Marvel Studios has a history of hiring the right actors for the role, not just the biggest actors of the day. The original Iron Man cast Robert Downey Jr. in the lead role and rode the wave of good will right to the bank. Joining him for the third installment, Iron Man 3, is another respected actor making their first big break into the summer blockbuster environment: Rebecca Hall, the co-star of The Prestige, The Town and Vicky Cristina Barcelona. She plays scientist Maya Hansen, who probably meant well when she developed the Extremis program, but now her genetic modifications are turning quite literally explosive and it's going to take a certain man… an iron man… to put a stop to it.
I sat down with Ms. Hall at the Four Seasons in Los Angeles to talk about her experience on a Marvel Studios production, what makes her starstruck and where Woody Allen should go with the Vicky Cristina franchise. (Because surely it must be a franchise, right…?)
Our conversation begins with the pouring of a Diet Coke.
Rebecca Hall: Sorry, I’m chugging the caffeine.
CraveOnline: But it’s diet, so it’s okay.
No, it’s still caffeine. That’s probably worse than sugar.
I’m on my fourth cup of coffee today, so I’m in no position to judge.
That’s nothing. That’s novice-level.
Fair enough. What do you hit? What do you bench? Come on!
[Laughs] Four cups is before ten o’clock. It’s tragic. Anyway.
Is this the biggest junket you’ve ever done?
Yes, it’s gotta be. It’s gotta be…
What’s the experience been, going around and promoting the movie? I imagine you didn’t do all this for Vicki Cristina Barcelona…
I’m making a face because actually I don’t know. They’re all basically the same, in the sense that you’re still always sitting in a hotel room and doing a chat. And frankly. On the independents, sometimes you do three times as much because you really…
You want to try and get it out. Everyone knows Iron Man 3 is coming out.
You want to try and get it out. Me just boring myself with the sound of my own voice is not going to make that much difference to the billions upon billions of people that will see it.
Rebecca Hall says working on Iron Man 3 was “fun?!” We gotta see that!
[Laughs] News flash. Front page story. Well, look it always helps, I’m not knocking it, but I suppose when you think about it, it’s not really that much different. But the premiere stuff is different. There’s the moment when you see the sheer amount of people…
Who have been waiting for this.
Who have been waiting for this, it means so much to them, are so excited by it. That is really overwhelming.
Yeah, it genuinely is. You know that it’s Iron Man. You know that it’s Marvel, the most popular films in the world basically, but until you actually see it… There’s something quite moving about that actually. I’m being honest.
It’s alright. You can be moved.
[Laughs] It is moving. People really care about them. That’s great.
Did you really care about them? Were you a fan of these before Iron Man 3 came about?
I wouldn’t say I really, deeply cared…
You didn’t grow up reading comics.
No. I read Asterix and Obelix, does that count?
That does count. That comic book is awesome.
I love them. They’re great. Really smart and funny. Weird cultural stereotype jokes.
A lot of it didn’t translate very well over here.
I’m sure. [Laughs] No, but I wasn’t… I’m not a fan [of Iron Man], but I was impressed with the first Iron Man film, and getting quite genuinely excited about it, just because I thought, “They haven’t cast action heroes. They’ve cast actors that I’m interested in seeing do anything.”
And now they’ve got Rebecca Hall. Same deal.
I hope so, I don’t know.
I think so. I remember hearing you were being cast and going, “Awesome.” But I remember thinking when I heard you were cast as Maya Hansen, that if I was an actor – a big enough actor that I would get a good role in a superhero movie for Marvel – and they said, “Hey, you wanna play Maya Hansen?” I’d say, “No, I want to hold out for someone who’s going to get their own movie.”
You ever feel anything like that? Because Maya’s probably not going to be in another one after this, but I imagine you may not come back…
“This is the one I get to do.”
Is that comfortable? One and you’re out, that’s happy?
You know, doing one of these films in the first place was sort of anathema to me. The idea that I could carry a whole weight of some sort of separate Marvel franchise is sort of beyond…
Does it not appeal?
It’s not that it doesn’t appeal. I think that if the part was right it appeals enormously, I’d find it great fun. Are you kidding? But I suppose I thought I want to dip my toe in in a way where I don’t have a huge responsibility to make it sink or swim.
It’s your first date. You don’t want to get married yet.
[Laughs] Sort of a first date situation, exactly.