Robert Downey Jr on Avengers: Infinity War's Thanos — 'Josh Brolin is the sweetest guy you'll ever meet'
Robert Downey Jr comments on the evolution of the Iron Man suit over the years, rivalry with Captain America and the super-villain of Avengers: Infinity War
As the cinematic event of the decade comes closer to fruition with the release of Avengers: Infinity War, the cast and crew of the film has repeatedly asked fans to maintain secrecy regarding the film. Using #ThanosDemandsYourSilence, Robert Downey Jr, who portrays Iron Man in the film, tweeted 'no spoilers please'.
— Robert Downey Jr (@RobertDowneyJr) April 3, 2018
However, this has put information-starved long-term fans of the franchise in a dilemma as they do not know how to venture into the internet without spoiling the movie for themselves.
To solve this, Downey Jr addressed pertinent questions regarding his character arc, development of the franchise and the mega villain Thanos.
Why do you think the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has been so successful?
The best superhero movies, the ones that I loved and enjoyed never just set out to replicate. They are about being creative, as the makers work with something really delicate which needs to be nurtured and can only flourish in the right environment. It's crazy how the MCU has enjoyed just the right conditions and the harvest gets better year after year. I'm also very excited for the future and really do think that best is yet to come.
How have the Iron Man suits evolved over the franchise?
The way we work on the suits is that we go through all the models until we get a working one. I have had no complaints with any of the suits I ever wore as they worked exactly as we needed them to. Once, we were shooting on a rooftop and I was in the suit. After they put on the helmet and lit up the lights, all I could see was the inside of the helmet. And they told me to take five steps forward. It was a complete exercise in faith.
Even recently we were shooting a scene that reminded me of the old Tony workshop days. So the Tao of superhero filmmaking at least as it’s unfolded in the MCU has remained very much the same.
Tell us about Tony Stark's chemistry with Steve Rogers.
If you look at the comics, there was always the kind of leadership tussle in the Avengers. So we shot our version of it, which we did for many other reasons than to just deepen the conflict between Steve and Tony. The fact that there is a Civil War between the two of them has to be set up somehow. Tony had a complicated relationship with his dad, who is responsible for Steve Rogers being Captain America. It is an obvious projection of all of Tony’s own misgivings about himself, despite having gone through his own journey.
Have you enjoyed building up a single arc through multiple films?
Indeed I have. And obviously, I have changed quite a bit too since we started. So my own values have affected and have been affected by the content of the movies. Then again, I have attempted to infuse the movies with a sense of my own process. We’re talking about a decade's worth of work. Life is fleeting and a decade really is sort of a lifetime. It has been a safe sandbox to try to figure out the basics of team building and making space for others. And then here we are in our second winter shooting of Infinity War and the next one back-to-back. But there is something about the pacing of it which has been so relentless and so continuous. However, as long as the process gives you back 2 percent more energy than it takes from you, all will be well. And that’s a delicate balance.
Introduce us to Thanos.
There have been rumblings of him in the ether as far back as the first Avengers and in some ways, even before that. By the way, don’t be surprised if when those first rumblings come back in Infinity War or if the bad guy isn’t the one that everybody is the most excited about. Josh Brolin, who plays Thanos, is the sweetest guy you will ever meet. He’s fun and funny and all that. But I also think that if he got it in his mind that he needs to evaporate half of every swirling sphere of life in order to live out what his own kind of karmic moral dilemma is, then it is not going to turn out well.
Thanos is essentially — and he always has been — the most undefeatable character and the most cunning one too. He keeps us guessing about his motives which is something that has never happened before. In Iron Man 3, there was at least a false threat that wound up being an actor for hire. This time Tony knows just by the way that Bruce Banner describes his understanding of Thanos, that it’s a different game now.
Will the audience understand his motivations?
Everyone in my generation has been raised with the backdrop of over-population being swept under the rug because nobody knew what to do about it. So along comes Thanos, who for his own trippy reasons decides the solution is just to eliminate half of the populace. It’s about pruning the bush in the most heartless way you could imagine. He has the insight and the ability to be strong enough to do what we would consider inhuman acts.
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