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Iron Man - Gwyneth Paltrow interview

Gwyneth Paltrow in Iron Man

Compiled by Jack Foley

GWYNETH Paltrow talks about playing the role of Pepper Potts in Iron Man and whether she’s signed up for a sequel. Iron Man is released on DVD on October 27.

Q: Congratulations on Iron Man. There’s talk about a sequel. Will we see you in Iron Man 2?
A: I think so. I’m signed on. It was such a fun experience so I’d love to do it again. I think we’re all signed on for not only Iron Man 2, but Iron Man 3 too so you may be seeing a lot of Pepper Potts.

Q: Were you a fan of comic books before you were offered the role on Iron Man?
A: No, I never really read them growing up. My brother did. He was a fan. That’s why I enjoyed doing Iron Man because it opened me up to this new world where fans are so passionate.

Q: Are you a comic book fan now?
A: Sure. I remember early on I asked Marvel to send me the Iron Man comics that they thought would best help me familiarise myself with Iron Man, Tony Stark and my character, Pepper Potts. Marvel sent me a couple of binders of photo-copied comics. Some were really old, but they were incredibly helpful to me. They showed how Pepper had changed over the years. Different hairstyles and clothes, but also the way she dealt with Tony.

Q: If you had a super power, what would you like it to be? It might be handy to be invisible to escape from the paparazzi.
A: Yes, that would be handy [laughs]. I thought being invisible would be great. Then I started thinking about it. It would be a bit creepy standing around and watching people. Don’t you think? Then I thought a power that allowed you to light fires would be handy. I would be dangerous if you couldn’t handle it, but I always have trouble at home finding matches to light candles. So if I could just walk around and light the candles with my finger, that would be kind of cool (laughs).

Q: Some people would probably say Robert Downey Jr was a strange choice to be the star of a comic book action film. What did you think when you first heard he would be Iron Man?
A: I thought it was a fantastic choice. There’s two actors I have always wanted to work with. One was Robert. The other is Johnny Depp. I had no doubt Robert would make a great Iron Man. He’s one of the great actors of our time and physically, he really worked out for the film. He looked great.

Q: He also brings a lot of substance to the role of Tony Stark…
A: And that’s the great thing. He’s not your average superhero. There’s all these layers to him and that’s why Robert is so brilliant in the role. He’s great physically, but then he brings his intellect and wit to the role. He’s spectacular in Iron Man, just like he’s brilliant in every other performance.

Q: As you said, Robert Downey Jr pumped up for the role. You looked great too. Did you have to work out to play Pepper Potts?
A: Luckily I didn’t have to wear a skimpy superhero outfit [laughs]. But, I did have to work out. I shot the film not too long after giving birth so I had to lose about 15 baby-weight pounds. Let’s just say I had to hit the treadmill pretty hard!

Q: Pepper Potts is an interesting character. She’s not the usual damsel in distress that we often see in action films.
A: Yes. That’s what attracted me to her. She’s a strong woman and kind of the moral centre of the story. She keeps Tony in line and she speaks her mind.

Q: Do you think Pepper Potts is in love with Tony Stark?
A: Yeah, I think she is. I think she sees his potential and I get the feeling they’ve been together forever, that they’re very, very, uh, almost like family. There’s something very deep between them.

Q: Can you understand her love for a guy like that because he’s a bit of a playboy? He could be trouble.
A: Yeah, sure. I mean, he’s flawed, but he’s a great man. He goes through this whole incredible resurrection. He really takes adversity and uses it as an opportunity and that’s a sign of greatness.

Q: Iron Man has been such a huge box office and critical success. But, back when you were first offered the role, what was it about the cast and script that caught your eye?
A: You never know what will work or not work, but there were a few things. Firstly, I always wanted to work with Robert Downey Jnr. Also, if someone calls you and says ‘Jon Favreau is directing a movie with Robert Downey Jnr, Terence Howard and Jeff Bridges’ I mean, how do you say no to that? It’s such an amazing group of people.

Q: You weren’t turned off because it was a big budget action film based on a comic book?
A: No, not at all. It was an interesting script, a great director and fantastic cast. You can’t be prejudiced just because it’s big budget.

Q: The Iron Man sets were amazing. Did you take your kids on the set?
A: Yes, Apple visited. She came for lunch and that kind of thing, but she wasn’t around the big set pieces or anything like that. Some of the sets would have been a bit scary for her.

Q: How did Apple like your Pepper Potts wig? Did she like you as a redhead?
A: No [laughs]. Actually, she didn’t like it. She prefers me as a blonde.

Q: Critics have said Iron Man is your big comeback after the birth of your kids. What do you think of that?
A: Maybe. I didn’t really make movies for a while. I mean, I did like 10 days on my brother’s movie. I did a couple of cameos here and there and the last sort of big role I did was in Proof and I was pregnant with my daughter when I made that. She’s four now, so it was a while ago.

Q: Is it difficult juggling your career and your home life because, for a film like Iron Man, you have to spend long hours on set. But, you also have two young children and a husband with a busy music career that takes him around the world?
A: I’m a lot more selective with work these days. My perfect plan is to do one movie every nine months. It would have to be a project that I found inspiring. It would also have to include other actors and a director I am inspired to work with. That’s why I did Iron Man. I could tick all of the boxes.

Read our review of Iron Man