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Rourke Gets Whiplash in ‘Iron Man 2’

In "Iron Man 2", the scarlet and golden-metaled hero must face an adversary with some amazing gadgets of his own.

Whiplash (Mickey Rourke) sports a power pack on his chest that looks similar to the one that Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) uses.

"The technologies are definitely related," says director Jon Favreau. "That's part of the core theme of the film."

The villain's alter ego, Ivan Vanko, is a Russian who "has constructed his own version of a suit," Favreau says. Among the creative innovations: a pair of whips, powered by the suit's glowing chest piece, that are expected to keep Iron Man cracking.

Whiplash "is going to light them up," Rourke quips.

This first image of the character shows Whiplash making an appearance at the Monaco Historic Grand Prix. Favreau as usual is tight-lipped about plot points and declines to discuss whether the big-screen Whiplash is, as in the Marvel Comics, a weapons designer who works for Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell), a competitor of Tony Stark/Iron Man.

"We like to play into and against the expectations that people might have, so we mixed it up a bit," Favreau says.

Rourke's performances in "Sin City" and "The Wrestler" helped convince the director that the actor was the best candidate to face Downey in his sequel to last spring's blockbuster that grossed $318.4 million.

"It was very important that the villain be as compelling as can be. ... Once I thought of Mickey in that role, it made me understand how to shape the story."

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