Few questions of Collider's interview with Robert that took place a day before Super Bowl:
Did you have any trepidations about coming back to this character for the fourth time, essentially?
RDJ: I was kinda looking forward to it. I don’t want to say
“kinda”. That’s tepid. You know that thing of it’s spring break or
summer or winter and you have these plans? You want to go to Sedona,
right? So push that peanut down the road a little bit. This is, to me,
the kind of grab bag wish list of things we’ve always wanted to do and
haven’t had the chance. I put so much onus on Iron Man 3. Iron Man 3
was supposed to answer all the questions for an audience. Cure all my
uncomfortable moments in the past playing this character and get in
every idea that fell by the wayside the last three movies. Then we shot
the movie and I feel like there’s still a number of other things we have
So there will be an Iron Man 4?
RDJ: I don’t know.
What was it like working with Shane Black again and how much of a force were you pushing for his involvement?
RDJ: Well, we all know each other fairly well now. Without
coming to me, they said Shane was going to be in the running for this.
They said they had narrowed it down to a couple of choices. I liked both
their choices. Shane still — and I say this as a testament to the fact
that we’ve shot the movie and have started to cut scenes together — he
still has a place in my heart. He turned out to be a great choice.
We’ve seen Tony Stark go through a lot in The Avengers. How did the events of that movie wind up helping him change for this one?
RDJ: Well, we had to do something, you know? I thought, “Isn’t
it odd that he had this experience? And why was he suddenly just in New
York for one summer?” We know why he was there. Stark Tower. But what he
was doing there was really building an architect for a third act set
piece. I wanted him back home and I thought, “What if that happened to
any of us? Wouldn’t we be a little tripped out? You’d be watching your
back.” Then I thought about this 21st century reality and kind of
oddball zeitgeist of America and terrorism and all he weirdo stuff that
this country seems to generate and co-create. So I thought should be a
little freaked out. We always had this idea where we wanted Tony and
Rhodey to be at this place two miles away from where his house is called
Neptune’s Net on the PCH. I really wanted to see them at Neptune’s Net
with their suits just parked outside like motorcycles. They’re inside
and just two guys. I didn’t even know if we could get Neptune’s Net.
There’s licensing. It’s like saying, “Let’s go shoot at Spago!” I was
like, “Is it? Did you ask them?” I wanted that kind of sensibility and
so did Shane. We both wanted them just sitting on a couch with a
martini. I go, “A martini? Hold on now!” “Alright! Just sitting on the
couch. Pepper comes home. There he is.” Shane had all these iconic
images and I had my own. The studio and Kevin [Feige] had an equal
amount of theirs. It turned into this really surprising and entertaining
and really deep and cool movie.
There was a lot of groundwork that Iron Man 2 had to lay for The Avengers. Since Iron Man 3
is the start of Phase Two, is there still a lot of groundwork that has
to be laid out for future films or is this one more able to tell a story
all its own ?
RDJ: Yeah, more than any of the other three that I’ve been
involved in. It seems to be very uninhibited. I’m just not used to
working this way. Fortunately, Shane and all the other creatives and
myself banged out a story that, quote unquote “earned” it. We had “The
Avengers” and had something where we all loved how it turned out. We
thought, “Let’s not get indulgent now, but let’s go back to Tony and
Pepper”. It was also really, really great to have Happy come back. Jon
[Favreau] was just so great. He was standing on the set and we had
designed this workshop. He says, “All I have to do is put on a suit and
crack jokes. This is going to be great.” He’s actually very integral to
the story and all that stuff. But it is true, this one is Tony’s journey
from A to Z, chasing the bad guy. It’s a bad guy who draws him out to
places that he’s never been before and I think that that was what was
attractive to Shane. He said, “I’d like to see him crashing in
mid-America. I’d like to see him interacting with some kid who kind of
doesn’t really relate to him as anything but Iron Man.
The Tony Stark character is very linked to you. That’s not to say they couldn’t one day recast the role –
RDJ: I’m sure they’ve thought about it. I feel like I got sold to Disney for $4 billion.
Does the fact that you’re so connected make you want to stay around as long as you can?
RDJ: Yeah, but, quiet as it’s kept, that’s how I’ve always
been. The thing about playing this kind of inherent narcissist, whenever
you kill one of Tony’s egos, another one just pops up. I’ve had that
experience, but I’ve found the whole thing to be a very quieting journey
for me. It’s been remarkably humbling. You realize you’re just kind of
part of this thing. I think the problems begin when any one person
involved in anything — particularly anything successful — decides that
they have some sense of ownership to it. This is really something that
Stan Lee scratched down going on 50 years now. He touched on something
really, really cool with Iron Man and, strangely, Iron Man was sort of
second-tier superhero who laid the groundwork for these other guys and
gals. Where I’m at right now is that I’ve always thought of myself —
particularly since I’ve been married to this high-functioning Jewish
girl from the Midwest — I think of myself as being a company man. I like
showing up and I like doing press. I like being able to say, “I’m going
to take a break because I don’t want to burn out.” I don’t want to be
doing a roundtable or a press conference and have people say, “He looks
tired!” I want to be there. I want to communicate and kind of experience
this. The funny thing is that, though I can be quick-witted, I tend to
have a slow take experientially for things. These five or six years have
not been enough time for me to process what has happened.
It seems that you must getting towards the end of whatever contract you
originally signed. Are you going to sign on for several more or will you
take it one at a time?
RDJ: I don’t know. I honestly get uncomfortable with leverage. I
was annoyed for awhile about having a contract where, in success, not
very much changes for you. But then I got to thinking, “What was I
really doing before I got ‘Iron Man’?” Then I think, “Don’t lead with
that, Robert! You’re a big prime mover!” I go, “Yeah, yeah, yeah.” I get
that. I can talk about that for two hours. But I’m a big believer in
being really straight and saying, “Okay, let’s really look at this.” I
not going to pretend I’m over it and whatever. Obviously, it’s better to
have a contract run out than it is to have one go on indefinitely. But I
guess that’s why contracts have limits on them. Let’s just say that me,
the agents and the lawyers are having a bit of a ball right now. I
don’t like this whole — and I think it’s a particularly Western thing.
Well, maybe not anymore, because we’re being outpaced by the east
business-wise — of “We’ve got him! Let’s screw him to the floor!” Is
that what gets you off? Making people feel bad? It shouldn’t be, “Man,
they really put the screws to us, brother.” It’s like, “Weren’t we
excited about the future a couple of years ago. Now we’re just laying
the boots to each other. It’s just so digesting. I’m an artist!
Iron Man is very grounded in reality but, over the course of
the films, they’ve moved to a very different world. How has playing
Tony against that been?
RDJ: The nice thing is that it is fairly compartmentalized
and, I think, pretty seamlessly so. If there’s one person that I would
think of just in the third person who could have the world be one way
and then wake up in the morning and be another way, it would be him. He
lives in this cocoon of his own world anyway. All he really cares about
is Pepper and his Dummy. He doesn’t care about any of his material stuff
except some robots, this girl and his one friend. I think he became
friendly with Bruce [Banner] maybe a little more than the others but
it’s like he went and did a big action movie and then came back and
lives in Kansas or something.
Read the full interview here: COLLIDER
Here's the audio of the interview: LISTEN