Marvel Studios President, Kevin Feige, talks about Iron Man 3, Pepper Potts, Love Triangles and Family Appeal.
Kevin Feige, president of Marvel Studios, sat down to talk with about.com recently to talk about Iron Man 3, digging into Pepper Potts' part in the film, Tony's mindset post-Avengers, a new young cast member, and their approach to family friendly PG-13 movies.
In coming off the heels of Avengers, we wanted to focus on Tony. Seeing him with the Hulk and Thor, obviously was awesome and was our big event last Summer. This time, we wanted to return to Tony’s world--his place in Malibu, which is why you see him with Pepper. And we wanted to remind the audience, yes the suits are cool, but it’s his intellect that is really his super power.
And if you’ll remember the beginning of Iron Man 1, he’s in a cave. He doesn’t have access to anything, and he ends up building his first Iron Man suit. So, what we wanted to do in this movie was put him in a similar position. Take away everything from Tony and see how he can fight the villain back.
He then went on to talk about Pepper Potts' role in the movie, something many fans have wondered about after seeing her in the latest trailer:
The love triangle in this movie is really between Tony, Pepper and the suits. Tony, Pepper and his obsession with those suits, and the obsession with technology. And, it’s sort of unique for a big superhero summer blockbuster franchise to have that kind of layers.
Yes, there’s a bad guy. Yes, the stakes are very, very high--the President of the United States is in danger. Air Force One is attacked. There are big stakes to this movie. But the real stakes are, is Tony going to be able to set aside the obsession to spend all day, every day in that workshop, tinkering with the suits in order to focus on, as he says in the trailer, the one thing that matters most - Pepper. And that actually is what the entire movie’s about.
I will tell you this. In this movie [Iron Man 3] we play with the convention of the damsel in distress. We are bored by the damsel in distress. But, sometimes we need our hero to be desperate enough in fighting for something other than just his own life. So, there is fun to be had with "Is Pepper in danger or is Pepper the savior?" over the course of this movie.
In terms of where we go with future movies, we’ll see. In the comic books she does get a taste for the suit and becomes her own hero named Rescue, who doesn’t necessarily battle other people, but is on missions to help people and to save people. Will we do that down the line with Gwyneth Paltrow? Who knows. But her being in the suit is something we have been playing with since Iron Man 2, where we did some designs and it didn’t end up fitting in that movie. But the little taste you saw here [in an Iron Man 3 clip] is something that we’re certainly interested in.
Now we have seen in several interviews so far that they wanted to bring Tony back to basics, back to that point where he was in the cave in the first movie and they strip everything from him again and force him to build his way out. In doing this, he makes a new young friend in the movie, Feige talks about the bond they formed in and out of the movie:
We auditioned lots and lots of kids, and Tyson came in and was just a real kid. He could barely keep a straight face looking at Robert. He bonded with Robert completely, and we decided, you know what, this is the kid to cast.
I called Robert. I said, "I think he’s the best kid. I’m going to cast him." He said, "Let me call him"...And when he came out of school, his cell phone rang and it was Robert Downey, Jr. calling saying, you’re going to be in Iron Man 3. And so it continued like that for the rest of the production. It was really great and they formed a nice bond.
And it is a fun bond. Tony does not treat him like a kid...he doesn’t, you know, pat him on the head and treat him like a little boy necessarily. Which, I think little boys like when adults don’t treat them like that. So, we’ve screened it for a few audiences just in a normal test screening, and this relationship is ranked as one of the most surprising, and unique, and new things about the movie.
The last thing they touch on is the tone of the film and how they attempt to keep all their movies family friendly despite the PG-13 rating, never pushing the more mature content to the limits that they could. Feige also points out that the marketing paints the movie as darker than he thinks it is, pointing to the Avengers in comparison and how it ended up being a very fun movie in the end.
All of our movies are PG-13. I know parents who take their four-year-olds, and I know parents who won’t let their kids see them until they’re thirteen. So, that really depends on that. For us, there are things you can do if you are going by the letter of the law in a PG-13 movie...there’s a level of violence you can add, there’s a level of sexuality you can have, there’s a level of language you can have. We never go anywhere near the top of that. Because we don’t want to. Because that’s not what our characters are about.
When you have the amount of fighting and explosions, and some blood on his nose when he puts the suit on, we do want that. We want it to be real. Otherwise, it’s just a CG thing hitting a CG person. So that’s why we’re always in that PG-13 range. But, Jon Favreau on the first two movies, Joss Whedon on the Avengers, myself--we have kids. We want to be able to take our kids to these movies and to enjoy them. It’s really the level of intensity that determines whether parents are comfortable taking their kids to it as opposed to content, necessarily.
In terms of the marketing of this movie, if you go back and look at the marketing of Avengers, it promises a much darker movie than the movie actually is. The movie is much more fun than the trailer would show. Same thing with this. This trailer is--he’s being blown apart, his life is at stake, how will he get out of it? The movie is much, much more fun than that, but that’s what gets people into the audience.
Iron Man 3 comes out May 3rd.
See the latest trailer here: