IRON MAN 3
Director on Board
While Downey Jr. and Marvel were both on board for the third installment of the franchise, one of the big
questions that needed to be answered was who was going to take over the directorial reigns from Jon Favreau,
the director who put Marvel's "Iron Man" franchise on the map and delivered two worldwide blockbuster hits.
"All of our films are defined by the filmmakers we collaborate with to bring these stories to the big screen," says
producer Feige. "What Jon Favreau was able to do on the first two films was groundbreaking and astounding.
So, when we realized we needed to bring in a new director, it was a daunting task. We needed somebody who
had the experience, taste and ability to make a big action movie, but was grounded at the same time."
The filmmakers turned to Shane Black, who serendipitously
directed Robert Downey Jr. in "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang," the
film that was a big factor in propelling the actor into the
running for the role of Tony Stark in "Iron Man."
"Shane Black has written some of the most iconic action
movies that really redefined the genre in the '80s and '90s,"
says producer Louis D'Esposito. "He took that success and
flipped the script with his directorial debut, 'Kiss Kiss Bang
"'Kiss Kiss Bang Bang' is really a fun, film noir, action movie, but at the same time it completely embraces all of
the cliches that come with that and spins them on their heads," says executive producer Stephen Broussard.
"That's what an 'Iron Man' movie needs to be. As we started discussing the film with Shane, we soon realized
that he was on the same page with the get-back-to-basics tone that we wanted. Coming off of 'Marvel's The
Avengers,' we wanted to put Tony Stark back into his own world and Shane just had so many great ideas. Not
just character arcs, but fun action beats and how to flip it on its head."
For Robert Downey Jr., hiring Black to write and direct the film brought the franchise full circle and was a little
bit of karmic payback for the director's behind-the-scenes help on "Iron Man." "During the pre-production
of 'Iron Man,' Jon Favreau and I used to call Shane and ask him for advice about scenes and he would give us
these metaphors and sometimes direct comments, but it was always great advice and he would never take
a penny for it -- although he did once ask for a piece of well-done salmon and some blueberries," laughs the
actor. "Shane has been so instrumental in shaping the buddy comedy/action genre. I was delighted when
Marvel brought his name up and obviously very much in favor of him directing 'Iron Man 3.'"
For director Shane Black, a lifelong "Iron Man" fan and self-proclaimed fanboy, reteaming with Robert Downey
Jr. was one opportunity that he couldn't pass up. "Having the opportunity to direct and write 'Iron Man 3' was
just the greatest opportunity, and Robert always seems to elevate the material -- that's what's great about
him," says Black.
"We wanted 'Iron Man 3' to have a fresh tone and Shane Black has an incredibly unique style to his writing,"
concludes executive producer Louis D'Esposito. "He does action very well, but he also does twisted black
comedy with heart and emotion very well, too. What's amazing about Shane is he finds ways to do all that in
one scene. It's always been his trademark that his scripts are kind of quirky and off-kilter, but with big emotion
and a lot of heart."
After locking in their director/screenwriter, the filmmakers also brought on screenwriter Drew Pearce to
collaborate with director Black in writing the screenplay. The decision was initially met by a little resistance
from both individuals but ultimately proved to be a perfect pairing.
Producer Feige recalls the process. "We had developed another film that Drew Pearce had written and we were
finishing up post-production on 'Thor' and I was in London and so I wanted to meet with him because he had
just been told that we were not going to move forward and make the film," says Feige. "He was understandably
disappointed but very gracious and I asked him what he thought about 'Iron Man 3.' We talked for a little bit
and then days later, on his own accord, he wrote a 25-page outline and treatment that was an essay of ideas
about where he saw the character going. While we didn't go with everything he had in that document, there
was so much great stuff and so much passion that we decided to ask him to come on board and team up with
The producer continues, "To be honest, there was a little bit of initial hesitancy on Drew's part because he was
suddenly being asked to write with Shane Black, who is one of the biggest screenwriters in Hollywood. And at
the same time, Shane naturally was feeling, 'I'm one of the biggest screenwriters in Hollywood, why are you
giving me somebody else to work with?' But within a matter of a week they became great friends, and most
importantly, great collaborative writing partners."
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