Diving into the comics for research...
When I first started talking to the guys at Marvel, I wanted to get a little history on Killian and sort of see where he fit in the whole scheme of things, so they forwarded a ton of material. But I find on any film I work on that I can only ever go so far with research, because there comes a point where I need to leap off from that and then get into the movie world. For me, I really just needed to understand Killian in the comic world, but then let it go and see what we were going to do.
Also, it’s about trying to find something new and creative, but at the same time I want to honor the fans of all the Marvel comic strips and Iron Man and the people who may be fans of Killian.
On his character, Killian's, primary motivation in the film...
Killian is an interesting character as he’s somebody who came into this world with a number of physical disabilities. He’s never been able to accept those limitations though and has spent most of his life trying to overcome them in any way he can. His tenacity and blind determination in fighting for a better life are seen by some as irritating, as he often comes across as obnoxious. He just won’t accept the cards he was dealt, and being as intelligent as he is, has real drive to change and become a different person.
So we find him at the start of the film in a flashback and we see the ambitious, almost annoying, guy that he is. He takes opportunities to try and latch onto people like Tony Stark. So you see this very ambitious character and you see him later on in the film having made a change, and Tony and the other people that have met him early on kind of go, “How did this happen? How did he do this?” But he’s a dangerous character. He wants to become all-powerful. That’s sort of a driving force with him and Tony Stark realizes eventually what this guy is capable of.
The Killian, Pepper, Tony love triangle...
When Killian started his organization A.I.M., however many years ago, Pepper was somebody whom he employed to work there. Obviously, from the outset he was very keen on her. She’s smart, she’s attractive, she’s a great girl. But Killian was someone that she was never interested in. When we meet Killian early on in the film, everything about him is unappealing on some kind of level and she always kept him at arm’s length. Then years later when he goes to her to basically look for funding and to get her involved again, she’s completely taken aback by how charming he is and how wonderful he now looks, plus his attitude’s changed. So she is kind of taken by him; she doesn’t quite know what’s happening to her and her reaction to him. And obviously, she and Tony Stark have a relationship, so this causes a little rift between those two.
On what he's most excited to see i the completed film...
I think the way Extremis works through people’s bodies. Often the visual effects guys would say, “At this moment, we’re going to see pulsing veins up your neck and we’re going to see that your eyes are going to sort of glow orange.” So, they had a few different ideas about how that was going to go and they were obviously very excited about pushing the envelope and doing things they haven’t done before.
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