Iron Man 2 - Gwyneth Paltrow
Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) © Marvel

In Iron Man 2, Gwyneth Paltrow returns to her role as Virginia ‘Pepper’ Potts, industrialist Tony Stark’s (Robert Downey Jr) trustworthy and indispensable executive assistant. Their attraction to each other is undeniable, but when Tony promotes her to CEO of Stark Industries, she begins to suspect that all is not well with her eccentric boss aka Iron Man.

Initially, what was it about Iron Man that interested you?

Iron Man 2 - Gwyneth Paltrow and Robert Downey Jr
Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) and Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr) © Marvel

The reason I decided to do the first movie was because I always wanted to work with Robert and I love Jon Favreau.

People initially questioned why I would be in a comic book film, but I thought it felt really natural and it was a great experience and so much fun.

I was thrilled with the way it turned out, but I was a little taken aback by how big the film became. I don’t normally do big action films, so it was really exciting the way fans responded to the film all over the world.

What is the relationship between Pepper and Tony in the sequel?

When the movie starts, Pepper and Tony are very much in their same vibe and dynamic. They have a great banter and good chemistry, but he is still her boss.

As the movie progresses, Pepper is actually given more responsibility and promoted to CEO of Stark Industries, so it’s nice to see her grow in that way I think her new position really fits her well because she has been running the day-to-day business at the company for a long time.

She’s a good girl and a very grounded person, which is why she is able to handle all of the curveballs that Tony is constantly throwing her way.

Do you have an interior monologue for Pepper, or ideas beyond the dialogue, to justify her being so supportive of Tony?

Iron Man 2 - Gwyneth Paltrow and Robert Downey Jr
Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) and Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr) © Marvel

The inner monologue of Pepper is that she’s trying to hold it all together. She tries not to be reactive and she tries to steer him in the right direction, like the great woman behind the man. I think that’s what runs through her mind.

Scarlett Johansson has joined the cast as Natalie/Black Widow. What does her addition to the franchise bring?

It’s great having another female character in the film because it adds a whole other layer in terms of Tony and Pepper.

There’s always something that gets in the way and keeps them from getting together romantically and Natalie is this young, gorgeous bombshell who immediately catches Tony’s eye and throws Pepper off her course.

It makes it really fun to play and we’re very fortunate to have Scarlett in the film because she’s a really great actress.

What advice can you give to people wanting to look as good as you do?

Iron Man 2 - Gwyneth Paltrow
Gwyneth Paltrow at the Los Angeles premiere © WireImage/Paramount

Actually, not this coming week, but next week, the Goop newsletter (Gwyneth’s website will be about my Iron Man training regimen and how I lost weight and got in shape to play this part, and you can check that out.

Your character is suave and smart in this film. You’re not just a sex symbol. Was that the appeal?

I think it’s actually a very smart decision to have women who are capable and intelligent because it appeals to women. It’s not only a film for 15-year-old boys.

It’s a film that can relate to a lot of people, on a lot of levels, and a lot of my girlfriends like it because of the romance.

It doesn’t look gratuitous. It looks like there are interesting women in the movie.

My character is quick and articulate, so when you take your kid, if you’re a mom, it’s really fun for you to watch as well.

It’s nice to see women who are aspirational, smart and sexy, all at the same time.

Judy Sloane

Judy is Film Review Online's regular Los Angeles based reporter.