He continued, addressing the idea of whether or not they could ever recast the role. "I feel like I got sold to Disney for $4 billion." He doesn't seem to mind, though, and it sounds to me like he knows that Tony Stark is going to be a part of his life for a long time. "The thing about playing this kind of inherent narcissist, whenever you kill one of Tony’s egos, another one just pops up. I’ve had that experience, but I’ve found the whole thing to be a very quieting journey for me. It’s been remarkably humbling. You realize you’re just kind of part of this thing. I think the problems begin when any one person involved in anything, particularly anything successful,  decides that they have some sense of ownership to it. This is really something that Stan Lee scratched down going on 50 years now. He touched on something really, really cool with Iron Man and, strangely, Iron Man was sort of this second-tier superhero who laid the groundwork for these other guys and gals. Where I’m at right now is that I’ve always thought of myself, particularly since I’ve been married to this high-functioning Jewish girl from the Midwest, I think of myself as being a company man. I like showing up and I like doing press. I like being able to say, 'I’m going to take a break because I don’t want to burn out.' I don’t want to be doing a roundtable or a press conference and have people say, 'He looks tired!' I want to be there. I want to communicate and kind of experience this. The funny thing is that, though I can be quick-witted, I tend to have a slow take, experientially for things. These five or six years have not been enough time for me to process what has happened."

The subject of money was broached, which is always uncomfortable, and I think Downey handled it with as much grace as possible.  "I honestly get uncomfortable with leverage. I was annoyed for awhile about having a contract where, in success, not very much changes for you. But then I got to thinking, 'What was I really doing before I got ‘Iron Man’?'"  He continued, "I'm not going to pretend I’m over it. Obviously, it’s better to have a contract run out than it is to have one go on indefinitely. But I guess that’s why contracts have limits on them. Let’s just say that me, the agents and the lawyers are having a bit of a ball right now. I don’t like this whole Western thing… of 'We’ve got him! Let’s screw him to the floor!' It’s like, 'Weren’t we excited about the future a couple of years ago? Now we’re just laying the boots to each other.'"

Downey was asked about how this film raises the stakes, action-wise, from "The Avengers," and I really like what he had to say about it.  "The funny thing is 'Iron Man 3' is simultaneously a much smaller story, but it also feels just personally… I’m in every second of every action scene in this movie. I’ve never done so much action in my life. The scope feels really, really big. Again, I think Marvel’s intention is to defy expectations again."
Asked to compare Favreau to Black as a filmmaker, Downey said, "They’re very similar. You also can’t really work with one without reaching out to the other. Jon and I reached out to Shane on several occasions [on the first two films] and Shane definitely would refer back to Jon on a lot of stuff. Jon has an incredible sense of showmanship, and Shane is much more kind of introverted. When he does become ectomorphic, it’s very entertaining. For instance, we were night shooting and he just went running across this thing. He caught his head on something and dislocated his shoulder. He just sat there and we were like, 'Back into the emergency vehicle.' He was like, 'Just two more shots! I’ll stay, I’ll stay!' and I said, 'You have to go to the hospital.' Jon is very smooth, and Shane is a little more like myself and a bit spiky at times. I’ve also changed. There’s the Jon that directed the first 'Iron Man' and the Jon that directed the second one and the Jon that has done all the things he’s done. What I’m really happy about is that, as things have changed, that Shane has stepped in and run with this obviously fantastic opportunity. I’m just so comforted that nobody has suffered for all of it, including the franchises and the movies themselves. Jon and I have offices across the street from one another. Shane and I are still speaking. It’s a nice relationship, you know? Again, I think it’s a testament to Kevin and the central people at Marvel. They’re very, very thoughtful about their choices."

And if you'd like to know what Kevin Feige and Shane Black think about "Iron Man 3," I'll have that for you in just a few.

In the meantime, if you didn't check out the new trailer, you really, really should.

"Iron Man 3" opens on May 3, 2013.

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