Shane Black On ‘Iron Man 3’

Shane Black was both talkative and elusive at the Long Beach Comic Con when it came to his upcoming projects. The big news was the upcoming ‘Iron Man 3’ movie that he’s directing but he also revealed what he’d like to do with a ‘Doc Savage’ film.

At a Q&A session, Black told the audience that he was handpicked by Robert Downey Jr. to direct ‘Iron Man 3’ and even received a phone call from the actor to convince him to take the job. Regarding the conversation, Black states, “Robert called me and said, ‘I have big plans for you!'” Although he was supposed to write the script and direct, he did admit that he was a bit surprised to find out that the writing job was given to Drew Pearce.  “All of a sudden I’m reading the paper and it’s like, Drew Pearce writing ‘Iron Man’! I went to work and said, ‘You guys, he’s British for Christ sakes!  But what happened was this great collaboration and friendship with this great, lovely British writer.”

Thanks to Comic Book Resources, here are some of the highlights of Black’s Q&A session:

  • Who will be the villain? “We decided that the villain was going to be the Melter – no, I’m kidding,” joked Black and continued to say, “That’s the problem, isn’t it? Iron Man never really had good villains.” When audience members suggested the Mandarin, Black dismissed it as a racist caricature. He then said that he would not divulge any detail about the villain and it is more satisfying to see ‘Iron Man 3’ without knowing everything beforehand. As an analogy he jests, “Do you want to know when you’re going to die? No! Just wait, you’ll die.”
  • One problem Black had with ‘Iron Man 2’ was that the Tony Stark was not a “proactive” hero and it made a lot of ‘half choices.’ “The middle of the movie is Tony Stark sitting around his house!” complained Black. Emphasizing high stakes is extremely important to a movie
  • Black hopes to make bold choices with ‘Iron Man 3’ and plans on setting up multiple payoffs and twists. He wants to keep the movie dark, interesting and edgy.
  • Talking about the use of green screen vs CGI, Black states that while it is easier to use a green screen, it is harder for actors to react to nothing. He continues to say he likes to use CGI to enhance real footage and that in some instances CGI looks more real than the real thing. He goes on to give Iron Man’s armor as an example. The real armor looks faker onscreen than the CGI version. “These movies are so hard because you don’t know until two weeks before you come out what they are going to look like,” said Black.
  • Black requested Jon Favreau to return as Happy Hogan. . “I love him as an actor!” Black added.
  • Outside a few references, ‘Iron Man 3’ won’t involve the Avengers and will focus on Tony Stark. “We really want to make it Tony’s movie,” said Black.
  • The director confirmed Gwyneth Paltrow and Don Cheadle will return in this sequel.
  • When asked if Black Widow would be returning Black evasively replied, “I’ll check the script and see if that’s in there.”
  • Black stated he felt Robert Downey Jr. was perfect to play Tony Stark. “Tony is so indelibly Robert,” said Black. “Robert and I share a voice…if I leave a line open, he’ll supply the ending because we both tend to go to the same place with our characters.”
  • Black confirmed that Stan Lee will make a cameo but doesn’t know what it will be yet and said it really depends on Lee’s schedule.
  • When asked if there was a particular ‘Iron Man’ comic story that will influence ‘Iron Man 3’, he replied, “I like the storyline where he was rich and there was a villain and then he wins.” He added that he went back and read a lot of Iron Man comics as research for the film but, “I cannot speak about the particulars of Iron Man.” One thing Black won’t do is go into Stark’s problem with alcoholism as was depicted in ‘Demon in a Bottle’ which focused on the stresses of Stark’s alter-ego causing him to delve deep into an alcohol addiction. He explains:”No, because if we go there… you really have to go there. The film then becomes about that, because the journey that involves recovering from alcoholism is an entire movie… I don’t think we want to go as far as to deal with Tony’s descent into alcoholic madness. That’s maybe not where we want to be.”

Shane Black On ‘Doc Savage’ Film Adaption

‘Iron Man’ wasn’t the only film Black was asked about. When asked whether he was still tapped to direct ‘Doc Savage’ he stated that if he does do the movie, he would like to film it in the same manner as the ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ films, an action adventure type of movie.

“If we do ‘Doc Savage,’ the challenge is make it adult. I think that there are so few practitioners of action movies these days who are doing worthwhile stuff that it behooves me to try to weigh in and try to do the ‘Raiders Of The Lost Ark’-type stuff, to try to recapture the magic. When I stood in line for a summer movie when I was coming up at eighteen, nineteen, twenty years old, I stood in line for two and a half, three hours and you got the goods! They delivered! And if they didn’t, you went outside and said, “Arg, ‘Indiana Jones 2’ wasn’t that good, I stood in line for three hours!” Now, you don’t know what you’re getting!  There’s just, I think, a decrease in the quality of these types of comic book action movies, and so it’s almost irresistible, sometimes, to try and shore that up a little, or weigh in at least with my opinion about what’s wrong and how it should be…I do want to do “Doc Savage.” The script is still evolving and I’m kind of busy, but I want to get it right and I want to do it.”

But it may be some time before he gets to ‘Doc Savage’ as he has ‘Death Note’ (an American adaptation of the Japanese anime/manga about a student who stumbles across a mystical notebook that has the power to kill any person whose name he writes in it) to do after he finishes ‘Iron Man 3.’

‘Iron Man 3’ is set for a May 2013 release and is scheduled to start production in North Carolina sometime early next spring.