Iron Man Set Visit

Today was one of those days that reminded me how much I love to do what I do!

I remember the very day that my esteemed producer Robert told me that we had been invited to visit the set of a film that I have been excited about since the day the movie was announced. I’ve had a smile on my face from ear to ear ever since!

I’ve been a huge comic book fan since I was young and therefore I have loved the past decade in film. We have seen both Batman and Superman reborn, The X Men brought to life, 2 out of 3 quality Spider-Man movies and of course Blade 1 and 2 (lets just not talk about the third one). Its no secret that when it comes to comic-to-film translations we’ve had a rough ride. The Hulk, Ghost Rider, DareDevil, The Fantastic Four, Electra, The Punisher all failed to impress (and that in some cases is putting it nicely) but there is still a part of me that is extremely happy that I have had the chance to see these iconic heroes in action on the silver screen.

There are only a few great superheroes left that have yet to be touched by the movie studios…and now, the time has come for one of my favourites.

His name is Iron Man and today I got to meet him.

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When the film was first announced, there were a lot of rumours as to who was going to direct the film and in turn, take on the role of Iron Man. So when Jon Favreau (a diehard fan of Iron Man since his childhood) was chosen as director – it was a decision that made me happy. However, when Jon Favreau announced in January his leading man, I must admit I was a little unsure with his decision.

I’ve always admired Robert Downey Jr. as an actor. I believe him to be one of America’s finest actors alive, but for some reason I could never quite picture him as Tony Stark, let alone Iron Man. Downey doesn’t have a superhero build like Christian Bale, nor the chiselled features of Christopher Reeve. But I guess that’s just it! Iron Man isn’t by definition a superhero- he has no superpowers. Tony Stark is just a normal guy who builds one hell of an iron suit.

Iron Man is basically the Marvel equivalent to DC’s Batman. Both Bruce Wayne and Tony Stark lost their parents when they were young and both have their fair share of inner demons. And so it becomes clearer that I should never have doubted Jon Favreau’s decision in the first place.

We arrived at the massive movie set in Hollywood- a huge aircraft hanger situated at the bottom of a cliff. A bit of trivia. This is the very same aircraft hanger that the late great aviator Howard Hughes first built the Spruce Goose and what makes this tiny bit of trivia ever more relevant is that Marvel creator Stan Lee based the character of Tony Stark on Howard Hughes himself- both were billionaire industrialists with a taste for danger and troubled minds who’s greatest enemy was ultimately themselves.


As we were led to the set, we walked through the Iron Man production head-quarters and I managed a get a sneaky glance through the door of one room that had pictures of various stages of the Iron Man suit in action plastered across the wall. From the larger more bulky Mach 1 suit to the more refined and now iconic Mach 3 suit. It looked good. I salivated slightly.

Then we entered the set. There really is nothing like it. Seeing a set up close and personal. Witnessing movie magic first hand. Seeing the entire production team literally freeze when the cameras start rolling and then magically come to life when the director yells CUT! It truly is an immensely great feeling. There are huge artificial boulders and one giant cave to my left (the cave that Tony Stark is captured and imprisoned). In front of us and at the end of the hanger is a giant construction made of wood the size of a small house. This is the set for Tony Starks office. Inside, the attention to detail is impeccable. From Virginia ‘Pepper Pot’ Potts (Tony Starks secretary played by Gwyneth Paltrow) business cards, to an old computer generated picture of a young Tony Stark meeting Bill Gates surrounded by 80’s style computers- they really have covered all bases. Even the paperwork on the desks of Tony Starks secretary reads a to-do list that includes apples, paper towels, sweets, pens, 9mm rounds, and an Uzi. I love it. All the loose papers lying on the desk are all printed on official Stark paper with receipts for bullet-proof armour and machine gun rounds. Love it!

Gwyneth Paltrow is filming a scene with a bald Jeff Bridges (Obidiah Stane – Tony Starks mentor and later nemesis). Chris Martin is one lucky man. Jeff Bridges wife unfortunately isn’t.

Once they wrap that scene, we set up our cameras awaiting the immediate arrival of Robert Downey Jnr who’s actually come in on his day off just for MTV.
This is the first time I’ve met him- and he was definitely not what I had expected.

Accompanied by quite possibly one of the nicest men Jon Favreau – Iron Man is in the building!

Seeing him enter the room, post-jail-Downey looks like he’s been lifting and complete with his fitted purple (yes, purple!) suit and triangular beard and definite steely gaze– Iron Man is officially here!