For decades, the stuff of Hollywood legend has been created by independently-minded directors and bottom-line-loving studio suits clashing over the final cut of a film. Sometimes, the studio is right ("28 Days Later" comes to mind), and sometimes the filmmaker needs to be left alone (see: "Brazil"), but these battles are more common than you'd think.
So it should come as no surprise that Marvel and "Iron Man 2" director Jon Favreau — got along splendidly?
"Yeah, yeah, there's another cut that I would have had that's, like, 50 minutes longer," the filmmaker teased sarcastically when asked if he had one of the increasingly popular "director's cut" versions that film fans see everywhere these days. "No, it doesn't work that way at Marvel."
When we visited the set of the new superhero film, we saw Favreau and Robert Downey Jr. working closely with the laid-back, jeans-and-baseball-hat-wearing head of Marvel Studios — and Favs assured us that it wasn't just for show. "That's the nice thing about working at Marvel; they're very supportive of the director. I've been given a lot of creative freedom there," he said. "Kevin Feige, who runs the studio and is also the producer, is a partner creatively. And when we make changes, it's ones that we're all comfortable with.
"I like to be very collaborative with them," he continued. "So it's not like there is a version that they strong-armed me into not using. I stand behind the one that is out there."
Somebody might want to give some career advice to Terry Gilliam and urge him to take on a Marvel flick. For his part, however, Favreau does admit there were a handful of scenes that came closer to making the film than others.
"There are scenes that I like that don't fit into the movie that I think are great, and I've included them in the DVD," Favreau revealed. "It was like the thing where Gwyneth kisses the helmet and throws it out [of the airplane]. ... There's a [deleted] scene that leads up to that. It's wonderful, but what it does is ruin the surprise and ruins the momentum of the movie in the beginning.
"[The scene occurs] on a real C17 that we shot it on," he explained. "But there's a little bit of a misdirect that we wanted to sell, and the reveal of him landing on the stage being revealed for the first time was better. Also, [Paltrow's character] Pepper had two introduction scenes, and so, structurally, there were issues with it that are hard to explain unless you see the whole cut."
Another deleted scene involved Scarlett Johansson, a repulsor and some heavy flirtation. "That one's an interesting one, because the relationship between Tony and Pepper is so special to the audience that it's [delicate]," Favreau said of making Johansson's sensual character appear to be too close to Tony. "If you let him and Scarlett get too flirty and get too close, the audience turns off really quickly, because they really want to root for [Tony and Pepper] together."
Check out everything we've got on "Iron Man 2."