Bridges linked to 'Iron Man'

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Jeff Bridges has joined the cast of "Iron Man," the first feature film to be produced independently by Marvel Entertainment. Jon Favreau is directing the movie, which Paramount Pictures will distribute.

Robert Downey Jr. stars as armor-clad superhero Iron Man and his alter ego, billionaire industrialist Tony Stark. Bridges will portray a confidant and close business associate of Stark, a longtime employee at defense contractor Stark Industries who plays a major role in shaping Stark's life.

"We've been talking to Jeff for long time," Marvel's president of production Kevin Feige said. "He's excited about doing a movie like this, and we're excited to have him in this particular role. There are many facets to this character which I can't discuss, but looking at the spectrum of all of Jeff's roles, this fits in nicely with the man who played 'Starman,' 'Tucker,' 'Big Lebowski' with a little bit 'Tron' thrown in.

"This rounds out our ensemble, and I think it's one of the strongest casts ever assembled for one of our films."

Bridges' boarding marks the fourth Academy Award-recognized actor signed on for the "Iron Man" cast, which in addition to Oscar nominee Downey includes nominee Terrence Howard and Oscar winner Gwyneth Paltrow. Bridges, a four-time Oscar nominee, will be seen in "A Dog Year" and has a voice role in the animated film "Surf's Up."

Filming on "Iron Man" is scheduled to begin in March in Los Angeles with a planned release date of May 2, 2008.

The movie is being produced by Avi Arad and Feige. Executive producers are Ari Arad, Peter Billingsley, Louis D'Esposito, Favreau and Michael Helfant. Bridges' deal was negotiated by UTA. He is now repped by CAA.
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