Gwyneth Paltrow reprises her role as Pepper Potts in Iron Man 2, playing the long-suffering assistant to Robert Downey Jr.’s eccentric billionaire, Tony Stark. But this time around, Paltrow isn’t the only woman on the scene, with Scarlett Johansson stepping in as a mysterious new employee at Stark Industries. Despite rumours about catfights on set, Paltrow insists she was glad to have Johansson there with her.

Was it nice having another woman in the film?
I think it’s great for the movie. I really loved having another girl on set, because last time it was such a boy’s club. And I love the fact that she’s, like, a powerful, smart superhero type of girl. When I think of my daughter seeing the movie, I’m so happy that Scarlett has that part. It’s like, finally a girl getting to do something.

Were you jealous that you didn’t get to kick some butt, too?
No, no. I’m too old for that now.

Why do think do you think there were reports of you two not getting along?
I have no idea. One day on set, Scarlett and I were sitting there having a cup of coffee, and Jon Favreau started making jokes, like, “Oo, there’s a reconciliation.” I was like, “What are you talking about?” And he’s like, “Oh, haven’t you see all the tabloids? Apparently you guys are cat-fighting.” The tabloids have to write so much stuff. They’re trying to keep up with blogs, and it’s like everyone needs to write about something, so literally they just invent things. Almost everything I read about myself or hear about myself is invented these days.

Is Robert Downey Jr. a good kisser?
Kissing Robert was like kissing my brother or something, you know? He’s one of my best friends, I’m very close with his wife.

You’ve taken a lot of flack for speaking out about environmental and cosmetic issues. How do you handle that?
To be honest, I really don’t pay too much attention. Of course, if you say something that’s going to cut into somebody’s profits, especially in corporate America, you can expect to be attacked for that.

Speaking of environmental issues, do you try to make your home carbon neutral?
We try. It’s hard. We have some solar power, and we have a wood-burning stove with a back burner that heats hot water. You know, we do what we can, but ... we live in the real world and it’s going to be a slow process to change toward that kind of lifestyle.

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