(CBR) The man behind the Mandarin — super-powered scientist Aldrich Killian — almost had a very different face.

Guy Pearce starred as Killian in director Shane Black’s "Iron Man 3," but in a recent interview with Total Film, he revealed he nearly turned down the role. His reason is understandable: The indie-minded actor initially wasn’t allowed to read a script.

“When I watched the first one, I thought, ‘Wow, there’s something different here,’” he recalled. “Shane [Black], who directed the third, had been a fan of mine, apparently. He called up and I had a meeting with him and he said, ‘We’re not allowed to give you the script but I can tell you all about it.’ He ran me through the whole story over lunch. It sounded really interesting. But I did end up saying to my agent, ‘I’m not going to do this movie until they show me the script.’ And my agent went [sharp intake of breath], ‘They really don’t want to show you the script.’ So I said I wasn’t going to do it.”

Ultimately, Pearce was allowed access to the script, but only for a couple of hours. “And it was fine — it was exactly what we’d talked about,” he said.

As for his thoughts on the final product? Pearce thinks "Iron Man 3" turned out “even better than I thought it was going to be; I think it’s a great movie.”

(via CBM)

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