Who will play Pepper Potts in the big-screen version of "Iron Man"? Well, if fans have their say, it could be a former lesbian witch. Or a geek goddess. Or one of several pouty-lipped lingerie models.
In May, Jon Favreau — who's directing the "Iron Man" movie (see "Robert Downey Jr. Signs On To Sport 'Iron Man' Armor") — began asking fans for input on the film via his MySpace page (see "Have Doubts About The 'Iron Man' Movie? Jon Favreau Wants To Hear Them"). Everything was going swimmingly until late last week, when he posted a thread asking for advice on the role of Potts.
Virginia "Pepper" Potts first appeared in Marvel Comics' "Tales of Suspense #45" in 1963. Nicknamed "Pepper" because of her freckles, she worked as Tony Stark's personal secretary and confidante and was one of the few people that knew of his secret identity as Iron Man. Described in the Marvel Encyclopedia as "intelligent and extremely quick witted," Potts was a flame-headed ball of moxie and confidence, and though she was a secondary character in the "Iron Man" books, she was a rare early example of female empowerment in the comics universe.
Very quickly, Favreau learned that he should probably be careful what he asks for. Because while early posts included some logical choices (like redheads Alyson Hannigan, Amy Adams and former "Firefly" star Jewel Staite), the whole thing quickly devolved into a contest to see, well, who could post the most pictures of hot chicks in their underwear.
Thoroughly off-the-wall (and no doubt, hormonally charged) suggestions like former WWE Diva Stacy Keibler, Victoria's Secret model Adriana Lima and British, uh, "actress" Kelly Brook suddenly became front-runners. Fans posted some head-scratching arguments to support their choices, a few of which we've collected here:
"Stacy Keibler is most likely a mediocre actress, but my God, look at her ... perfection I dare say?" — James Harkness, 24, Atlanta
"Kelly Brook should play Pepper Potts. She's by far the best-looking of all those suggested so far, and she's closer to Robert Downey Jr.'s age." — Rico Vendetta, 24, New York
"You people are the same weirdos who think Kirsten Dunst is hot, right? [My choice is] Kelly Brook." — Ethan, 26, Nashville
"I have to go with Jessica Biel .... she is hot and can handle physical roles." — Big Kenny, 26, New York
"I concur with Jessica Biel. I think old-school Virginia 'Pepper' Potts looks like sexy Jessica Biel with Mary-Janeish beautiful red hair!" — Andre 5000, 30, New York
"How about Catherine Bell? Nice looking, not too young and a hell of a body (ya know what I mean, right)!!!! I'm sure Robert ... I mean Tony would like her ... hee hee — I know I would." — Yannick, 28, Canada
"Jewel Staite or Ron Howard's daughter (I forgot her first name). Both are great." — Cosimo, 29, Macomb Township, MI
"Britney Spears. She is beautiful and has a lot of energy! And so unpredictable." — Livia, 18
Clearly you see the predicament Favreau faces. So many good choices, so many compelling arguments. And while it's not clear just how much fans' input will weigh on his casting decision (if it does at all), we figured that if random Internet users are having their say, then we should probably also get the opinion of the man who, you know, created the character of Pepper Potts, Marvel Comics' guru Stan Lee.
And, as it turns out, he'd go with "none of the above."
"I originally conceived Pepper as a loyal secretary: pretty as hell but a working girl. If she wanted a stylist, she could compete with the legions of beautiful models who are constantly flocking to Tony Stark. But she doesn't want that," Lee told MTV News. "So these women that are being thrown out there, they're not right at all. She's not supposed to be too buxom, or if she is, it wouldn't show too much. She's just an average working girl.
"But, if I had to make a choice, I would probably go with Kirsten Dunst. It's too bad that she's in the 'Spider-Man' films, because she can look like the girl next door, or she could look glamorous," Lee continued. "I'll be honest, I'm not too familiar with most of the girls though. I don't know who Kelly Brook is. I haven't ever seen Lindsay Lohan on the screen."
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