Based upon Marvel’s iconic Super Hero, Iron Man tells the story of Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), a billionaire industrialist and genius inventor who is kidnapped by the Bad Guys and forced to build a devastating weapon for them. Instead, Tony builds a high-tech suit of armour and escapes captivity. Upon his return home, Tony comes to terms with his wastrel past. When he uncovers a nefarious plot with global implications, he dons his powerful armour and vows to protect the world as Iron Man.
My thoughts? I haven’t enjoyed a Superhero movie this much since, well, since ever. It just goes to show what really great actors can do with a witty script under the guidance of a director (Jon Favreau) who’s actually thought about his material. Downey, who I’ve always thought a bit flaky, is truly excellent, and Terence Howard, Gwyneth Paltrow and Jeff Bridges all turn in superb supporting stints. Bridges (who admittedly has the best material to work with) does a tour-de-force nasty Bull Daddy, that should have leathermen everywhere very, very excited. He’s even got the cigar!
Iron Man movie was shot in California – a conscious decision by the director to avoid yet another New York location. Production was based in the former Hughes Company soundstages in Playa Vista, California. (Hughes was apparently one of the inspirations for Tony Stark.)
Filming began on March 12, 2007, with the first few weeks spent on Stark’s captivity in Afghanistan. The cave where Stark is imprisoned was a 200m long set, which was built with movable forks in the caverns to allow greater freedom for the film’s crew. Production designer J. Michael Riva saw footage of a Taliban fighter in Afghanistan, and saw the cold breath as he spoke: realizing remote caves are actually very cold, Riva placed an air conditioning system in the set. He also sought Downey’s advice about make-shift objects in prison, such as a sock being used to make tea. All this created greater authenticity.
Stark’s capture was filmed at Lone Pine, California, and other exterior scenes set in Afghanistan were actually filmed at Olancha Sand Dunes, also in California. A lot of the military stuff was shot on location at Edwards Airforce Base, of which Favreau said: “This is the best back lot you could ever have. Every angle you shoot is authentic: desert, dry lake beds, hangars.”
There’s also a fun story on how the military received the production at Edwards team stars in ‘Iron Man’ superhero on the Air Force’s own website.
So much for Runaway Production.