Shane Mahan, head honcho at Stan Winston's studio, filled us in with all the new details about Iron Man 2's new army of menaces, and Tony's new armor. Plus find out why no one could actually "be" Iron Man.
So can you fill us in on Iron Man's suit, what's are his stats? I read that in theory, it was supposed to weigh 600 pounds. How has that changed?
The trick to these kinds of things is, you have to present it in a way that feels the part, when actually it's quite light. The suit has to feel like it's being made out of metal. The height of the suit is 6 foot 5, and 600 to 800 pounds has always been the number that we kicked around with the design team.
But what about the shoulders? He looks like he has insanely broad shoulders and a tiny waist.
That's true, that's true. That's the comic book proportions. That's the trait that makes him successful. He has very broad shoulders, the smallest head possible, and very narrow hips on really long legs. It's a really interesting body type, which is the comic book body type.
So is Robert Downey, Jr. even close to the actual measurements of the suit?
No, nobody is. The aspect of what it is, is if you were to take a formula for drawing a person, is seven heads tall. Just about anybody, proportional to their body. The comic book [formula] is eight heads tall. His suit is actually eight heads, which is to say, they took the measurement of the head and stacked them eight from the ground up, he's eight heads tall. I think that's partially why the suit looks as good.
What are the new features on the new Iron Man 2 suits?
The aspect comes from the story telling, most of it is just the design itself. At first glance it looks like Iron Man, it looks like what you remember the first Iron Man to be. But if you put it next to the first film's suit, or the Mark 3, it's vastly different. The helmet has stayed the same. But the cut and lines, and the proportions everything to the legs, and how things work are all very different. That was because Jon Favreau and the Marvel producers and the art team knew that the second film, you have to improve it. So in the course of the story, time has passed. And Tony, being the billionaire that he is, is going to come up with something different, and something more modified. And that was just from a story aspect. From our aspect, we worked with Marvel's production designers and Favreau and we'd take [those ideas] and muscle them into shape, so that a person could wear them. You have to make sure that the actors limbs can fit inside the suits. So yes they do have very broad shoulders. So you're kind of pushing the maximum of what's achievable and still performable. And that drives the digital suit.
The digital companies can make little tweaks and changes that are practically undetectable. But the practical stuff in this film owes a lot to the reality of people's bodies.
What kind of features and technology were added to the suit itself.
Absolutely, all of that stuff has been modified and made familiar yet fresh. I think that's what's great about it. I think that if you would see him in the old suit, it wouldn't be as exciting. This film has a lot of surprises, but I'm not sure what I can talk about.
What was your favorite upgrade on the suit?
I like the fact that this time that we were able to make the torso articulate and move better, than what we did in the first film. I think the fact that we made the suit much more of a performance suit, I was pleased with. There's also some great laser technology added, let's put it that way.
How practical is the Iron Man suit at this point? Both on set and in the real world?
You're able to go back to the drawing board and correct things that you wish you could correct after the first film was made, reinvent your prototype — because that's really what it is. The first film was really a prototype and you're able to go back and make it better. You go back and you make it work better. And you come up with better materials that are more user friendly for the actors. That's a big plus,
In terms of what I think the plausibility of having a suit like this in the real world, like most things, it's kind of like robots. Robots were these fascinating devices from the past, just look at Metropolis. Now robots are kind of commonplace. They are everywhere. I think 60 years from now there may be some type of wearable jet engine suit. It might be awfully close to Iron Man, I think it's entirely possible.
Many digital companies struggle with how to switch from the physical representation of the actor to the digital representation on screen. Often times they will even take the character off screen, very quickly, and then bring it back fully digitzed. Is that something you guys did, or did you do something else?
No I don't think that's the way to go. I think that's the coward's way out. I think when you have the best team in the world — I only say that because people have to work with what they got sometimes there are limitations to what they can do — But in our case, I think our visual effects supervisor, and all the guys at ILM and the other facilities, they know what works in these integrated hand-off shots. You are really trying to confuse the audience with what they are trying to see. Sometimes it happens naturally in the editing process, but not always. I think that's a good way to go, to do in-camera switches that are clever.
How do Justin Hammer's droids or Mecha Men compare to the first movie's Iron Monger, they look rather big?
They are similar, a little smaller, but very similar. Your dealing with a robotic army and iconic drawings. And really the fun of this movie is making these devices that appeal to the fans of the comics in the first place. I think that's a very important thing to do. Hopefully
There are different branches of the droids [Marines, Air Force, Army and Navy] and they all have different guns and missiles, machine guns. War machine has a mounted gatling gun.
How many guns does War Machine have total?
Woof, oh man I can't remember. We only did the one, the one that is practical on his back. And there are all sorts of things that ILM did that pop out. He's got at least, at least three guns.
After talking with Mahan, we did a little research as to what Iron Man's measurements are, we already know that he's an abnormal "eight Heads" tall. And the digital version of Iron Man clearly has the waist size of a plastic doll. Which you can clearly see the different when RDJ has on the practical suit versus the computer suit. According to Marvel Directory the Mark V suit the armor dimensions are:
Armor exterior Dimensions:
Height (overall): 75 in.
Width (overall): 34 in.
Width (short axis): 21 in.
Weight: 215 lbs.
Yes, that's really 34'', with a 21'' waist. Barbie's measurements, which vary, have been reported at 36''/ 18''/33''. Barbie and Iron Man both seem to have completely illogical waist sizes in common. RDJ would have to grow at least a foot, lose lots of inches around his waist, and fill out a lot in the shoulders to fill in the Mark V suit.