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SFX Competition Winner Meets The Men Behind Iron Man 3

Charlie Pearson puts her questions to Iron Man 3 brains trust Shane Black and Drew Pearce .

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A few weeks back, SFX ran a competition that gave one lucky reader the chance to meet and interview Shane Black and Drew Pearce, the writer/director and writer, respectively, of the excellent ( and box office busting ) Iron Man 3 . Our winner was Charlie Pearson, who travelled down to a posh London hotel to meet the men who set Tony Stark off on his finest solo adventure.

Here's what what happened when Charlie put her questions to Shane and Drew...

Charlie: If you had the capability and resources to create your own Iron Man suit would you do it?

Drew: "Well, I’m not good with heights but like flying, so I'd have to build it, have a see, and then sell it if it wasn't my cup of tea. I think I would need to do the terrible thing that Tony Stark does in Ultimate Iron Man , which is I would probably need a couple of very stiff Martinis to get in an Iron Man suit."

Shane: "The problem with Iron man is that it’s both an aircraft and a weapon, and that's what I like about the modern approach to Iron Man, particularly the Matt Fraction. I like that he calls it ‘The Iron Man’."

Drew: "Yeah, we kind of wanted that at a certain point as the title, but that kind of modern thing of calling things ‘The Amazing’ or 'The Incredible' we ended up steering away from.

Shane: "I like the notion of being able to pilot an aircraft – but at the same time I don’t feel the need to. There is something about invulnerability to it. I read a story once about a guy who you couldn’t touch, he had this little micro-thin impermeable layer around himself, and he could just walk down the street anywhere, and in the worst neighbourhood where guys would come up and try to stab you, it wouldn’t work. So I love the idea of being impervious."

Drew: "I also think that inherent in why Iron Man is so popular, and in some ways is more popular than the other Marvel cinematic universe characters, it's partly Robert, but I think there's also that wish fulfilment thing. If you're a kid and you're watching an Iron Man movie there's a part of you that goes, ‘I don’t need to be a god to have powers.’ I’ve not been injected with super serum, but I could get into the suit and fly around. It’s that literal dream, the kind of flying dream you know."

Charlie: Do you have any favourite memories from the set?

Shane: "Now, favourite doesn’t mean good necessarily, does it?"

Drew: "Highlights? I was in and out 'cos I’m just the co-writer, and obviously Shane’s there every second of every day, beginning, middle and end, so it was less brutal on me than it was on him.These movies take a huge amount of time to shoot – production itself was 88 days of shooting, and then a couple of weeks of additional photography later on. And Shane has a penchant for night shoots. He’s somewhat a creature of the night."

Shane: "One of my favourite memories, there's this scene in the movie, where Tony's running out of small town bar pursued by an actress named Stephanie Szostak. And as he runs out of the bar, you can see there’s a telephone pole with a wire coming down diagonally from it to the ground. It’s one of those stretched taut guy wires. I was running for the bathroom one night, full speed...

Drew : "I thought it was for more coffee. I thought that was what you were running for."

Shane: "They said ‘Hurry Up’ so I was running full speed, so I turned it on, I was chugging it, and here’s the wire [gestures] and phwut, straight over. Legs up in the air, down, ripped this shoulder."

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Charlie: So that's your favourite memory?

Drew: "They should put a picture of that on the DVD, because it really is like 'Making big movies can do this to you.'"

Shane: "And it was kind of cool. Because the next day, we’re working again, and I just showed up, because we have to keep working. And there’s that wire there – I'm eyeing the thing..."

Drew: "The nemesis wire."

Shane: "No one ever cut it, no one took it down. They just put a piece of lame yellow tape on it. Like, ‘Run here! Only idiots can't see it! It’s yellow, in case you’re an idiot, and you can’t see it like this other idiot.'"

Drew: "Honestly, there is quite a lot of mucking around as well. I'd go and sit next to Shane and mutter constantly. You know, there’s not one specific moment that is in any way publishable, but there’s a lot of fun. I’m trying to think of any single publishable thing I could say.

Shane : "But there were tough moments. Robert Downey jumps from one part of the set to another, and he lands and then all of a sudden he’s not getting up. [He'd broken his ankle.] At first, we thought he was clowning because he was making faces. It felt like one of these movies where we had started off with an unrealistic schedule, and then we had to bump two months for Robert's new baby, and now we had a really unrealistic schedule... And then we lost six more weeks."

Drew: " It was only three weeks ago [that's five weeks ago now] that this movie got finished. And truthfully, most modern blockbusters go down to the wire like that, but this one, we also had a really protracted post-production schedule. Shane was in the edit suite until 2am for like two or three months."

Shane: "The cocktails started at 9!"

'I was thrilled to win the competition to get the chance to interview Shane Black and Drew Pearce," Charlie told us afterwards. "I am a huge Iron Man fan and I couldn’t wait to meet the men responsible for creating the highly anticipated Iron Man 3 ! The experience was absolutely amazing, and I had a blast. Shane and Drew were really down to earth and were very nice, and they answered my questions in great detail which was great. All in all it was an experience that I will never forget, and that I am very grateful for – thanks to SFX for the amazing opportunity!'

Iron Man 3 is out now, and if you haven't seen it yet, you really should because it's ace. In fact, we can't think of many better things to do this bank holiday weekend. Find out why in SFX' s review.

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Richard is a freelancer journalist and editor, and was once a physicist. Rich is the former editor of SFX Magazine, but has since gone freelance, writing for websites and publications including GamesRadar+, SFX, Total Film, and more. He also co-hosts the podcast, Robby the Robot's Waiting, which is focused on sci-fi and fantasy.