Warning: contains information die-hard spoiler avoiders may want to miss. If you've seen all the trailers, however, there's nothing here that'll ruin your experience of the film.
If Robert Downey Jr. has been the swagger and spark of the Iron Man movies, Gwyneth Paltrow has provided the series' heart as Tony Stark's dedicated and long-suffering assistant-turned-girlfriend-turned-CEO, Pepper Potts. In January, we spoke to Paltrow in London after seeing a 15-minute preview of footage from Iron Man 3 in which Pepper finally gets to try on a suit. Our chat covered that, the evolution of Pepper, whether Paltrow is finished with the character, and a surprising revelation about The Avengers...
So, Pepper gets to wear the suit this time. How was it?
It was great. I was really happy that in this movie Pepper got to do some more stuff. I quite liked wearing the suit. My son was thrilled about it. He came to the set a lot when I was in the suit. It was fun. I was in the suit quite a lot. I liked it. Robert hates being in the suit, but it was very different for me. I've obviously never done anything like that, and I never thought I'd be acting in the Iron Man suit.
Was this ever mooted before?
There was an amazing picture that was done for 2, where Pepper at the end was in a suit, but her helmet was off and all her hair was blowing. It looked awesome, but for whatever reason she didn't get in a suit in 2. I think that's great - now people really want to see her in the suit. Leave somewhere to go.
What's new about Pepper in Iron Man 3?
Pepper evolved so much from the first movie to this movie. She sort of found her strength and her voice throughout the four films [including The Avengers]. It's fun to play a woman who's going somewhere and she starts as meek and servile, she's his assistant and she goes from being the longing, servile girl to being both the boss of the company and his love interest. She goes on quite a journey. There's a lot to find, only because the movies take place over the course of a few years, so there's real evolving and development in the characters. Then it's interesting getting to play against the same actors again and again, and we've grown and changed as well. You keep bringing that to your character.
And how about the relationship between Pepper and Tony?
I think Pepper is a very forward thinker. She's different from Tony. Tony is haunted by the past. Pepper lets go of the past and is always moving forward. It's one of the things I admire about her, she has a lot of forward momentum and she's a doer and a manifester, and in this movie she's very much reacting to where he is, emotionally and mentally. She's really always trying to hold the big picture. Tony can be very reactive and get caught up in stuff and he has more psychological issues to contend with and she's always grounding him and bringing the big picture in. She gets fed up with him a lot of the times as well. I think her job is to keep him moving forward and get him out of his rut.
Can you tell the difference between Robert and Tony?
|I haven't seen The Avengers yet, it's terrible. It's crazy. My son has seen it, but I haven't.|
That's the fun part of the dynamic. You never know what Tony's going to do and that's very much like what Robert's going to do. You never know what he's going to do or say and you never know what Tony's going to do or say, and those aspects of the character are very much interchangeable. I think Pepper has a lot of patience, but at a certain point even her patience gets frayed. She has a difficult time when he gets caught in a feedback loop. She is a very mature woman and it's frustrating and draining when he gets stuck inside something and keeps doing the same thing over and over. She adores him but she absolutely gets fed up with him.
Shane Black and Drew Pearce wrote the script for this one, and as a big fan of Shane's work, I'm excited about what that means for the movie. It was great. It was really fun. The first movie we kind of improvised all our dialogue and the second movie to a certain extent we did as well. We spent a lot of time in our trailers on the morning writing our scenes.
On this movie it was done and Shane and Drew did a fantastic job of writing in our voices, and we changed a few things here and there, but they had done their homework and knew how we spoke to each other. We set that dynamic because we basically improvised most of it. It was wonderful that they rose to the occasion and wrote this really fun script that really captured the essence of it.
It's been eight years since Shane last directed a movie. How was he?
He was great. He was very enthusiastic and is a real actor's director. He gets very into performance, which is great. He was a champion of us and what we were doing.
It was nice seeing you in The Avengers, albeit briefly. How did that come about?
The Avengers happened late. It was Robert who said that Pepper has to be in this movie or it's just giant snakes coming out of the sky. We need one grounded beat. And to be totally honest, I haven't seen the movie.
You haven't seen The Avengers?
I haven't seen it yet, it's terrible. It's crazy. My son has seen it, but I haven't. Robert said that offers a moment of grounding in the film and I got a lot of response to that. I went out to New Mexico for a day and shot... actually, maybe it was one and a half. Anyway, it was very short.
It's very good. You should watch it.
I'll check it out. Marvel won't give me one for free, you'll have to buy me one.
Robert's deal with Marvel expires as of this movie. What's your situation?
My deal is over as well. When they signed us, they signed us for three. So that's it for the moment, but you never know.
So, was The Avengers a freebie?
More or less.
Would you come back to play Pepper again?
I think it depends. It depends on Robert. I don't think they're going to make a Pepper Potts movie, so it depends on Iron Man and Robert. I'd be open to more Pepper because I love working with Robert and it's a great franchise. Most of the time I'm a full-time mother so it's nice for me to once in a while go and work on a big hit movie with great actors and then go back to North London and resume playdates and stuff like that! I'm always happy when there's an opportunity to do it.