Where do we find Pepper in Iron Man 3?
When we find Pepper, she and Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr) are very much in a relationship. They’re living together and she’s still running Stark Industries, so their lives are very intertwined and there’s a lot of comfort between them now. It’s not the kind of tentative relationship they had in the first one. It’s very comfortable. I think you get the sense that they know each other very well and they’re in a serious relationship.
Is it fun to get to play more romantically with Robert in this film as opposed to the tension? It’s very nice to have the relationship evolve over the course of a few pictures, and especially now. Robert and I have always had a really great working relationship and it’s nice to phase it into something else. It’s still all the banter, but it’s less tenuous.
You get to wear the suit; were you ever expecting that?
There was talk of Pepper getting into the suit at the end of Iron Man 2, but Marvel wasn’t ready to do it yet. I think in the comic books she does eventually get into the suit and she has her own suit, and I know Robert was really interested in having Pepper do more in this movie. It was also a factor in me coming back and getting to do things that were a little bit more fun and different and a little bit more adventurous.
How hard is it to wear that suit?
I didn’t mind wearing the suit at all. I thought it was light and perfectly comfortable and my children (Apple and Moses) thought I was extremely cool. They were here on a day when I was in it, so they were trying it on and when my son saw me in the suit, he had the biggest eyes, so it was definitely worth it.
Is it cool for them to see Robert Downey Jr now that they understand he is Iron Man?
It’s funny because they didn’t realise it for a long time. My son was only one on the first movie, so obviously he had no clue, but now for this movie he’s six and he’s super into Iron Man and Hulk. I remember the day he kind of put it together that Robert was Iron Man, because he has had an affinity for Robert his whole life. He really loves Robert, and now the fact that Robert’s Iron Man puts an extra little spin on it.
It seems like Iron Man is more vulnerable than ever before....
I think the reason why Tony Stark is such a popular cinematic hero is because of his vulnerability. In the second movie he was at his least vulnerable. In the first movie, he goes into his vulnerability and he finds it, and he sort of finds his humanity. And in this movie you really see his cracks. You really see the psychology behind why he is going through this metamorphosis that he needs to go through.
He went through a dark period in his life, but I think in this movie he’s really trying to reconcile to what’s what and who he wants to be.
Robert plays that kind of thing so beautifully. He’s an actor that can play so many notes at once, and so it’s wonderful to see.
The scene where he sends a fake Iron Man to Pepper and pretends it’s him could be that classic man thing of ‘I just don’t want to deal with my girlfriend,’ but I think it’s really Tony not wanting to be intimate. It’s a barrier between Pepper and Tony that he doesn’t necessarily want to cross. I think it’s painful for him to fully commit to her with his whole heart, because there’s a lot in there and he’s still reckoning with how to deal with it.