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Robert Downey Jr. on 'Iron Man 2' flaws, China fizzle -- EXCLUSIVE interview (Part 4 of 5)

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On the last day of postproduction work on Iron Man 2, I caught up with Jon Favreau over on the Fox lot. He was sick, haggard, weary, frustrated and emotionally singed. The movie was a grueling experience because the script was a work in progress (or perhaps a work in triage). Favreau told me he felt like El Cid that day, which has to be one the great quotes I’ve ever gotten from a filmmaker: “I feel like I’m finishing this one the way El Cid finished the war, strapped onto his horse by his men and sent into battle dead.”

Robert Downey Jr, who returns as the title star of Iron Man 3 this summer, says the experience of Iron Man 2 has echoed in the memory of Marvel Studios and he said this new installment won’t be making the same mistakes. This is Part 4 of our five-part interview with the movie star. Part 1 ran on Monday, Part 2 on Tuesday, and Part 3 on Wednesday. READ FULL STORY

Robert Downey Jr. thinks Ben Kingsley may steal 'Iron Man 3' -- EXCLUSIVE interview (part 3 of 5)

Ask a young moviegoer to name a larger-than-life genius played by Robert Downey Jr. and they’ll probably name Tony Stark or Sherlock Holmes. The actor himself, however, might cite Charlie Chaplin. Downey earned his first Oscar nomination for channeling the Litttle Tramp in Chaplin (1992), which was produced and directed by Richard Attenborough, the esteemed British actor and filmmaker who today, at age 89, still presides over the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.

The actor’s affection for Attenborough as a mentor gives him common ground with Ben Kingsley, who portrays the nefarious terrorist the Mandarin in Iron Man 3 (opening May 3). Kingsley, you’ll recall, won an Oscar for the title role in Attenborugh’s most celebrated film, Gandhi, in 1982. Here, Downey talks about that bond in the third installment of our five-part interview with the brightest silver screen star in the Marvel Universe. (Part 1 was posted Monday, Part 2 followed Tuesday.)

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: You mentioned Don Cheadle as one of the returning players who has a key contribution to the new film. What about the newcomers to the ensemble? Ben Kingsley, for instance, plays Mandarin, a Marvel character that first appeared in 1964 and is considered the hero’s signature archenemy.
ROBERT DOWNEY JR.
: Sir Ben is probably going to steal the movie. There are a lot of contenders who may, but right now he’s probably at the top of that list. He came in as, obviously – speaking of training – as such a technically proficient instrument. And then what proceeded to happen was the release of more vintage, old-school Favreau [improv] stuff with a Shane Black twist on it. It was kind of frightening to witness, I’ll tell you that much. READ FULL STORY

'Iron Man 3' cameos? Robert Downey Jr. lets a hint fly -- EXCLUSIVE interview (Part 2 of 5)

What does the end of the world look like in the Marvel Universe? Judging by The Avengers, it is one spirit-breaking catastrophe after another. First a demi-god with a magic cube declares war on earth; then alien shock troops and monstrous leviathans invade New York; then it gets worse as a U.S. nuclear warhead is fired at Manhattan. It builds up to a crescendo the most unthinkable disaster of all (especially if you’re a Marvel Studios executive): The moment Robert Downey Jr.flies up, up and away from Earth, maybe never to return.

Yes, Downey and his Tony Stark character have considerable magnetic appeal and it’s difficult to imagine Marvel asking the 47-year-old to do anything less anytime soon. (In fact, there’s a lot of chatter that Marvel may send Stark back to the far ends of the cosmos as a cast member in the 2014 film Guardians of the Galaxy.) Downey, like his clanging alter ego, has been machine-like the past five years. Set aside his summer Marvel job and it’s still impressive: two Sherlock Holmes films; an Oscar nomination for Tropic Thunder; an evocative performance in The Soloist; and the comedy hit Due Date (which he once told me he views as “one of the most privately joyful experiences in history”). I caught up with Downey for a lengthy phone interview recently and we’ll be running installments right here all this week. We started with Part 1 yesterday, here’s Part 2.

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'The Avengers': How ILM assembled the visual effects

Any kid can tell you that one of the great pleasures of any toy is unpacking that sealed box for the first time and putting all the parts and stickers together.

Visual effects house Industrial Light & Magic has given EW’s CapeTown a video that might give fans of The Avengers that same feeling.

The collection of behind-the-scenes clips reveals everything from the simulated Mark Ruffalo they created to morph into The Hulk, to the fact that most of New York in the movie was a digitally painted backdrop.

