Jon Favreau Interview - Iron Man 2008 Wonder Con
Marvel Comic's characters are guys
The fan reaction out there they love every single little bit. But you can't feed it to them all at the same time, right?
Jon Favreau: "I guess not. I mean, I can't gauge it. When you're out there with whatever it is 4 or 5 thousand people it's just a wall of humanity."
Can you see anything?
Jon Favreau: "You can't really see much. You can see the front row where they're asking you questions. But you can't hear your own voice because it's such a big hall and the acoustics aren't great. You just try and put on a good show for them. The tendency with this kind of stuff is to show the minimal amount that you can because a lot of it ends up online. It gets bootlegged, it gets ripped. But with a movie like Iron Man where people don't know that much about it or at least they didn't, now they do thanks to the fans I kind of feel like they're my big lifeline so I want to make sure that they're happy. I want to make sure that they're supportive. I want to make sure that they feel like I'm looking out. If they're going to sit in the rain and come out and wait in line and sit in this hall, I don't think they just want to hear a talking head answering questions. And so I try and pull as much together footage-wise as I can. And I think it's only good for the movie. I think people talk about it and that talk spreads, and now the mainstream media cares about this movie. But they didn't before Comic Con, and these are that same people. This is that same crowd, so I feel like you've got to give them a little something. At least let them see it first, you know what I mean?"
This brings up a good point. You're talking about these fans that actually brought Iron Man up. People didn't know it before. I didn't know it before. I don't know the story; I only know what you tell me. So am I going to understand what you're telling me or do I need to know a backstory?
Jon Favreau: "You don't need to know about Iron Man going in. There's two different challenges. One is with the people who know Iron Man. Are you doing it right? Is Robert the right guy Robert Downey Jr the right guy to play him? Am I the right guy to direct him? I've never directed a superhero movie. I've done Elf and Zathura and Made. They don't really line up in a way that seems logical. So I think the onus is on me to say, 'Hey, this franchise is in good hands. This is a character that you love and if I screw up, you're going to have to wait a while probably to see somebody else take another crack at him.' People have been waiting a long time. But the technology is there. I think the cast is there and the passion is there, so we wanted to show that. And here you show longer scenes than you would on a trailer where it's, "Cut, cut, cut, half-second, two second, half-second, half-second, one second, boom, boom, boom. That looks like a cool movie to go to this summer.' In this crowd, you let the scenes play a little bit more. You show some cut footage, even if it's not totally done yet. They're very forgiving of that. They want to see the tone and the mood, so we showed them a little bit of that.
But if you don't know Iron Man, this introduces you to Iron Man. At the beginning of the movie there is no Iron Man. There is Tony Stark. You get to know him. You get him pretty quick, thanks to Robert Downey Jr. You show a day in his life. You show him get taken into captivity and you show how he develops in the most rudimentary way the beginnings of the Iron Man suit and why. And then you see it grow into a passion and an obsession and an alter ego for him. You'll understand it."
Were the comic books as funny as this is? Every clip was cracking me up.
Jon Favreau: "There's humor in it. I think a lot of it is I just like humor. I like watching it in films. And I like to be funny in movies. But I know like in Tarantino films, those aren't comedies but I certainly appreciate the humor in them. I think tension gives a wonderful opportunity for humor so you always have to find the humor, I think, especially in serious circumstances.
I think it's true to the books in that Marvel always had an irreverent quality to them. Some of the adaptations haven't had that; it's been very earnest. But Marvel was more a reaction to the more earnest like Superman-type characters, the very stoic, iconic, flawless characters. The Marvel guys are the guys with problems. They're living in New York City. They all knew each other. They were human, they were flawed. And certainly in the case of Tony Stark, they had a little bit of a swagger. It's a little tongue and cheek. The stakes are never betrayed. It's never presented in a way where it's not life or death or not real, but the attitude definitely has a different spin to it."