About Features Reviews Community Screenings Archives Home
August 2007
An Interview with Gwyneth Paltrow

An Interview with Gwyneth Paltrow

By Wilson Morales

August 3, 2007
It’s funny that when you think of Gwyneth Paltrow, you think of independent films and the Oscar she won for Best Actress for her role in ‘Shakespeare in Love’. She’s hasn’t really done too many commercial films in her career with the except of ‘Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow’ and ‘Shallow Hal’. It’s almost ten years since she won the Oscar and her life has changed dramatically having had two kids with singer Chris Martin of Coldplay, and with kids in tow, her film outlook has changed as well. Coming up for Paltrow is ‘Iron Man’ in which she will play Virginia ‘Pepper’ Potts, executive secretary to Tony Stark. At San Diego Comic Con, she wowed the crowd with appearance and was happy to speak to blackfilm.com afterwards about her role in the film.

Is it fair to assume this is your most active role yet?

Gwyneth Paltrow: Hmm, yeah probably. I mean, it’s not too… the boys kind of do all of that, but at the end I have a bit of running and freaking out.

What kind of training did you have to do for the role?

Gwyneth Paltrow: I did a lot of training. They wanted me in super good shape and I had just – not just, but I had had the baby a year ago but I still had 15 extra pounds and was eating a lot of cupcakes and French fries. So I worked really hard doing the twice a day workouts and all that.

Everyone is talking about this as a trilogy, so how daunting is that considering you’ve said you kind of want to work less?

Gwyneth Paltrow: It would be great because I love these people so much and they can’t do them all in a row so I’ll have a nice break in-between and I can take everyone to nursery school and then go back to work again in a year.

What attracted you to Pepper Potts?

Gwyneth Paltrow: Well, I got involved first because the cast and John [Favreau]. I love John’s movies and I really love Robert Downey, I always have since I was a teenager. There was a movie he was in, “Back to School” with Rodney Dangerfield and this was the kind of thing my brother and I would rent fifty times. I always loved him and I always wanted to work with him so the group of people was really the main draw for me. Then when I started to understand, when I started to read the comic and understand the dynamic between Pepper and Tony and see how complicated their relationship was, it wasn’t just straight “I’m your assistant” it was very emotional and kind of sexual and kind of fraternal. She plays a lot of roles for him so it’s a good part. It’s a really good part.

Were you worried at all with the possibility of a franchise and that you’d have to commit to more films?

Gwyneth Paltrow: No not really. I sort of bet on the group and I thought, “I bet these guys would be great to work with” and I was right. If not well, I can pay my mortgage.

Looking at this big effects movie that’s being platformed by four people who are either very Indie or outside the norm, which is f*ing awesome, does that suggest anything to you about where things have gone, where mainstream has gone; versus when you started out?

Gwyneth Paltrow: Yeah, the business has changed a lot and people don’t go to movies as much as they used to. I think the demographics have shifted and you can do a brilliant little movie, but as Robert said to me, he called me when I was thinking about doing this and he’s like, “Don’t you want to be in a movie people actually see?” And I was like, “Wow, wouldn’t that be like?” So I think it’s amazing that actors are being put together in this configuration and you don’t feel… because I would have done anything with these guys and the fact that it’s a big budget and they have a real craft service table it was like, “Wow, this is fantastic!” I think it’s exciting to do things where you feel like you’re going to work with people who make you better and it so happens that this is a comic movie that had a big budget.

Did you watch any of the old Iron Man cartoons?

Gwyneth Paltrow: No I’ve never seen those, but I read a lot of the comics and had a whole sort of Pepper Potts file that the Marvel guys gave me excerpts from millions of comics so it was amazing to see her evolution and her changes in hair color and her freckles.

Which period of comics did you like the best?

Gwyneth Paltrow: You know they really seemed like different comics to me. It was funny to see the kind of 60s, when he’s very dashing in smoking jackets and Pepper with her little flip hairstyle and everything, I liked all of them. There wasn’t one… I was just trying to glean what her essence was; I was trying to find a throughline in all of these but it’s funny to see how much the styles change.

How do you make eye contact when your costar is wearing a robot head?

Gwyneth Paltrow: I never really had too much with him in the robot head. He sort of goes out with the robot head and Pepper wipes the blood off his face, stuff like that.

At the risk of repeating a question, the challenge in having all of that material is that it’s condensed when you’re adapting it for a different medium. How much of this are you trying to put your own stamp on and how much is it you trying to fulfill the image of the character?

Gwyneth Paltrow: I feel like my responsibility is to bring Pepper to life, so I wasn’t really concerned so much with how am I going to do it and what am I going to bring, but who is she, what does she want, what is she getting out of this relationship with this guy, why does she stick around, so it’s really trying to understand her and obviously I’m me, so whatever that image, you know, I bring her to life.

What has been your experience with the fans?

Gwyneth Paltrow: It’s been amazing. I had no idea this sort of thing exists, it was crazy, it was really amazing to be in the room when they played the teaser. I’ve never… you know, I felt like my husband.

Do people walk up to you as you’ve been around?

Gwyneth Paltrow: No, I literally landed, I got ready, I came. I haven’t had a chance to walk around.

What genre would you like to tackle next?

Gwyneth Paltrow: I’m open to anything. Maybe they’ll make a movie version of Little Einsteins, then I could really impress my daughter.

What was your reaction to being cast in a movie, where you being cast is instantly judged by such a large fan base. Does that affect you at all, compared to when, “Oh Gwyneth is going to be in this new Indie drama,” this time it’s this large group of people discussing whether you fit the role or not. What was your reaction at that moment or did you even notice?

Gwyneth Paltrow: I try not to read anything about myself on the internet, I think it’s counterproductive. Even if it’s something good about you, I think it’s not natural. I don’t know, I think it fuels your ego in a way, so I just stay away from anything about me but of course I’m aware that there’s this huge group of people…

Because it was a positive reaction…

Gwyneth Paltrow: Oh that’s nice. See, I didn’t even know that. But I feel like my job, especially now, this climate is so immediate and everyone has a voice, which is amazing, but as an artist my job is to just focus on what I’m doing and try and do the best job that I can and hopefully realize it well, in a way that the fans will appreciate. But I try not to be affected by that because I don’t think it’s healthy.


Terms of Use | Privacy Policy