The flagship Phantom was sliced and diced for a scene where Ironman star Robert Downey, playing Tony Stark, is attacked by his Russian rival Ivan Vanko, played by Mickey Rourke. The villain uses high-powered whips to wreak the havoc on the Rolls- Royce, exposing the car's signature alloy spaceframe construction in an unsuccessful attack during what is claimed to be the Monaco historic car race meeting.
It looks like a piece of costly product placement by Rolls-Royce, but the British company says it did not even know its Phantom was being used in Iron Man 2. And it says - unlike a vast number of companies, including Apple and Pepsi - that it does not pay to have its cars placed in major movies.
"No product placement payments were made by Rolls-Royce, nor did Rolls- Royce supply free vehicles for destruction," says Rolls-Royce's spokesman in the USA, Wayne Kung. A matched pair of Phantoms were bought for the movie, starring in the Monaco scenes involving Downey and his co-star Gwyneth Paltrow. One survives but the other came to a grisly end.
"The filming/stunts were done without our knowledge after the production company bought two cars from our dealer," says Nigel Wonnacott of Rolls-Royce in the UK.
Kung takes up the story. "The Rolls-Royce motor cars used in the film were purchased by a representative of the studio through a dealer. These Phantoms are privately owned by the studio, and were used in the film without oversight from Rolls-Royce," he says.
"As always, we have the utmost respect for the privacy of our clients, and I cannot comment further on their purchase."