Oscar winner for Shakespeare in Love , mum of two and one time head-in-a-box Gwyneth Paltrow talks to us about maternity leave, working with Robert Downey Jr., and having her own Iron Man costume...
Were you happy to be out of the loop for a while before Iron Man?
I was happy in my sweat pants being a mother for three years and I honestly didn’t know if the fire would come back. Then when my son was about six months old I started to feel like the artist was coming out of hibernation.
I wanted to wait until he was at least a year old because I had given my daughter all this time at home. I thought, “If something comes along then where I feel like I’ll be inspired because of the people that I’m working with, I’ll do it.”
That’s when Jon Favreau called me about Iron Man. I want to work with people who are of that calibre because there will be days when I’m not with my children, but perhaps I’ll be bringing home something. I’ll be enriching myself.
What about working with Robert Downey Jr? Was that an added enticement?
The experience of working with Robert was the reason I did the movie. You know, it’s funny, when I agreed to do it there wasn’t a script.
Jon outlined to me what the movie was going to be about, what the metaphors were, who the characters were, what the relationships were going to be… And the fact that Robert was in it. I had always wanted to work with Robert.
He’s one of the most brilliant actors I’ve ever had the good fortune to work with.
Next: Iron Man and Pepper Potts (opens in new tab) [page-break]
Given that comics probably weren’t your thing as a child, what drew you to the characters of Iron Man?
I was more into fairytales and Roald Dahl books. Then I went through an obsessive Nancy Drew period and got into novels – very into Charlotte Bronte and Jane Austin!
But it’s like any great character in fiction, there’s a redemptive quality about them, or something you can kind of relate to or aspire to be.
That’s why Iron Man is wonderful. In the beginning he’s so egotistical, and he’s able to make this incredible internal transformation. I find that really inspiring.
As Pepper Potts, you’re very much in control, juggling everything. Are you like that in real life?
I think all mommies are like that, aren’t they? We have our fingers in all the pots and we have to organise when the heating breaks and lunches and school projects and our own work.
We’re born multi-taskers, so in that way Pepper and every woman have that similarity. I like things organised, but sometimes I can’t pull it all off!
Next: Iron Man 2; A suit for Pepper? (opens in new tab) [page-break]
Can you tell us about Iron Man 2? Or 3?
If it did happen, I’d be very happy. It was a great job for me. It was such a happy set and inspiring, even though it was an action superhero movie. Working with Robert and Jeff Bridges and Terrence Howard, all these incredible actors.
I would love to be back with them but I haven’t thought about what would happen or anything in the next movie.
Do you want in on the action this time? Your own Iron suit, maybe?
No! Robert looked quite sweaty and pissed off in that suit. I don’t know that I will want to have a suit of my own.
But Jon Favreau said it would be good, so I believe him.
Iron Man 2 will be released next year.
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