'I'm very stimulated by my website' ; INTERVIEW Gwyneth PaltrowReprising her role as Pepper Potts in Iron Man 3, Gwyneth Paltrow talks to Susan Griffin about getting older, her growing empire and why she considers co-star Robert Downey Jr a wimp
GWYNETH Paltrow was recently hailed most hated celebrity in Hollywood, beating the likes of Anne Hathaway and Kristen Stewart.
The accolade, if you can call it that, does seem a little harsh given that (bar the tearful Oscar acceptance speech way back in 1999) the girl has done nothing to warrant such animosity.
Perhaps it's her predisposition to do annoyingly well at anything she turns her hand to.
There are the indie films (Sliding Doors, The Royal Tenenbaums, Sylvia), the singing (Glee, Country Strong), the lifestyle website Goop and subsequent cook books and the news that she's set to star opposite Antonio Banderas in the Spanish film 33 Dias. She is of course fluent.
All this and she still manages to boast a gym-honed body and the picture-perfect family in the shape of Coldplay's Chris Martin and their two children Apple, eight, and seven-year-old Moses. In this third Iron Man film, she's back as Pepper Potts opposite Robert Downey Jr's billionaire-inventorsuperhero Tony Stark. She hadn't even heard of Marvel's Iron Man until the actor Jon Favreau approached her with the idea in 2007.
This is the first movie that's technically a sequel to two films (Iron Man 2 and The Avengers Assemble) and places Iron Man and Pepper, who's now his live-in girlfriend and the CEO of Stark Enterprises, opposite super-powered humans. Robert definitely keeps you on your toes, she says, before jokingly berating her co-star for moaning about the Iron Man costume.
Robert used to complain about it all the time but let me just tell you he is a wuss because it's very easy to wear, says the actress, who also dons the iconic suit this time round. I really liked being in it.
It felt very superhero-ish, very strong, she laughs.
Iron Man 3 boasts a stellar cast including Sir Ben Kingsley and Guy Pearce, eye-popping action sequences and brilliant special effects.
The daughter of the late producer Bruce Paltrow and actress Blythe Danner, Paltrow was 19 when she made her screen debut with John Travolta in Shout. But Se7en four years later, and her relationship with Brad Pitt, made her a star.
While she and Martin are notoriously private, her celebrity was key to the 2008 launch of Goop, a website to share all of life's positives.
I was really just doing it for fun and to share information. I really didn't know that it would end up having so many subscribers and such a big audience, says Paltrow, who isn't tempted to give up acting to focus on business.
I really like the balance I have now in finding one really interesting film a year to do around the family schedule, she says. I don't think I'd ever want to give up acting to only do business but I'm very stimulated by my website.
I'm really happy at home, so I've got to find things where I'm really going to learn something or push myself to the edge of my capabilities. Iron Man 3 is released on Thursday, April 25 Iron Man blasts back to his best Iron Man 3 NOW there's a hint of sunshine in our lives, we can actually contemplate the arrival of summer and in the cinematic terms that means the blockbusters are coming.
One of the early ones out of the block is Iron Man 3 in which Robert Downey Jr returns as the billionaire-inventor-superhero Tony Stark, aka Iron Man.
Directed and co-written by Shane Black, the man behind the Lethal Weapon movies and a pioneer of the action genre, it's a real romp of a movie (after the arduous Iron Man 2). The film-makers have gone for a back-to-basics feel in which Stark is forced to find a way back to being a superhero when all his money and toys are stripped away.
Technically it's a sequel to two films, Iron Man 2 and last summer's The Avengers.
Stark hasn't coped so well in the aftermath of these events (this is a person who previously thought he was the most powerful man in the world) and we find him a nervy insomniac prone to panic attacks.
He does at least have his former assistant-turned-CEO Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) to soothe him as the pair have moved in together.
It's not long, though, before their domestic bliss is thwarted by a two-pronged attack - the arrival of biologically advanced super- powered humans and the mysterious figurehead of a terror group known as The Mandarin.
The special effects are faultless and deserve to be seen in 3D, while Iron Man's suit, which appears like swarm of bees and attaches itself piece by piece to Stark, adds extra interest. But the thrills and spills are never to the detriment of the story and script, which feel sharp and fresh.
Downey Jr gives an entertainingly jittery performance as a superhero on the edge, while his jaded one-liners raise a laugh.
In any other film, Stark's relationship with the young boy who discovers him recuperating in his shed would be played for schmaltz - but not here.
Instead, Downey Jr delivers acerbic lines to great comic effect.
While Guy Pearce as the founder of a brain-trust organisation, Don Cheadle as Stark's ally and Rebecca Hall as his former lover all put in charismatic performances (though it has to be said the latter feels underused,) a special mention has to go to Sir Ben Kingsley as The Mandarin and a turn of events that feels truly inspired.
Fun for both fans and newbies, the movie may be a lengthy 131 minutes but it doesn't feel like it - a bonus as you won't want to leave your seat before you've seen the end-of-credits surprise.
Susan Griffin Verdict .... Forget the incoherent second movie - this is the Iron Man you want to see Director Shane Black Starring Robert Downey Jr, Sir Ben Kingsley, Gwyneth Paltrow, Guy Pearce, Don Cheadle, Jon Favreau, Rebecca Hall Certificate 15 Contains Moderate violence, threat and language Duration 131 mins
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