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Posted at 9:35 AM ET, 05/ 7/2010

THE IRON MAN 2 TALKS: Our best-of quotes from Downey Jr., Favreau, Cheadle et al.

By Michael Cavna


Comic Riffs spoke with many of the "Iron Man 2" stars last year during a media roundtable -- from the returning Jon Favreau and Robert Downey Jr. to such new-to-the-franchise actors as Don Cheadle and Scarlett Johansson. As the film opens today -- threatening to break "Dark Knight's" domestic debut-weekend record ( you can check our box-office poll HERE) -- we republish some of the highlights:


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ROBERT DOWNEY Jr., describing his working relationship with director Jon Favreau on the set of "Iron Man 2":

"IT'S PRETTY FLUID. I'm so sensitive, too, strangely, because I feel like Jon and I should be having this Holy Communion together. So if he's like Twittering or paying attention to any of the other cast members, I have, like, this inordinately challenged reaction.

"But the truth is, I 've grown up a little bit and I'm really strong at coming in and saying: 'There's something behind that wall [creatively], so let's knock it down and be bold there . ... I know it sounds weird, but I have equations in my head, and those equations apply to where people should be and [what] the frequency of the interactions should be. And the words and the dialogue and the props come in later."


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A year ago, JON FAVREAU had less than 100,000 followers -- now has more than three-quarters of a million. Favreau -- who recently has posted such tweets as "I can't sleep. The movie opens in less than 24 hours" and " 'Iron Man 2 is trending. Good sign. Thanks folks" -- discusses how he uses Twitter's powers for good and not evil:

"YOU'D THINK BY HAVING a direct relationship [with hundreds of thousands of followers] ... that you'd be able to speak directly to them. At first, it was like: This is a great defense against the awful distortions that come out of rumors on the Internet. To be able to speak directly to everybody to and and say, 'Hey, this is NOT true-- or, this IS true.

"It cuts through everything and you have a weird direct relationship with these people, and that trumps all the rumors. If they know that they can trust (you). And a lot of it, honestly, is letting them get a sense of what my life is like. ...

"And I tell you, it's very easy to get bogged down in how hard it is to do what I do. And then you get a tweet from somebody who's working in a car wash, saying: 'You must be so excited.' And you're like: I MUST be. I should be. It calibrates you, because It keeps you connected to those people. And it also lets you know how people feel about what you're putting out there. ... It's nice to get that feedback in real time."


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DON CHEADLE ("Rhodey"/War Machine) discusses what it was like acting largely in the Land of Green Screens -- as opposed to playing off of actual human beings in such films as "Hotel Rwanda," "Talk to Me" and the "Ocean's 11" franchise.

"YOU DEFINITELY HAVE have a different dynamc talking to a person than when you're talking to a tennis ball on top of a stick. A lot of that, you just really have to rely on [director] Jon [Favreau] and the other actors to make it [seem] real and to believe them when they tell you: 'No, you didn't look like an idiot. That works. That really works!' Because it feels very, very foreign."

ON INHERITING HIS ROLE FROM FRIEND TERRENCE HOWARD: "I just tended not to think about it. I'm not trying to be flip... I don't know how you play that off. ... Someone is going to be disappointed. [The main thing is] I'm trying to do what the script dictates."

ON WEARING THE MASSIVE WAR MACHINE SUIT: It was heavy. Hot. It's not elegant, but it's necessary. [But]it's fun when you walk behind the monitor -- it looks cool."


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SAM ROCKWELL (Justin Hammer), who's won acclaim for his work in such films as "Choke," "Moon," "Lawn Dogs" and "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind" -- touches on his childhood fandom of comics -- and "Iron Man 2's" deviation from them.

ON HIS WILDLY VARIED CHOICE OF ROLES:
"I just like to break it up a little. l like actors like Gene Hackman and Morgan Freeman, who go back and forth and have an eclectic choice of parts."

ON HIS COMICS FANDOM AS A YOUTH:
"I had a suitcase of comic books as a kid. I read Spider-Man, and the Hulk was probably my favorite character. I watched the Bill Bixby show."

ON CHANGING JUSTIN HAMMER'S APPEARANCE -- FROM A ELDERLY BRIT OF THE COMICS TO A YOUNGER AMERICAN IN "IRON MAN 2":
"We were talking about a smoking jacket and an ascot and were messing around with the idea of slicking his hair back, but we decided to invent our own thing. It's really open to interpretation.

ON HOW HE WOULD CHARACTERIZE HAMMER'S RELATIONSHIP WITH TONY STARK: "You get the impression that they're rivals. A Bill Gates / Steve Jobs kind of thing.:

ON WORKING WITH MICKEY ROURKE, WHO PLAYS A MORE SUBDUED WHIPLASH:
"I do a lot of the talking [in] those scenes. Mickey is just reacting to my whirling dervish."


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SCARLETT JOHANSSON offers her thoughts on suiting up in the skintight costume to take on the role of Black Widow.

ON SHOWING UP FOR WORK: "I came into the set as kind of geeked-out myself. ... I was a huge fan of the first [film]. It was kind of overwhelming. The sets themselves are overwhelming and they're huge. ... You're sort of having these feelings like you're in the 'Wizard of Oz' or something. ... You're in a weird magical universe."

ON RESEARCHING THE ROLE: "I did become familiar with the character. ... The character is quite mysterious and covert. ... She's very sure of herself.and very assertive. ... [But ] we're sort of not exactly sure where that assuredness comes from, exactly."

ON WHAT SHE ENJOYED MOST ABOUT PLAYING BLACK WIDOW:
"The most fun part was kicking [butt]. i kicked a lot of the [butt]. I've never been so close to the set team. I followed them every single day and practically lived with them. I was in incredible hands. ... It was a lot of blood, sweat and tears ... but I wanted to give it everything I had."

ON DEALING WITH INITIAL FANBOY SKEPTICISM OVER HER BEING CAST: "I understand -- obviously everybody has characters that they love when they're young [and] grew up with. ... I get it. I totally get it. [But] for me ... I was convinced I was the right person for the job."

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By Michael Cavna  | May 7, 2010; 9:35 AM ET
Categories:  Geek Buzz, San Diego Comic-Con, Superheroes  | Tags:  Don Cheadle, Iron Man 2, Jon Favreau, Marvel Comics, Robert Downey Jr., Sam Rockwell, Scarlett Johansson, Stan Lee, Twitter  
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