ALL HAIL THE KING EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW With Writer/Director Drew Pearce
Marvel's latest one-shot is "All Hail the King," which follows Trevor Slattery (a.k.a. The Mandarin) from Iron Man 3 into prison. In this exclusive interview, writer/director Drew Pearce (who co-wrote IM3)reveals how this short came about.
While there are some Iron Man fans who had a number of issues with the third entry in the film series, probably the most polarizing was the approach taken to the character of the Mandarin. This feared terrorist turned out to be a British actor named Trevor Slattery (Sir Ben Kingsley), hired as a "face" for the world by Aldrich Killian. Arrested in the film, many were left to wonder what became of Trevor. Now we know.
"All Hail the King" is a Marvel one-shot that was released on the digital download of Thor: The Dark World on February 4, 2014, and will be a part of the February 25th release of the film on Blu-ray. The short has Kingsley reprising the role of Trevor, who is being interviewed in prison by a documentary filmmaker covering the aftermath of the Mandarin situation. The short is written and directed by Drew Pearce (creator of the British sitcom No Heroics), who wrote a script based on Marvel's Runaways, co-wrote the script for Iron Man 3 with director Shane Black, and is next working with Christopher McQuarrie on Mission: Impossible 5. In this exclusive interview, he discusses all three.
VOICES FROM KRYPTON: How did this short come together and how did you end up directing it?
DREW PEARCE: I'd love to say that Kevin Feige and Louis Esposito spend every day of their life thinking, "What can we get Drew Pearce to direct for Marvel?", but, frankly, it's the other way around. I've worked with the guys on and off for four years, first on Runaways and then on Iron Man 3 and I've been bugging them from the very first time I met them to write and direct one of these shorts. Over the years we've talked about tons of different permutations, lots of different characters, very different worlds to tap into with the shorts. Which is one of the reasons they're so exciting, of course. But then on the first day that Sir Ben was on the set of Iron Man 3, Louis and Kevin and I were eating lunch together, Kevin and I said at almost exactly the same time, "We should do a Trevor Slattery short." I went home and wrote it in my North Carolina hotel room that night.
VOICES FROM KRYPTON: And you shot it during production of Iron Man 3?
DREW PEARCE: No! You know, the best laid plans. Suddenly it didn't happen, we were doing other things, and then out of nowhere last year...I was actually sitting down with the Marvel brain trust to work out what we should do as a one-shot for me to write and direct. It was Joss Whedon who was looking at the white board and the list of things I had up there who said, "Do you think you could actually get Sir Ben to do a Trevor short?" I said, "I don't know. I guess if he ends up liking the script, there's a chance because he likes the character." Joss said, "That's obviously one you should be doing, because you could have Sir Ben Kingsley in a short movie." Luckily Sir Ben loved the script. I'd kept in touch with him since IRON MAN 3, so it came to pass very organically and very quickly. Suddenly Sir Ben had taken three days out of the most hectic seven movie year long schedule that he'd been shooting last year to come and muck around with me in a dis-used women's prison on the east side of Los Angeles.
VOICES FROM KRYPTON: He really seemed to have had a lot of fun doing it.
DREW PEARCE: I think it's really interesting for principally film actors, particularly in someone like Sir Ben, who go to huge lengths and invest tons of thoughts to create a character as risky and indelible as Trevor Slattery, and they never get to revisit them. I think Sir Ben loves being Trevor and so he moved mountains to make sure he was able to do it, for which I am incredibly grateful, of course. And hopefully, I'd like to think he's never been funnier than he is as Trevor Slattery. What's interesting is that Trevor only appears in two scenes in Iron Man 3, it's just Sir Ben's performance casts a huge shadow over the movie. It's brilliant.
VOICES FROM KRYPTON: "Apology" is probably the wrong word, but is this short some sort of reaching out to the fans who were upset in the changes that were made to the character of the Mandarin as he appeared in the comics?
DREW PEARCE: It's weird. The idea for the short was there before any of the kind of storm in a teacup following our Mandarin reveal. What's actually interesting as well is that the evidence of the "real" Mandarin is laid out in all of the Iron Man movies, as well as all the stuff we said around the release of the movie. The 10 Rings are part of Iron Man 1, they make an appearance in deleted scenes in Iron Man 2, and we're very specific about the fact that he's a real guy that exists in the world. In fact, we talked about it a lot when the movie came out. There was always the sense that this term had been co-opted by Killian's think tank. Obviously the events in the short made that even more explicit. The weird thing is I don't have any regrets with what we did with Iron Man and I feel no reason to apologize for it. The short kind of let me join some dots that were already there. But it wasn't the reason we did it. The reason we did it is that we wanted to play with Trevor Slattery some more.
VOICES FROM KRYPTON: But you certainly know what I'm talking about in terms of the response from people, right?
DREW PEARCE: Oh, yes, totally, but I would hate for anyone to think I was apologizing for a twist that I'm deeply proud of. I feel like it would have been dishonest to Iron man 3 if we'd made Trevor the real Mandarin after all and it was a double bluff. I think where the short leads to is a more exciting place and hopefully not one that betrays the intention of Iron man 3.
VOICES FROM KRYPTON: Yeah, it goes to a more exciting place that we're never going to see.
DREW PEARCE: [laughs] Or will we?
VOICES FROM KRYPTON: Well, they certainly haven't said that Downey's been signed for a fourth Iron Man film, just Avengers 2 and 3.
DREW PEARCE: This is true, but who knows how the crazy world of the Marvel Cinematic Universe may unfold? I think there's a never say never sense to every part of the MCU. We'll see. The character that comes back in the tag of the one-shot felt like he would never appear again. I think his appearance in the one-shot reminds people that he's in the universe and how exciting he is. Who knows? Maybe we get to see him as well.
To read what Drew Pearce has to say about Iron Man 3 as well as Mission: Impossible 5, just click on the image below.
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