You’ve launched franchise before, but this is your first time jumping into one. You see much more of Tony Stark in this film, away from the suit, kind of removed from everything. When you’re tackling the character and moving him forward like you are, how do you go about referencing what has been established so far?
Shane Black: Yeah, I think you have to. I watched the first two movies a bunch of times, that’s it. Then you sit down, and I know Robert. You tell a story that you want to tell and also, I know Iron Man. I’ve been a fan from 1966. It was my first comic book, Iron Man. I purchased it for 12 cents. Now they’re up to $3.99, and I just think that it’s all about Tony and it’s all about Robert, so the more you can focus on that, the better, because that’s your money.
To talk about working with Robert, one thing I’ve always heard about him, is that he likes to take what’s written and then off-script based on what he’s read. But this movie just sounds like one of your films, and I’m curious if that’s him sticking to the script or the two of you just having similar sensibilities?
Shane Black: I think we would do it together and that’s the difference is that we sit down together and we tend to get things that are congruent with both of our sensibilities. If I didn’t show up to set and he just started doing stuff, then it might be different, but since I’m there, we tend to, even on occasion we’d go back to his trailer and just scribble things before we shot them and say, you know what, I think you’d find, and I can’t tell you which ones, but some of the best lines in the movie were written maybe an hour before we shot them.
Robert Downey Jr. has had an incredibly important impact on the franchise, but just because of the way Hollywood works and contracts are written there is going to be a point where a run ends. So I’m curious, how close are you to the point where you are going to either have to have characters leave or even possibly die? Is that something that we could be seeing happen very soon?
Kevin Feige: Well, when it comes to killing characters, I’d say that a lot of that is determined by the creative and not the contract. We could have had many more Clark Gregg stories, but the creative, we wanted to stab him through the spear. So, in terms of contracts causing a shift or a change, apart from Robert, everybody is locked in for many more movies for many, many years and I’m sure you know we’re negotiating Robert right now and it’s my expectation that he’ll sign on for a number of additional movies. So, I think for the next three, four, five or six years, it will all be determined on the story that we’re going to tell, the morality levels.
To talk a bit about introducing new characters, obviously not every hero is going to be getting their own solo film. But, for example, you have Hawkeye showing up in Thor and introducing himself to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Is that something we could see more of as Phase Two develops? Will Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. potentially open up doors for characters to cross from TV to film?
Kevin Feige: We’ll see. Certainly it’s the other way right now with the TV show and part of what they want to do - like we want to do in our single movies – is, apart from Coulson, establish their own identity for that show. But listen, part of the fun of the comics and part of the fun of what we finally built in our Cinematic Universe is the “anything is possible” thing and there are a few surprises in this movie which you won’t give away. So, I like that element of flexibility.
Shane Black: It’s a fucking universe. I’m glad I’m not managing it. Three or four movies a year, welcome to it.
[To Shane Black] I’m getting the wrap signal, but if I can ask a favor, please stick around. You’re not going to take another eight years off after this are you?
Shane Black: No, no, no. I have to write. Writing takes a long time.