Sneak a peek at the new robo-suit that will turn Robert Downey Jr. into a comic-book legend in the May 2008 movie

By Jeff Jensen
Updated May 03, 2007 at 04:00 AM EDT

Iron Man is the latest Marvel Comics superhero to jump from splash page to big screen. (The film is due May 2008.) Director Jon Favreau (Elf ) began shooting in March with star Robert Downey Jr. — in his first comic-book role — as the man inside the cybernetic Mark III suit (pictured) and Gwyneth Paltrow as his trusted assistant. In the film, Downey plays Tony Stark, a playboy industrialist who decides to don high-tech armor to fight baddies after suffering a life-threatening heart injury in war-torn Afghanistan. ”This is a decidedly adult superhero story,” says Favreau. (Fanboy FYI: Look for Stark’s legendary drinking problem to pop up in possible sequels.)

Faithful to the comics and constructed by Oscar-winning F/X maestro Stan Winston, the Iron Man togs — a far cry from Stark’s normal black-tie attire — are robo-cool but make for restrictive, sweaty duds. ”Robert was very bullish on wearing the suit whenever possible,” says Favreau of his star, who bulked up for the role. ”Now I don’t know if he’s such a fan of that idea.”