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Iron Man UK Premiere: Fans greet Robert Downey Jr and friends

Robert Downey Jr at Iron Man UK premiere

Story by Jack Foley

ROBERT Downey Jr joined cast members Gwyneth Paltrow and Terrence Howard, and director Jon Favreau, on the red carpet for the premiere of Iron Man in London’s Leicester Square on Thursday night (April 27, 2008).

The blockbuster is the latest Marvel adaptation to be brought to the big screen and Downey Jr stars as playboy inventor Tony Stark, who is forced to don his most powerful creation, a high-tech suit of armour, to fight the world’s injustices.

Hundreds of fans greeted the stars of the film for the lavish premiere, which included giant screens that beamed footage of the film, as well as a replica Iron Man himself.

Downey Jr signed autographs and chatted to fans and members of the press, predicting that the film offered movie-goers “a little bit of invasion and a different take on the superhero because Tony is a self-made superhero”.

Asked whether he was surprised to have been cast at the centre of a blockbuster franchise as potentially huge as Iron Man, the one-time hellraising actor admitted: “I was surprised that I went after this as hard as I did but I felt like I had to but it paid off, I think.”

And commenting on the fans’ reaction so far, he added: “It’s important isn’t it? You’ve really got to listen to their feedback but so far so good.”

The film’s director, Jon Favreau – who previously appeared in Dare Devil as well as directing family hits Elf and Zathura – said that Downey Jr seemed like the obvious casting choice for him.

“It’s the role of a lifetime for him,” he told reporters. “A lot of people thought Chaplin was but I happen to think that this guy was destined to be Tony Stark, because Robert’s grown up in the public eye – everything good and bad that’s happened to him in his life has been everybody’s seen and Tony Stark he’s also a guy who’s grown up in the public eye.

“He’s a genius and everyone respects his talent. The fact of the matter is that Robert Downey Junior is a great improviser and has a great sense of humour and he finds the real humanity in something that could otherwise be a two-dimensional comic book figure.”

One of the film’s co-stars, meanwhile, the former Oscar nominee Terrence Howard, was in no doubt why the film boasted so much potential appeal: “You have Superman and superheroes, but anyone can become an Iron Man – any woman, any boy any old man that has the tenacity to create something from seemingly nothing,” he explained.

“Limitations are our achievements. That’s the genius of Tony Stark to take something simple and make it great.”

Iron Man opens in UK cinemas on May 2, 2008. Check out photos from the UK premiere