So apparently I was left out of the joke. I remember the rumors swirling about the internet that Sam Jackson was in Iron Man. Then came the moment I sat down and saw the film–and it went by Jackson-less. According to director Jon Favreau it was allll part of the plan, as the Joker would say. “It was Kevin [Feige]‘s idea to cut [the Nick Fury scene] off all preview prints” Favreau said, “Then we slapped it right back on the print for the premiere, so the first people to see it in theaters actually got to see it for the first time.”
I was duped. But more on that later. Favreau sat down with EW.com to talk about the surprise critical and opening box office success of Iron Man, the risk of casting Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark, and what the future hold for Favs, Iron Man, and The Avengers.
On the box office success: “But then the tracking came in and we were definitely in good shape. You know, ‘good shape’ on a movie like this has to be a whole level of success beyond what any other film I’ve worked on is judged against. It’s very scary that we could have made $60 million and been a very profitable film — and been considered a failure. That was a little bit daunting.”
On Downey: “When [Downey] was courtside for the Lakers game, and they flashed him on the big screen and people clapped or Jack [Nicholson] gave him a thumbs up — I think you kind of know at that point [how successful you are]. And it’s exciting. It’s exciting for everybody, because he’s a guy that I think a lot of people wrote off. It’s inspiring when somebody who sort of has his work cut out for him actually accomplishes that and comes back bigger and better than he was before. I mean, that’s the American dream.” Favreau also stated that Downey is contracted for at least another movie (if not two).
On the future: “We’ve been speaking informally about it, and in concept we would all love to work together again,” Favreau shared. He also stated that instead of an Iron Man 3, he’d really like to do an Avengers movie (which would most likely feature Ed Norton as the Hulk, if that movie has any success). “I think it would be a very smart third film in the Iron Man series. It’s very difficult to keep these franchises from running out of gas after two [movies]. The high point seems to be the second one, judging by history: If you just look at the consensus in the reviews, you see that X-Men 2 and Spider-Man 2 are sort of seen by the fans as the sort of high point of both franchises.”
So basically what we’re learning from this interview is that Favreau gets it. He knows how to cater to the fanboys’ sensibilities while also making a film that is commercially viable and critically appealing. With Iron Man, Favreau has made a name for himself as a big-time director (more than Elf or Zathura had ever done) and officially escapes the shadow of Swingers he’d been standing awkwardly inside of for the past 12 years.
As for me, I’m off to go see Iron Man again to get my Sam Jackson fill.