Jon Favreau Talks 'Iron Man'

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Was it gratifying to make a comic book movie that got good reviews?
JON FAVREAU: Yeah, I care about the reviews, I care about what people think — and not just the reviews, but what the reaction online is. For something to be profitable doesn't necessarily mean it's the best thing in the world for the director. You judge a movie by different standards — I've worked on comedies and now I've worked on superhero movies, and the reviews are almost parenthetical in both of those genres. It's important to me what people think of it, not just how much money it makes. You want a movie that doesn't drop off, so the number that I'm really looking forward to seeing [is next weekend's gross, which will show] if we could hold our audience. That tells you that the movie's good. And this is just speaking as a director, as somebody who wants to learn if I've done the right thing and if the people out there are appreciating what I'm doing.

Will you be involved with the sequel?
We've been speaking informally about it, and in concept we would all love to work together again. But I found out about the announcement last night, so it's not something that — we would definitely love to collaborate more with the sequel. There's no formal arrangement yet, but in theory we would all love to see it happen.... There's definitely a lot of ideas that we all have now. This type of movie is based on serialized materials, so it lends itself very easily to [many different sequel possibilities]. There's definitely a level of enthusiasm from myself and the cast to tell more stories.

Is Robert Downey Jr. under contract to do another movie?
He is.

Do you get the sense that he understood the level that his fame was about the reach? Before this, he hadn't starred in a $100 million-grossing movie.
No, I don't think he got it until he and I went around to the theaters [last weekend]. He and I went around to the theaters Thursday night and Friday night because we both love the audience reaction. So you could sit home and have numbers faxed to you all night and e-mailed to you all night — it doesn't mean anything — but when you go into the Cinerama Dome [in Hollywood]...I went up there and intro'd the movie, and as a surprise brought Robert Downey Jr. up, and then everybody jumped to their feet. It just hit him. Then, when he was courtside for the Lakers game, and they flashed him on the big screen and people clapped or Jack [Nicholson] gave him a thumbs up — I think you kind of know at that point. And it's exciting. It's exciting for everybody, because he's a guy that I think a lot of people wrote off. It's inspiring when somebody who sort of has his work cut out for him actually accomplishes that and comes back bigger and better than he was before. I mean, that's the American dream — and it oddly somehow relates to Tony Stark. And when art imitates life, you're onto something. I learned that off Swingers.

NEXT PAGE: Details on how the greater Marvel universe dovetails with Iron Man (spoiler phobes might wish to steer clear)


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