Going into the junket for Iron Man 3, one of the things I wanted to talk to writer/director Shane Black about is the film’s Christmas setting. Many of the films Black has been involved with have been set during Christmas: Lethal Weapon, The Last Boy Scout, The Long Kiss Goodnight and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. Someone beat me to the punch at the press conference, and as it turns out, setting the movie during Christmas wasn’t even Black’s idea.
Well it just sort of evolved oddly enough in Iron Man 3, because I had resisted it. It was [co-screenwriter] Drew [Pearce] who taught me… I think it’s a sense of if you’re doing something on an interesting scale that involves an entire universe of characters, one way to unite them is to have them all undergo a common experience. There’s something at Christmas that unites everybody and it already sets a stage within the stage, that wherever you are, you’re experiencing this world together. I think that also there’s something just pleasing about it to me. I mean I did LETHAL WEAPON back in ’87 and Joe liked it so much he put Die Hard at Christmas and there was some fun to that. So, look, you don’t have to do every film that way.
Co-screenwriter Drew Pearce added: “If I was going to go see an Iron Man 3 movie, it was going to have to be at Christmas, but there’s always a reason for it as well.” He elaborated,
There’s something about Christmas as well, like when you’re telling a story about taking characters apart, it almost has more resonance if you put it at Christmas and if you’re also telling a story about lonelier characters as well. That loneliness is heightened at Christmas.
Black added: “It’s a time of reckoning for a lot of people, when you take stock of how you got to where you are now and lonely people are lonelier at Christmas and you tend to notice things more acutely, I think.”
Drew: “Plus there was a kind of Christmas coward sense we wanted to bring in for Tony as well, a certain sense…”
Shane Black quickly jumped in, “Meaning “the ghost of Christmas past” in the sense that Harley is kind of him as a young boy, just encountering all these things that come to him almost like a fevered dream when he’s at his lowest point. I think that was the idea as well.”