HOLLYWOOD — Tony Stark is a man who parties hard, surrounds himself with gorgeous people and knows how to keep a secret. It's no surprise, then, that Wednesday's high-wattage "Iron Man" premiere was a bash fit for the billionaire.
"The audiences are loving it, and it's gonna make big dough," Robert Downey Jr. grinned on the red carpet in front of Grauman's Chinese Theater, watching such A-listers as Vince Vaughn, Ben Stiller, Pete Wentz and Diddy file inside. "Then, hopefully, we'll get to do it again."
Before the evening was over, the second half of that statement became the buzz of the red carpet. Just hours after MTV News published a story reporting that Samuel L. Jackson's "top secret" cameo might be re-inserted before fans see the movie this weekend, we began receiving reports of Nick Fury sightings after the end credits in such countries as Australia.
"Sam L. appears in the movie," executive producer Peter Billinglsey finally fessed up. "Marvel likes to use these movies to announce [things], and tip their hand at different things to come.
"There's a tip of the hat toward a future franchise," he added, referring to the scene in which Jackson reportedly recruits Tony Stark for the Avengers Initiative. "The Avengers is a movie a lot of people would like to see someday."
For those of you who prefer Shakespeare to Stan Lee (shame on you!), the Avengers are a Marvel Comics supergroup made up of Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Captain America and others; Downey recently shot a cameo for June's "The Incredible Hulk," further indicating that an Avengers flick is moving forward. (Find out what our panel of comic book experts thinks of this and other upcoming adaptations here.)
"It might not be a bad idea to stay until the very end of the movie," "Iron Man" director Jon Favreau warned. "Let's put it that way."
But even if guests like Stiller, Jack Black and Channing Tatum weren't screening a print with the Nick Fury bonus footage, they were still eager to get inside and watch Marvel's 45-year-old hero finally take flight on the silver screen.
"I haven't seen it yet; I can't wait," insisted the legendary Lee, one of four men who co-conceived the character in 1963. "[Iron Man] was just another character I created in the early 1960s, and nobody was making a big fuss about it. ... All I hoped, as with all our characters, is that it would sell, and I'd be able to keep my job and be able to pay the rent."
Now, with projections that the movie's opening weekend could kick off the summer with box-office numbers north of $75 million, "Iron Man" is paying a lot of people's rent. "You turn into a 9-year-old kid when you do a superhero movie," beamed Faran Tahir, who plays the terrorist Raza in the flick. "Everybody had so much fun making it."
"Tony Stark is such a badass," insisted "Hot Fuzz" star Simon Pegg, attending the premiere to see the film for a second time already. "He's got troubles, but he's even darker than Batman, because he's not a namby-pamby. Batman's crying all the time."
"[Stark] is living the life," agreed another lifelong Iron Man fan, "Scrubs" star Donald Faison. "I'm such a black nerd it's ridiculous. I'm a blerd."
"The good news," laughed Jeff Bridges, perhaps overhearing such statements, "is that these [Iron Man] suits will be available to the public next year."
"The Iron Man suit can fly, it can shoot stuff out of it," Gwyneth Paltrow, the film's Pepper Potts, marveled, "and it can make [Robert Downey Jr.] look very sexy."
"The suit makes the man," the film's star laughed, heading inside the theater to watch his superhero debut. "We really rolled up our sleeves. ... This is a big deal to me."
Who wouldn't want to live like "Iron Man" billionaire Tony Stark? MTV's "Made" will give one lucky winner the chance to do just that for a weekend. Go to IronMan.MTV.com and enter for a chance to win a first-class trip to Los Angeles, five-star accomodations, a shopping spree and more! And be sure not to miss TRL's "Iron Man" special today at 3:30pm EST for everything metalhead!
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