Writing Iron Man 2

Despite critics accusing it of lacking the emotional core of the original “Iron Man”, IM2 has achieved box office predictions. Furthermore nobody is sure of the future Marvel Studios (owned by Disney) and Paramount relationship with regard to who will produce and distribute IM3.

During a recent interview with Script Magazine, JT (Justin Theroux, not Justin Timberlake), hot off the heels of “Tropic Thunder”, spoke of his ruminating affinity for screenwriting while scribing “Iron Man 2”. Unlike acting, where you often don’t get to play the roles you want, writing knows no boundaries. You just write for the love of it. Making a buck is a bonus.

JT refers to screenwriting as the “haiku” of literature, because it is so sparse, yet carries the purpose of the entire film to the entire staff. While your collaborators simply discuss ways to handle the material, a screenwriter does all the story groundwork and brings it to the table.

As an actor, JT can approach screenwriting from a different vantage point to screenwriters, because any jarring dialogue can more easily be filtered out. Similarly, a director can approach a script on the basis of how scenes fit together. Let’s not forget that the underlying blueprint was created by screenwriters and interpreted by others.

JT also joined the stable of “writers on set”, which is increasingly becoming the norm in Hollywood movies. Most of the rewritten scenes were logistic or tonal in nature. His director, Jon Favreau, claimed that the final rewrite of any script occurs in the editing suite. JT lauded Marvel Studios for giving him relatively free reign in the writing process. Apart from using the end point of it’s predecessor, dealing with themes of hubris and using one’s superpowers to save the world, he was left to his own creative devices. While JT remained true to the Tony Stark character, he could experiment with other characters like Whiplash.

Once the origin story (how the superhero came to be) is dealt with, the action can take any course. He talked of his ability to “color in outside the lines”. Superhero stories resonate deeply within us, because anthropologically, we all have a burning desire to discover our roots. It helps us understand the person we have become. The superhero has often been argued to be an extensive of our egos and our desire to leave our marks in the world.

Will Robert Downey say “I Am Iron Man” a third time? Time will tell.


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