Behind every great superhero, there’s a great writer, and in the case of Spider-Man, the Hulk, the Fantastic Four and Iron Man, that scribe is Stan Lee. With his trademark dark glasses and grandiose cadence, the former Marvel Comics chairman has become as iconic as the characters he helped create, thanks in part to his amusing movie cameos, like his two-minute turn as a Hugh Hefner wannabe in ‘Iron Man.’
On the occasion of that hit flick’s DVD release, Moviefone chatted with the comic book giant about the ‘Iron Man’ sequel, which stars we can expect to see in 2011’s ‘The Avengers’ and how he felt about one of the few superhero flicks he had nothing to do with.
I certainly hope he is, because he did such a great job with the first one. And of course I hope it will be [shot] in L.A. because then I’ll be able to do another cameo, which is the most important part of the movie. I’m waiting for the Academy to have a special category, Best Cameo of the Year, but they haven’t come up with that yet. [Laughs]
Were you surprised by how well ‘Iron Man’ did?
Not really. I expected it would be good with Jon directing and with Robert Downey Jr. and the rest of the great cast. The character has always been popular. When I was doing it years ago, when it was just a comic book, we got more fan mail from females for Iron Man than we did for any of our other characters. For some reason women seem to really turn on to him. So there really is no reason why the film shouldn’t have been a hit. In fact it should have been a bigger hit! [Laughs]
Did you feel at all overshadowed by ‘The Dark Knight’?
Well, you know what it’s like, when a movie comes out that’s a big hit, and it makes more money than the previous movie, it overshadows it a little. But that’ll give us something to shoot for. We have to make sure that the ‘Iron Man’ sequel does better than ‘The Dark Knight’ sequel.
Both ‘Iron Man’ and ‘The Incredible Hulk’ had cameos from other superheroes in the Marvel universe. Will we be seeing those same actors in the upcoming ‘Avengers’ film?
I would certainly expect to have all the stars back. Downey just has to be Iron Man. And Ed Norton has to be the Hulk. I didn’t think that the first [‘Hulk’] movie was all that bad. But obviously the second one was better and Ed Norton’s performance had a lot to do with it. Like Robert Downey Jr., he’s very believable, he’s very credible. I hope Ed gets a sequel, but they don’t keep me in the loop on these things. I also hope Samuel L. Jackson comes back as Nick Fury … even though I didn’t think David Hasselhoff‘s interpretation was that bad. But I’m probably in the minority on that. I feel the same way about ‘Daredevil.’ I thought that Ben Affleck did a good job. But as for final casting, I’m guessing right along with you. Like Will Rogers always said, “I only know what I read in the papers.” [Laughs]
There was a rumor going around that Will Smith would be cast as Captain America. Any truth to that?
I would love us to do something with Will Smith, but I don’t know that he’s Captain America. That would be a long shot. It would be a real leap to make Captain America black … then again, I don’t know. It might be a really smart thing. If Barack Obama becomes President who knows … suddenly a lot of our characters will be black!