With the overwhelming success of Iron Man, Marvel's comic book superhero saga done right, Gwyneth Paltrow (AKA Tony Stark's personal assistant Pepper Potts) and the rest of the all-star cast are back in the game and ready for the sequel. Paltrow sat down with Buzzine's Emmanuel Itier in Hollywood, CA to talk about the growth of her character, the new additions to the cast, and her current endeavors outside the Marvel universe...
Emmanuel Itier: Was it a joy to go back to all this professional family that you now have?
Gwyneth Paltrow: Yes, it really was. We had such a nice time. It’s been such a nice job, I have to say. I really enjoyed being back in LA for a few months. It was so nice, and my children were so happy and naked and tan and blond and swimming, and we had an avocado tree where we were renting, and we had a really, really nice time as a family, and it was great. Robert (Downey, Jr.) and his wife are two of my best friends, and I love Jon Favreau, and it was just like a great group of people. It felt really good and I just felt really lucky to have that experience.
EI: How did it feel to get new people on the set?
GP: It was so fun. I loved working with Scarlett (Johansson). She’s really sassy. She’s smart, funny…and Don Cheadle is just gorgeous and amazing, and Mickey (Rourke) was scary and awesome. [Laughs]
EI: How was that, the first time you met him?
GP: Oh my god, I was scared ’cause he looks very…
EI: He was so gorgeous?
GP: I watched Nine and a Half Weeks before — it was on TV — and I watched him that night… But he’s wild, he’s amazing… It was nice to have new people like Sam Rockwell, and Jon hired really smart, funny people — everyone — so the set felt very alive and bubbly, and everybody had a good time.
EI: You’re playing an assistant in this movie. Can you imagine yourself as an assistant? Would you have the patience for that?
GP: I feel like a lot of my life is that, and I’m the person sort of organizing everyone’s schedule and buying birthday presents for the party and blah, blah, blah and arranging. I feel like that’s a woman’s job anyway. You take care of your guy, you take care of your kids, you take care of the house…so I didn’t think it was very far from my life in a lot of ways. [Laughs]
EI: Your character underwent quite a transformation from the first to the second.
GP: [She's] just trying to sort of find her grace and keep her grace and her non-reactive quality by taking on this thing, you know, cause she’s sort of juggling a lot of things in the film.
EI: Did you feel left out by not doing the action scenes? Do you want to do it, watching everyone else train?
GP: No, I feel like I really love Pepper, and I love playing Pepper and that’s not Pepper, you know what I mean? So I was really happy with what I did.
EI: In a sequence you say it’s too much for me, and I have to go. But after he kisses you, you stay.
GP: The power of men, sigh. [Laughs]
EI: Why do you like doing smaller roles in big movies?
GP: I like doing smaller parts, so that I’m not away from home for too long. I mean I haven’t starred in a movie in a really long time, because it takes up too much of my life. I’m looking it for, now that my children are four and almost six, I would do a big part if it’s shot in London. I’m just looking to work with really interesting directors and stuff, and luckily for whatever reason, right now I’m being asked to do some really interesting things and, you know, it’s hard to keep the balance, and to keep everybody happy and settled. As a mother, you sort of come last in a way. But that’s okay.
EI: What can we expect from you character for the third part of Iron Man?
GP: You know what, I have no idea, they’re not even talking about doing a third one yet. Last time at this time, when it was coming out, they were already like, “Oh if it’s a hit, we’re going to go right into a second one,” but I think they want to do an Avengers movie next, and I don’t think Pepper is an Avenger.
EI: When you get involved in a movie with a sequence that’s going one after another, do you think as an actress it would be for you like a trap and get stuck in the one character, or you wouldn’t mind to continue that stuff?
GP: Well I wouldn’t do like ten more of these, it would be one more and then that would probably be it, so I would be happy to do another one if they want to do another one.
EI: Between all the strong women on the screen, from Jane Fonda to Angelina Jolie, and it will be more and more I am sure in the next few years, is there one that you remember?
GP: For me, a strong woman is like Katherine Hepburn, like that’s a superhero woman to me, like wearing trousers for the first time, or like women who are sort of iconoclastic like Marlena Dietrich, or women who sort of wrote their own rules and sort of took on the man’s world with incredible grace and not with too much brawn, with more brains and dignity and sort of sensuality.
EI: And what do you think your children think about Iron Man?
GP: I don’t really know. Apple knows that I’m Pepper Potts, but I don’t know if she really knows what that is, I haven’t seen it. My son has an Iron Man doll and he likes the image of Iron Man, but they are too young to see the movie I think.
EI: Do you go together to see some movies?
GP: Yeah, we do.
EI: Which kind of movies?
GP: You know, like Pixar movies, like children’s movies.
GP: My daughter speaks with an English accent in England and an American accent in America. [Laughs] And my son has like a Brooklyn-British-weird sort of hybrid. I don’t know what he speaks, but it’s really cute.
EI: A reader was telling us that she checked out your webpage, and that she thought it was really cool of you that you were doing all this. Why did you start it and what do you gain from it yourself? It’s very sweet of you to be wanting to give other people advice on how you work out and stuff — not everybody would do that. Why do you?
GP: I don’t know. I think because I always felt like a very fortunate person, and I feel like I got exposed to a lot early and I got to do things earlier than my friends, like build a house from scratch at 25 years old, or start to travel into far, fun places and get exposed to yoga or macrobiotics or Chinese medicine, or detoxing, and my friends always used to ask me, “Oh I just was in Italy making movies, so I’m going to Rome — where should I eat?” So I thought, surely you would rather know. It’s sort of like the inside info, so I don’t know. I just thought it would be…
EI: But it must be time consuming…
GP: It is!
EI: You put a lot of effort into it…
GP: I do, yeah.
EI: Do you enjoy it?
GP: Very much, I do, because I get such great feedback from women on the street, from men on the street… People will stop me and, where people used to say, “Oh, I liked this movie” or whatever, now people say, “I love this recipe” [laughs] or “Thank you for this recommendation,” or I’d get letters from people saying, “You changed my business.” It makes me feel so good. It makes me feel really happy.
EI: Any plans for more food excursions like the one you did in Spain?
GP: I’m booked up for awhile, so I may go and do…those producers and director are going to Korea to do a show. I’ve always wanted to go to Korea because I love Korean food, and so he’s doing it with Jean George. I can never pronounce his last name, but he’s married to a Korean woman who has a really interesting story because she was adopted and she sort of discovered her Korean-ness [sic] later in life, and they’re going back to Korea and making a show about Korean culture and food. I’m going to try to go over there and do a cameo in that, and there’s one in Italy too, but I don’t think I’ll be able to do a whole thing.
EI: Your interest in Korean food — is that why you want to go to Korea?
GP: I love Korean food. I don’t know too much about Korean culture except for the food, and I would like to go and explore the country.
EI: Isn’t it too spicy?
GP: No. [Laughs] You could just give me a bowl of Kim-Chi right now, I’d be so happy.
'Iron Man 2' is in theaters now from Marvel/Paramount Pictures.