Iron Man Who's Who?

Ages 38, 34, 42, 57

Holy, moly, people, why not them? A single movie that gathers four fo Hollywood's finest actors, who among them have collected seven Oscar nominations - we're already waiting in line. The ocassion for this titanic team-up is one of those big fat Hollywood superhero movies, albeit one that promises to pulse with inttelligence and sophistication worthy of its tony cast.

The Main Man

Directed by actor-turned Jon Favreau - and due in theaters next May - Iron Man boasts a main character who's a far cry from the usual Marvel Comics mutant teenager or irradiated geek. He's Tony Stark, a playboy billionaire weapons manufacturer who becomes a born-again-do-gooder in high-tech duds after a brush with death forces him to reevalutate his life. The adultness of the hero is what engaged Favreau. "I just turned 40 years old," says the Elf director, "It's nice to be able to deal with a character - and cast members - with whom I can see eye to eye, as opposed to an adolescent fantasy."

Who's Who?

Bridges is Stark's mentor, Obadiah Stane, Paltrow is Pepper Potts, Stark's loyal secretary. And Howard is Jim Rhodes, Stark's right-hand man (who in future movies might just don some armor himself). But Downey is the mand behind the mask - and having a blast. "I'm on Planet Iron Man," he says, "And, with all due respect to Earth, it's the greatest."

Back From the Brink

For Downey, who says he lobbied hard for the part, Iron Man completis his remarkable comeback from personal and professional near-oblivion. "I'm not as prone to sel-centered reckless abandon as I used to be," says the actor. "Part of it is about rolling with the right crew. And I'm certainly rolling with a good one right now."

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