Movie Talk

‘Iron Man 3′ Five Film Facts: RDJ is Broke No More

Robert Downey Jr. and Gwyneth Paltrow in Marvel Studios' 'Iron Man 3'

This weekend, "Iron Man 3" kicks off the summer movie season with a bang. The film is already well on its way to making boatloads of dough and pleasing legions of diehard fans. We all know that "Iron Man 3" will be one of the biggest hits of the summer, but here are five facts about the film you may not know, but definitely should.

Zero to Hero

1. Robert Downey, Jr. could very well be the biggest movie star in the world right now, but he certainly wasn't when Marvel was first casting Tony Stark for "Iron Man" (2008). In fact, according to Gwyneth Paltrow, Marvel didn't want him to play the part at all. "When we started the first film, Robert was in such a different place; he was very humble; Marvel did not want him; Jon Favreau had to fight tooth and nail to get him the job; he was broke," Paltrow told us during the press junket. You can see more from Paltrow (and other cast members) in our Insider Access video above.

RDJ & wife Susan Downey rolling into the Hollywood 'Iron Man 3' premiere. Photo by Getty.

Good Deal

2. RDJ probably doesn't worry too much about money these days. After the surprising success of the first "Iron Man," Downey reportedly renegotiated his deal to earn between 5 and 7 percent of the profits for all his future Marvel endeavors. That deal supposedly netted him upwards of $50 million for reprising the role in "Marvel's The Avengers" (2012). According to Deadline, "Iron Man 3" is on pace to make some $650 million worldwide by the end of this weekend. Considering the reported production budget is in the $200 million ballpark, RDJ stands to cash another substantial paycheck. Who knows, if he keeps playing Iron Man, maybe someday he'll be as wealthy as Tony Stark?

[Related: Get Local Tickets and Showtimes for 'Iron Man 3']

Future's So Bright

3. Everything might have worked out differently for RDJ if more people had just purchased his pop album "The Futurist" when it debuted back in 2004. Perhaps he would have been too busy doing stadium tours and wouldn't have had time to be Iron Man? "The Futurist," which also features RDJ on piano and serving as album cover designer, did sell 16,000 copies in its first week and debuted at No. 121 on the Billboard album chart. Alas, it wasn't enough to get the RDJ show on the road. Check out the YouTube video above of Downey singing "Man Like Me," the first song from the album.

Shane Black & Jon Favreau. Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images.

The Iron Spirit

4. After helming the first two "Iron Man" movies, Jon Favreau has relinquished his directorial duties for the third one, though he remains a big part of the film as a producer and star (Happy Hogan). Picking up the slack is writer/director Shane Black, whose last directing gig was in 2005's "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang," also starring RDJ. It's not too much of a spoiler to reveal that "Iron Man 3" takes place during the Christmas season, and subsequently contains requisite Christmas cheer. While that might seem strange for a summer movie, since we're dealing with Shane Black, it's not so extraordinary. This is the sixth time that Christmas has played a part in one of Black's scripts: "Lethal Weapon" (1987), "The Last Boy Scout" (1991), "Last Action Hero" (1993), "The Long Kiss Goodnight" (1996), and "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" all contain yuletide nods. "It unifies everyone in the world -- puts them on the same playing field. So that you can cut all over the place and still be on the same world," Black said when we asked about his Christmas fetish during a recent roundtable interview. "Also there’s a universal sense of Christmas, a potential for possibilities."

[Related: How Marvel Breaks New Ground with 'Iron Man 3' Post-credits Scene]

No Method to the Madness

5. Though Daniel Day-Lewis might make you think differently, an actor doesn't necessarily have to take his work home with him to nail a role. Take Sir Ben Kingsley, for example, who plays the nefarious and mysterious international terrorist known as The Mandarin. Kingsley may have won an Oscar for playing Indian civil rights leader Mohandas Ghandi in the 1982 biopic "Ghandi," but he can't tell you how Ghandi would have thought about The Mandarin. "I haven't the faintest idea," Kingsley told us at the "Iron Man 3" press junket. "If I answered that, it would imply that I could think as my characters; I don't. I just pretend between action and cut to bring something to the screen that I hope an audience will love watching. There's no transformation at all. I'm not that kind of a method actor." You can see the rest of our interview with Sir Ben (and the other cast members) in the video above.

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