Jeff Bridges on IRON MAN: “They had no script, man.”

Jeff Bridges in Iron has a very long and interesting interview with Jeff Bridges that spans his career. Of interest here are his memories of Iron Man, which was not only a box office behemoth, but a critical success.

It sounds like we're all quite lucky that the film turned out the way it did! Some quotes:

They had no script, man! They had an outline. We would show up for big scenes every day and we wouldn’t know what we were going to say. We would have to go into our trailer and work on this scene and call up writers on the phone, ‘You got any ideas?’ Meanwhile the crew is tapping their foot on the stage waiting for us to come on.


You’ve got the suits from Marvel in the trailer with us saying, ‘No, you wouldn’t say that. You would think with a $200 million movie you’d have the shit together, but it was just the opposite. And the reason for that is because they get ahead of themselves. They have a release date before the script, ‘Oh, we’ll have the script before that time,’ and they don’t have their shit together.

Welcome to blockbuster driven Hollywood! Just like in comics, you get good product when you put smart and talented people on them. But then eventually happens — in both comics and Hollywood — is that the execs figure they can make more money by hiring cheaper (and generally less talented) people and the whole thing comes crashing down. It's the creative boom and bust cycle.

More in the interview. It's quite good. Check it out.


  1. In fairness, I’ve heard the same thing about ‘Casablanca’. :).

  2. "Nerds everywhere rejoiced on the dicovery that Jeff Bridges is, in fact, the Dude."

  3. "Well that’s just like, you’re opinion, man."

  4. i hear the script to tron was really excellent

  5. Interesting thing to learn about the movie.  Either way it still rocks, and hopefully, this just means that Iron Man 2 will be even better.

  6. While it’s not 100% the norm, this isn’t really surprising either. I forget who, but I just an interview on Jay Leno where some comedy actor admitted to ad libing almost the entirety of his lines in the film because he felt the "1st Draft Pages" they were getting the night before filming were unfunny. I can’t recall the movie either… quick to You Tube!

  7. I saw this article the other day and proceeded to watch the bonus content on the Iron Man Blu-Ray. It definitely shows Bridges, along with RDJ and Fav talking about scenes and dialogue; along with scenes where RDJ just made some stuff up of script (that was used in the film.)

  8. Obadiah Stane treats objects like women, man.

    That makes sense, I’ve heard Favreau over and over saying: "This time I know what I’m doing".  Is bridges trying to rag on the movie?  I can’t tell how he means his comments, is he bitching or bragging? 

  9. I met one of the scriptwriters at a film festival a few years back. I think he had just done Iron Man and was releasing his directorial debut (a little indie thriller) at the festival. Nice guy. Really seemed to like adapting from existing source material (which was odd to me.. I was, like, "really? You don’t feel confined at all?"), so it’s funny know to hear stories like this. I have no idea where this guy came in the queue of writers, though, or what his actual contribution was.

    This story does remind me, though, that my favorite directors are those who really understand story. I think there are many directors who are "visual stylists" — if the script is bad, it’s a good-lookin’ bad movie. If the script is good, it’s a good-lookin’ good movie. On the other hand, there are storytellers out there who will KNOW when the script is bad, and make sure it gets fixed. I may assume too much here, but I’d like to believe that Favreau falls into that latter category. The actual final film for Iron Man was pretty darn good, and I have to assume that he made sure that everything worked, even if words were being typed as the set was being lit.

  10. @muddi900 – haha that’s funny!

  11. Are we all clear that THIS is why we have X-Men 3 and X-Men Origins: Wolverine as finished products? Just fling it at the wall and see what sticks. No plan, just a hard release date and Lauren Shuler Box Office Poison Donner as a producer.

  12. @WilliamKScurry  I don’t know about Box Office Poison.  Those movies made money.  Actually, I have the impression from listening to the commentaries on the first couple XMen movies that they weren’t much different in terms of making things up on the fly.  I could be wrong, but that seems to be the exception rather than the rule for these made-by-committee movies.  It’s gotta suck for the screenwriters, but it seems like actors and directors (and not to slight the writers who are on set) manage to put this kind of thing together, and sometimes it really works. 

  13. Speaking of Box Office Poison, I wish they would make a Box Office Poison movie. Or TV show. 

  14. @Muddi900– your post was spot on, man! You made my day.

  15. I feel like act three could have used a script……

  16. Wow, I really enjoyed the movie and held it in the highest of standards….untill I read this.  Now that I know what REALLY happened behind the scenes (Marvel execs telling Hollywood actors and directors how their characters would act), I just can’t seem to stay in the same room if this hack-of-a-movie is playing at the same time…..

     In all seriousness:  anybody here love art?  Good, good.  Now, how important is it to your enjoyment of said art to know EXACTLY how it was produced?  That’s what I thought.

  17. @ohcaroline: I can’t dispute the cash, for sure, but it seems that Singer and Favreau could hack those working conditions, whereas Ratner and Hood could not. Donner may have a lucrative track record, but her creative judgment is severely flawed. Avi Arad, Laura Ziskin, and Grant Curtis had a much better track record running the Spider Man series.

  18. If it works for Anchorman, it can work for Multi Billion dollar Movies.


  19. Eh, whatever. Iron Man was fuckin’ *awesome*.


  20. Yeah, that’s pretty awesome. Too bad I fear Iron Man 2 wont turn out as well in the end.

  21. @amircat @animalvader1 Well I stole that joke from or slashfilm.

    I don’t remmeber, man.

  22. So they filmed it like Curb Your Enthusiasm them. All improv from an outline?

  23. He acts like it’s a bad thing to only have an outline. It’s not necessarily about that. It’s about the talent of the people making the product. Favreau and Downey Jr. are very talented. Favs has also written several movies. It’s not like this was Ratner.

  24. @rafterman  Yeah, I don’t think it’s a secret that Downey improvved a lot and it’s pretty clear that it helped the movie.  I think the key to making this kind of movie work is to hire talented people who can work in that kind of environment. 

    @William  I’m not a big Shuler-Donner fan either but the movies you’ve mentioned have been reliably successful at the box office.  That’s got nothing to do with quality.

  25. Whatever was done, it worked in Iron Man.  Almost everybody’s consensus around the web is that Robert Downey Jr. is who made that movie a smash.  Not taking anything away from Favreau or Paltrow or Bridges, but Marvel needed an actor like him to carry that flick because of the thoughts some people were thinking of Iron Man as being a ‘2nd-3rd tier super hero’ as compared to behemoths such as Spider-Man and Wolverine.

  26. I see a book in the making…

    "How to Make Movies The Marvel Way "

  27. @ironclad with the exception that Ironman was actually funny.

  28. Ironman is what happens when you meet a stranger in the Alps!!! Regardless of the filming process, the movie turned out great.  Like John Siuntres said in Wordballoon, if it wasn’t for Dark Knight then Ironman would have been the movie of the year.

  29. There’s something fundementally fascinating about a man that’s worked for/with the likes of Warner, Paramount, MGM, and Universal that refers to the guys from Marvel Entertainment as "the suits" given their reputation (at least then) as scrappy underdogs.

  30. Wow. That’s bizarrely similar to the old "Marvel Way" of outline, art, then dialog. Crazy.