Aint It Cool News’ scooper turned out to be 100% right. Variety has confirmed this story.

I am wary of running scoops that originate from Aint It Cool News spies. Hoaxing that site seems to be the pastime of a depressingly large number of people, and once you’ve run the “Silver Surfer will be a guy covered in tin foil” story, it’s obvious that checking your sources isn’t a high priority.

So it’s with some trepidation that I report to you that Quint* at AICN is saying that a spy is informing him that Jon Favreau is about to make a big Iron Man casting announcement: the role of Pepper Potts, Tony Stark’s secretary, is going to be played by Gwyneth Paltrow.

Pepper Potts is not one of the all-time great Marvel Comics characters, and she’s pretty much limited, to the best of my knowledge, to Tony Stark’s life as a Business Man and not an Iron Man – but if the rumor is true, it’s a nice indication that the film continues to be a serious and high end piece. It would be easy to end the decent casting with Robert Downey Jr and Terrence Howard, but hiring a real thespian like Gwyneth for a smaller role (where she’d have red hair… I bet she looks good as a redhead) shows commitment to something better than Daredevil. And it probably indicates that there’s a good script floating around for these actors to get interested in.

I wonder if Paltrow’s (possible) casting indicates a larger role for Pepper Potts. In the comics she married Tony’s driver, Happy Hogan (and you thought Superman had all the alliterative names), but maybe she’s a love interest for Mr. Stark here. I’m sure he’s banged her out in some comic at some point in the forty year, convoluted history of the character (for the love of God, he once was evil and then fought himself as a teenager and then died and the teenager went to a pocket universe and became a grown man and came back and…. Just trust me, it’s stupid).

If this is true, expect Variety to run it like it’s their own story tonight or tomorrow.

*I would have no trepidation if Harry, who was working with Jon Favreau on John Carter of Mars, was the one reporting this.