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'Iron Man 3': Maybe Tony Stark really IS all about the armor?

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It’s a common theme for superheroes to stand for more than just their own powers.

In the DC universe, Superman is famously synonymous with “truth, justice, and the American way,” while Batman is a darker symbol of vigilante justice, inspiring citizens to resist the things they fear the most.

In Marvel’s realm, Spider-Man stands for every puny kid who ever got pushed around, and learned how to use brains as well as brawn, the Hulk is the anger inside all of us, fighting to get out, if only we can channel it for good. Wolverine is the rebel without a cause, looking for something he cares enough about to fight for.

But what does Iron Man stand for? READ FULL STORY

'Iron Man & Hulk: Heroes United' trailer: Marvel's next movie, kind of -- VIDEO

Marvel Studios is pursuing an aggressive strategy with their upcoming slate of superhero films, releasing two extended-universe spin-offs per year from next May’s Iron Man 3 to November 2015′s Ant-Man. But perhaps you feel like that simply isn’t enough. In that case, you’ll almost certainly enjoy Marvel’s Iron Man & Hulk: Heroes United, a straight-to-DVD animated film that will apparently be about Iron Man and Hulk, who are heroes, uniting.

A new trailer for the project shows the two crimefighters battling a horde of superpowered mandroids. “Maybe I shouldn’t have built so many mandroids!” says Iron Man. “Ya think?!?!” says Hulk. (They’re such good friends!) Iron Man is voiced by Adrian Pasdar (Heroes Nathan Petrelli), while Fred Tatasciore will one again voice the big green guy. Watch the trailer: READ FULL STORY

'Iron Man & Hulk: Heroes United': First Look at Marvel Animation's debut movie -- EXCLUSIVE

The big green guy and the big metal guy are having a post-Avengers reunion in animated form.

Marvel Animation Studios has exclusively revealed plans to EW for its debut feature, Iron Man & Hulk: Heroes United, which will team Tony Stark and Bruce Banner in a fight against the villain Zzzax, a creature formed out of pure energy who can absorb human minds.

As these first images show, the movie (which will debut on home video April 23) is a hybrid of computer-generated animation and hand-drawn art.

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A gunslinging raccoon? Marvel moving forward on 'Guardians of the Galaxy' movie -- BREAKING

Last September, with The Avengers already underway, Marvel Studios revealed it was developing plans to bring together a new team.

“There is an opportunity to do a big space epic, which Thor sort of hints at in the cosmic side of the universe, with characters in a property called Guardians of the Galaxy,” Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige told EW last year.

They’d already been laboring to create “The Big Idea,” which was company slang for the long slate of connected movies culminating in this May’s The Avengers.

With Guardians, they’re looking beyond Earth for their heroes. READ FULL STORY

'The Amazing Spider-Man': How could its debut stack up against past superhero box office?

When Spider-Man debuted 10 years ago on the first weekend of May, it broke through what seemed at the time to be an unbreakable box-office barrier, becoming the first movie ever to earn over $100 million on its three-day opening weekend — $114.8 million, to be exact. That was a whopping 27 percent improvement over the previous record-holder, 2001′s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, which banked $90.3 million over its first three days of release. A new really high-water mark for box-office achievement had been set, and as Hollywood began to truly understand the financial potential of comic books, the ensuing decade of blockbuster cinema was born.

Ten years later, according to The Hollywood Reporter, tracking reports estimate the debut for Sony Pictures’ reboot of the Spidey franchise, The Amazing Spider-Man, at $125 million or more. While that is certainly good news for Sony, Andrew Garfield’s spandex-clad web-slinger is nonetheless swinging into quite a different marketplace. A $125 million debut just doesn’t quite mean what it used to, but figuring out what it does mean isn’t all that easy, either. Here’s why: READ FULL STORY

Casting Net: Taylor Swift nearing noteworthy role as Joni Mitchell, plus Mark Wahlberg, Guy Pearce, Jaden Smith

Mark Wahlberg will come a-knockin’ for Avon Man. Hugh Jackman was supposed to headline the long-in-development project, but had to drop out due to scheduling conflicts with his X-Men spin-off The Wolverine. Wahlberg is now looking to produce and star. [Deadline]

• Lockout lead Guy Pearce is in final talks to join Robert Downey Jr.Gwyneth Paltrow, Scarlett Johansson, and Don Cheadle in Iron Man 3. Pearce will play geneticist Aldrich Kilian, who develops nanotechnology that can spread viruses and sells it to terrorists. [Variety]

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