stars Scarlett Johansson, Don Cheadle, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Mickey Rourke. The Marvel film, which is directed by Jon Favreau, is being released May 7 by Paramount. 

“I think the tone of ‘Iron Man’ was what made the movie a winner," says Downey. "There was this feeling that we took the subject matter seriously but didn’t take ourselves too seriously.  I remember even when I was testing for the film I knew it was really important for me to be able to demonstrate the sort of stoic and fiery side of Tony Stark, but to also be able to score with the humor.”


A Changing Character


Downey traces the evolution of Tony Stark’s life from the end of the first film to the beginning of “Iron Man 2.”  “In the first film Tony was in this kind of nether-world, somebody who needed to be put in check.  By the time ‘Iron Man 2’ starts you’re essentially seeing Tony’s persona, and he’s showing that persona to everything and everyone around him because he doesn’t want them to know that anything has changed.  But a lot has changed, and he’s really in quite a desperate way.  The hero’s journey is really what he’s not telling people, not what he’s doing with or without a suit on.  And that extends to his own emotional insecurity by not really being able to share it with Pepper.”


On the addition of Don Cheadle


Says Downey: “Don is too evolved as a person and as an actor to just pick up where someone left off. He chose to be true to the character and the seriousness of the story, which shows a lot of discipline since he’s an actor with so much natural charm.  Of course, as it turns out, he still pulls off some great lines in the movie.” 


Going Global


“The Monaco race to me encapsulates all of Tony’s worldly endeavors outside the scope of just Stark Industries and also his passion for racing, something again which was probably passed down by his father,” says Downey. “It’s like the Super Bowl, the European Super Bowl and I think Tony participates as a way of letting off steam because so much has been happening in his life.  Of course, it turns out to be the worst idea he’s ever had.” 


Working with Favreau again


Downey says that his and Favreau’s relationship is complex and, ultimately, fruitful.  “Jon and I are kind of insane, but we’re also grounded and really open-minded.  We really gave each other a lot of freedom.  There’s an openness that makes it kind of special and we both force the other to use every ounce of innovation he has in him.  Again, we take what we’re doing very seriously but we don’t take ourselves particularly seriously and what’s important to us is that people will want to join us in enjoying the ‘Iron Man’ experience.”