Warning: Some of what you read below could be considered spoilers for Iron Man 3. Read at your own risk.
Those of you excited by the idea of Guy Pearce playing a major role in Iron Man 3 might want to dull their expectations. While the actor has been confirmed to play the scientist Aldrich Killian in the upcoming superhero sequel, which is being directed by Shane Black, according to Pearce his role is really little more than a cameo.
With Lawless coming out this week, Vulture recently had a chance to speak with Pearce about his part in the blockbuster, and responding to a question about how being a part of blockbusters now was different than when he starred in The Time Machine back in 2002 he said that the key thing is the size of role. "The main difference was that, when I did The Time Machine, I was pretty much in all of it, so it was a really grueling experience," Pearce said. "Prometheus and Iron Man are really kind of cameo stuff, so the experience of shooting them ... I mean, on some level, it's tricky because you feel like a bit of an outsider. You don’t really live the experience that you do when you're there all day every day with everybody. But at the same time, it can be more fun sometimes because you're just working in concentrated spurts."
It's been said that Iron Man 3 will be based on the comic book arc Extremis, and Killian's part is indeed quite small: in fact, the character is actually never seen alive (he's only introduced after committing suicide). In the story the character is a geneticist who helps develop a version of the super solider serum called Extremis, and then steals and sells the formula to a terrorist organization. Unable to deal with the guilt, he decides to take his own life while sitting at his computer, leaving a note with a full confession.
In the same interview, Pearce also talks about why he was open to being a part of the superhero film. While the actor famously turned down the part of Daredevil in 2003 - that role eventually went to Ben Affleck - he says that he has relaxed a bit in the last 10 years and made himself more available to those kinds of parts. "'ve probably loosened up, and I feel a little more experimental in what I'll take on these days, but I still don't know that I would want to play the superhero myself, since I'm playing a different kind of character in this film. And I think that, based on the first two movies, there's a great chemistry between Robert [Downey Jr.] and Gwyneth [Paltrow], and I just think the films have a fun, joyful sort of quality about them. I've just enjoyed them. So I just felt like I wanted to be a part of this."
Iron Man 3 will be in theaters on May 3, 2013 and and you can read more about it in our Blend Film Database.