Meet The Secret Brain Trust Behind Iron Man

Illustration for article titled Meet The Secret Brain Trust Behind Iron Man

If you liked the Iron Man movie and thought that some of it seemed remarkably true to the comic books, there's a good reason for that... Marvel Comics' writers were secretly involved with the writing of the movie and had to hold their silence until the movie's release. Now that it's a smash hit, beans are being spilled about the movie's "secret brain trust" and phrases like "Braggy McBraggy" are being used.

New Avengers and Secret Invasion writer Brian Michael Bendis was the first to reveal his involvement in the movie:

I totally wrote some of it!!!!

fuck! i've been holding that in for a year!!

last philly show, i get a mysterious late night call from marvel's kevin feige. he drops the scoop on me that sam jackson is coming in to do a cameo the next day but they have no dialogue.

kevin told me a couple of scenarios, something they were thinking of teasing and asked if i could do a solid and shoot some lines at him.

i sent about three pages of stuff. and they picked what worked for them and... ta daa!!

god damn!! that was so cool!

now, for the record, i'm not taking credit for the scene, i didn't think of the scene or get sam jackson to do that. but it was very cool to have a bit in the movie. it just was!!

and now i'm officially allowed to brag!

He went into more detail a couple of days later:

before the iron man movie was set to film but way into active pre production, i, and others, got a super secret call asking if we'd read the iron man script as it existed and come to the set for what is now referred to as the iron man brain trust. we were hand picked by jon f. and kevin f. for our unique takes on the character.

i was there, mark millar, axel, joe, tom and a few others who may or may not want me airing thier biz. we were flown out and brought to the stages which were the howard hughes spruce goose warehouses. (which in itself was awesome)

we were brought through the sets and the armor as they were being built and met the entire staff. all of which was filmed for the dvd. i have no idea if it will make it in. i half hope it doesn't. i wasn't my usual glam self.

we then sat in a big room with the marvel guys and jon f. all day and went through everything. we talked about everything. every inch of it. we looked at the spx houses demo reels audtioning for the job. and yes the best reel got the gig, obviously.

truth told. the script was in pretty damn good shape at this stage. but that wasn't the point. the point to me is a good idea is a good idea and a bad one is a bad one, doesn't matter where it came from. there is a lesson here.

irregardless of my participation... the fact that this brain trust was even created showed such intense respect for the character and it's legacy. a half hour into the meeting i was so happy to be in the room i was going to burst. comic creators not being treated like the second class porn peddlars we used to treated like but actual writers. it was very cool.


Ultimates and Civil War writer Mark Millar had similar memories, plus a quick peek at what we didn't see:

Just got word this is no longer a secret so prepare for some Braggy McBraggy. But as Bendy has written on his board this morning, we can finally talk about one of the coolest things to happen in our careers. Completely out of the blue, when the script was still in the early stages, we got a call from Jon Faverau to fly out to the beginnings of what would be the Iron Man set and do a little script consultancy work...

The brian-trust was all people involved in Iron Man to some extent at the time and hand-picked by Fav. This was me (because ULTIMATE Tony was a big influence on the film), BB, Joe Q, Tom Brevoort, Axel Alonso and Ultimates editor Ralph Macchio. We signed an official secrets thing after reading the script (which I swear I somehow managed not to ever tell anyone about) and got to work on this little baby over a couple of days. It was genuinely thrilling and we not only got a look around the caves which we were being built out there in the California desert, but also got to see some of the early ILM test stuff (a lot of which never made it to the finished movie).

That said, the most exciting part of the trip was rolling up our sleeves and getting into the plot. As Bendy said, Faverau didn't get us out there to just high-five the guy. He wanted us to be brutal and honest and I have to say I almost crossed the line when I talked 'em out of The Mandarin, who was in the original draft, and there was a terrible silence in the room for about ten seconds until Fav agreed and we all got talking about beefing up the Obadiah Stane/ Iron Monger thing (originally planned for the sequel). The whole crew were gracious, very respectful of Marvel East's input and— best part— paid us for our troubles. I've known for about sixteen months how great this movie was going to be and it was so thrilling to see the whole thing come to life up there at the London Premiere last week.

Between this, Millar's Wanted coming out as a movie this June and Bendis' secretive screenwriting gigs, it looks like Hollywood's love affair with comics is only getting started...

I Can't Hold It In Anymore... The Iron Man Epilogue, Part Two... The Iron Man Brain Trust [Jinxworld]
The Secret Iron Man Movie Brain Trust [Millarworld]
(Both via Lying In The Gutters [Comic Book Resources])


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Ed Grabianowski

Wait, hold with comic book writers on the script of a comic book movie?! Get out! What's really sad is that this is a genuinely revolutionary idea in Hollywood.