Cup O' Joe: Mickey Rourke, Super Hero Squad

Welcome back to CUP O' JOE, the online home of Marvel Comics Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada, exclusively at CBR. This is where you can find not only a weekly CUP O' Q&A session with fans, but also near-daily updates with all sorts of material, including new Quesada interviews by the CBR staff, exclusive Quesada sketches in CUP O' DOODLES, polls and more.

In this edition of CUP O'JOE, CBR's Kiel Phegley and Jonah Weiland talk with Joe Quesada about his time on the set of Jon Favreau's "Iron Man 2" as well as his increased involvement with Marvel's animation operations.

Remember, if you have some questions for Joe Quesada, please visit the CUP O' Q&A thread in CBR's Marvel Universe forum. It is from this dedicated thread that CBR's staff will pull questions for our weekly fan-generatd question-and-answer session with Joe, the next of which will be this Friday, right here at the CUP O' JOE mini-site.

Jonah Weiland: Joe, you were Los Angeles last week to visit the set of "Iron Man 2." Did you have a chance to do that during the filming of the first movie?

Joe Quesada: I didn't have a chance to visit the set of the first Iron Man movie. The timing just didn't work out. So it was just great to be out there and watch them do their work. For me, the experience has been incredible. I've been on sets before. I've walked on as a guest to the sets of several motion pictures. And while it's always cool, what was unique about "IM2" was that this was the first time I've walked onto a set where I didn't feel like a stranger or an outsider. This is the company I work for, our characters, our stories. These are my friends, my coworkers making this movie, making art, and as I walk out there, I'm greeted as one of the people who's a part of the making the movie. That is just such an incredible experience.

Sitting down and talking to the director and talking to the actors as a collaborative member of the movie - even just as a minor, minor part of it - is really cool. I'm not walking around craft services feeling like, "Gee, can I take a bagel?" Now I'm like, "We're paying for those mother @#$%*&^ bagels! I'm taking two!"

But that itself is a really unique experience, and knowing that they're filming our characters and characters that we've worked on - at least from my point of view - for the last ten-plus years and doing storylines that reflect the things we've worked on, it's just a great, great feeling. To see it come to life and to see Mickey Rourke becoming the bad guy on screen, watching him interact in a scene with Robert [Downey, Jr.] and Gwyneth [Paltrow] is just an absolute thrill. There were several times when we were watching playback and Robert was sitting next to me. I kept looking over and thinking to myself, not so much that I was sitting next to Robert Downey, Jr., but that I was sitting next to Tony Stark. I know, I know, I'm such a friggin' nerd it's sickening.

Jonah Weiland: Who else was on the set, and what kinds of conversations did you get to have with "Iron Man 2" director Jon Favreau?

Joe Quesada: It was mostly Mickey by the time I got there. Then Downey came out for a bit to do the end of a scene with Mickey before we lost light. I talked to Jon for a bit. I didn't want to bother him because he's intensely into the shoot. Mostly, I spent a lot of time talking to Mickey. Mickey sat down next to me, and we just talked about the movie and Iron Man and Marvel characters and just life in general. He's a very, very cool guy. I found him incredibly warm and engaging.

Jonah Weiland: Director Darren Aronofsky has talked about working with Rourke on "The Wrestler," about his intensity, and that the character he plays in that film is pretty much the way Rourke is. Did you see that same intensity?

Joe Quesada: Yeah. I mean, Mickey's been through ups and downs in his career. He's one of the greatest American actors, I think, ever -- along with Downey. He was so happy to be on the set of "Iron Man 2" because it's a movie where it's almost guaranteed that a lot of people are going to see it. I think during his career, he had movies people were saying were going to be huge hits but turned out to be more cultish, critically acclaimed movies. And they're some of my favorite movies of all time- movies like "Angel Heart" and "Rumble Fish." "Barfly." These are movies that I absolutely worship, but I think from a commercial standpoint they didn't do quite what people wanted them to do. So he seemed really, really happy to be at "Iron Man 2" doing a movie he knew a lot of people were going to see and doing a movie that he looked like he was having fun filming.

Kiel Phegley: Rourke plays Whiplash in "Iron Man 2," but a lot of comics readers are going to recognize him from"Sin City," where he played Frank Miller's Marv. Did you and Rourke get a chance to talk at all about that last comic book film and working with Frank Miller?

Joe Quesada: We really didn't talk about "Sin City" at all. We actually talked a lot about life back in New York and life in Miami. Because I spent time in both places, it seems we had a lot in common on that front. It also turns out that we live fairly close to each other currently in NYC. So we talked a lot about that and a little bit about comic books but mostly about New York and Miami, family and friends. And he did talk a lot about Russia and the fact that he went over there and studied a lot of the Russian prisoners and what they go through to play the part that he's playing. He also mentioned the rigorous training he did to prepare for the physical aspects of his character.

Jonah Weiland: You were also in Los Angeles on a mission involving animation. What's going on?

Joe Quesada: I visited Film Roman and got to see a lot of the work that was being done on "Super Hero Squad." We got to see the entire first episode and we also saw snippets of the "Avengers" cartoon that's being worked as well. I have more of a hand in animation these days than ever before. Actually, that's an understatement, as I never had a hand in animation, so that's a lot of new stuff I'm working on now aside from our comic books.

The "Super Hero Squad" stuff is fantastic. The first episode is just hysterical and action-packed and a lot of fun. It's our heroes in a way you've never seen them before in a cartoon, so I think it's going to be a blast. Because I get the animatics ahead of time, I get a chance to preview them for my eight-year-old, and she just laughs her ass off and loves the characters. The best part of it is that she starts to ask questions about characters she's unfamiliar with, and that's a very cool part of it for me, exposing kids to some of the Marvel characters they might not be 100% familiar with like Iron Man and Spider-Man and Wolverine.

Jonah Weiland: What exactly is your role with animated Marvel projects? Are you giving notes and story ideas? Are you saying, "This just doesn't work?"

Joe Quesada: I'm part of the full creative process with those guys. I read all the scripts that come in, and I'll probably be getting more and more involved with the other shows we'll eventually be producing. But I give notes on style guides and characters and vehicles. You know, all the creative stuff. I have nothing to do with the business side of the animation, it's all about what these shows should look like and much like our movies, making sure the animation has the same feel as our comic books. I think you'll definitely see that in "Super Hero Squad" and when you see "Avengers" I think people will be blown away because it's very, very modern, but still classic in nature.

Have some questions for Joe Quesada? Please visit the CUP O' Q&A thread in CBR's Marvel Universe forum. It is from this dedicated thread that CBR's staff will pull questions for our weekly fan-generatd question-and-answer session with Joe, which will be this Friday.

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