Iron Man Helmer Talks Tom Cruise

Plus, Jon Favreau gives more details on the story on its villain, the Mandarin. And has Rhodey been cast?
Iron Man director Jon Favreau posted new information on his Web Blog that addresses long-standing rumors about Tom Cruise playing Tony Stark, gives more details on the storyline and on the Mandarin, the film's villain.

Regarding Stark's wealth, is it inherited or earned? Favreau answered inherited, which mirrors the comic book in which Tony's father created his defense contract business. Favreau also revealed that Tony is the dominant personality over Iron Man.

Favreau says the movie starts in Afghanistan but rides the line between real-life geography and fantasy. "Is it better to keep the specifics of geography a bit ambiguous in order to afford us more leeway in the storytelling?," Favreau asked rhetorically. "I think a balance needs to be struck between reality and comic book fantasy. The books were always non-specific while alluding to definitive aspects of our collective cultural subconscious. Stark was visiting a 'non-specific Asian/American conflict' in the mid-sixties. This might be the way to go for the movie as well."

Regarding whether the Mandarin will be a stereotypical Asian villain (ala Fu Manchu): "We live in a different society than when the Mandarin was originally conceived," Favreau said. "We in no way want to prepetuate any ridiculous stereotypes. The aspect of the Mandarin that is appealing to us is his mysterious and formidible nature. He is the most powerful and definitive of the Iron Man villians. He also allows us to weave in other fan pleasing "personalities" as he is a mastermind and not simply a brutish thug. The Mandarin presents the best opportuntity to write a complex and colorful character. It has always been my feeling that the villian is the most fun character to play, write for, and watch. If we create a great character, a great actor will hopefully follow. These are our goals.

"I happen to think that any portrayal of this villian similar to the early books would be comical at best and offensive at worst. Neither result is what we are going for. I hope to update the paradigm and create a character who is a villian because of what he does, not where he's from or what he looks like."

As for the long-standing talk of Tom Cruise playing the lead: "I've never even met Tom Cruise, though I do think he is a great actor. He doesn't seem to fit with what Marvel is looking for at this time, but you never know what will happen. The rumor is false as far as I know," Favreau said.

Finally, Ain't It Cool News is claiming Terrence Howard (Hustle & Flow) has been offered the role of James (Rhodey) Rhodes in the film. In the comics, Tony's lead pilot takes on the identity of Iron Man for a time and then becomes War Machine.
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Jon Favreau's Iron Man Blog