Coming off of Swingers, one might not thought of Jon Favreau as a perfect fit to direct the screen adaptation of Iron Man, based on the popular Marvel comic. But at today’s Marvel Studios panel, it was obvious that fans thought Favreau was the right man to bring the saga of the armoured Avenger to the big screen. When asked why he chose to direct Iron Man, he said, “Clearly, Ant-Man was taken, so what’s left? What’s the best of the rest?”
Throughout the panel, the director shared his vision for the story arc of the film, the character of billionaire playboy Tony Stark, the man behind the armour, and the look of the suit itself. “We’ll start with the grey armour,” he said, citing that “you can’t build a Lamborghini in a cave.” This is in reference to the origin of the original suit, which Stark pieced together while being held prisoner in foreign lands (in this case, his imprisonment will likely take place in Afghanistan). From there, Favreau wants to evolve the look to the red and gold comics fans have become accustomed to, and ultimately incorporate the idea of the suit as weapons platform, a la War Machine. The director foresees several suits of armour throughout the film, and the look will evolve if multiple instalments of the saga are told.
Talking about the feel of the armour, Favreau stated, “There is a sort of Robocop-like quality this character could have… I like the weight and mass and power,” adding that this Iron Man would never be about martial arts “Power Rangers” moves, and instead all about heavy metal and heavy weapons.
For guidance on the suit design, Favreau turned to Iron Man artist Adi Granov. The digital painter designed a special teaser image exclusively for the Con that shows an idea of what the armour might look like. Of import is the centre light on Iron Man’s chest, which is round, rather than triangular, like in some Iron Man designs. In the teaser image, most of Iron Man is shrouded in shadow, as the final design has not yet been determined.
Favreau got a round of applause for stating that he hates the overuse of CG in films, but went on to say, “I always stay away from CG, but if there’s any character that lends itself to CG… it’s Iron Man.” The trick, he said, is that “you have to treat something false as real in order to make it real.”
To help inform the project, the director has been re-reading the comics and using anime sources like Ghost in the Shell, Appleseed and Neon Genesis Evangelion to get an idea of how technology interacts with an organic environment.
Favreau described the storyline as a combination of James Bond and a Tom Clancy novel, deeply embroiled in the geopolitical issues of our time. Since he sees the project as a number of films, he has opted to incorporate the “demon in a bottle” alcoholism storyline in future films after the character has been introduced and developed.
Finally, Favreau revealed that the villain that Iron Man will face in the film is the Mandarin. He also hinted that he might reprise his Daredevil role of lawyer Foggy Nelson for this film. The movie will be the first released by the newly-formed Marvel Studios, and it is set to hit theatres in May, 2008.