Guy Pearce seems to have become the king of big-budget cameos lately.

Out promoting his role in the just-released John Hillcoat Prohibition thriller "Lawless" this week, the actor told entertainment blog Vulture that his part in the upcoming Marvel threequel "Iron Man 3," which he joined the cast of back in April, is small potatoes - at least as far as the character's screen time is concerned.

"When I did 'The Time Machine,' I was pretty much in all of it, so it was a really grueling experience. 'Prometheus' and 'Iron Man' are really kind of cameo stuff," Pearce told Vulture in a recent phone interview, responding to a question about how filming studio tentpoles has changed since he starred in the 2002 H.G. Wells adaptation. "So the experience of shooting them ... I mean, on some level, it's tricky because you feel like a bit of an outsider. You don’t really live the experience that you do when you're there all day every day with everybody. But at the same time, it can be more fun sometimes because you're just working in concentrated spurts.”

In "Prometheus," of course, Pearce's role - that of elderly Weyland Corp. CEO Peter Weyland - was decidedly limited (though important), not to mention one that saw him slathered in layers of "old man" makeup. In "Iron Man 3," the actor stars as Tony Stark friend and geneticist Aldrich Killian, whose role in the comic-book storyline the film is partially based upon - Warren Ellis' "Extremis" from 2005  - is admittedly rather slight (though, yes, crucial) to begin with. In other words, Iron Man super-fans probably won't be all that surprised about this development.

Directed by franchise newcomer Shane Black ("Kiss Kiss Bang Bang"), "Iron Man 3" sees Robert Downey Jr. reprising his role as the titular hero alongside returning stars Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle and Jon Favreau. Joining the series for the first time, along with Pearce, are Rebecca Hall as Dr. Maya Hansen and Ben Kingsley as The Mandarin. Production on the film was halted earlier this month after Downey suffered an on-set injury while performing a stunt.

Marvel has slated "Iron Man 3" for release on May 3, 2013.

Did you expect that Pearce's role would be limited based on your knowledge of the comics? Anyone surprised by this news? Sound off in the comments.