Details on How Terrence Howard Lost His Role in Iron Man 2
One of the biggest behind-the-scenes gossip stories still being talked about in Hollywood is Marvel's decision to dump Terrence Howard for Don Cheadle as Col. James Rhodes in Iron Man 2 (and beyond). Following the announcement, we ran a quote from Howard, who claimed that "it was the surprise of a lifetime." No on really knows the real story (or, at least, won't speak publicly about it), but Nicole Sperling from Entertainment Weekly has uncovered some interesting details and tries to explain exactly what happened. While I haven't lost any respect for Howard, I'm still not sure Cheadle will be able to fill in or do a better job than Howard, who seemed like the perfect choice for the role of Rhodey.
So the story begins way back during pre-production on Iron Man, where Howard was apparently the first to sign on to the film, making him (somehow) the highest paid actor - even above Robert Downey Jr. Sources later blame "Howard's difficult behavior on the set" and say that "Jon Favreau and his producers were ultimately unhappy with Howard's performance, and spent a lot of time cutting and reshooting his scenes." They must have done a great job, because he seemed like a perfect fit in the final cut. This less-than-satisfactory experience on the first film, which was an amalgamation of Howard being difficult and overly expensive, resulted in Favreau and the producers making a lot of changes for Iron Man 2.
Apparently Favreau and screenwriter Justin Theroux decided to minimize Rhodey's story in the sequel. Subsequently, Marvel tried to go back to Howard with a "drastically reduced offer," because of the smaller role and aforementioned experience on the first movie. It was such a drastic reduction, "estimated at somewhere between a 50 and 80 percent pay cut," that his agents obviously flipped out and questioned the offer. Given Marvel (and Hollywood in general) are frisky, penny-pinching bastards, they decided to go back to Don Cheadle and sign him on before it was too late. Which somewhat clarifies why it was a surprise to Howard - it seems like they didn't even finish negotiations before they signed on Cheadle.
I'm not going to jump on the bandwagon and say Howard is a greedy bastard, because I still really like the guy and I wasn't there personally observing all of this. I am just reporting the news from Entertainment Weekly, but will admit that it's a rather interesting story to hear. Now it's time to move on and hold our breath as we wait to see whether Cheadle will do a good job or not. I'm also curious to see how much of Rhodey's story is actually cut from the script; and whether they decided to add it back in once they knew Cheadle (who is at least as competent as Howard) would be taking over. I'm not alone in my desire to see War Machine take flight - let's hope Favreau and Theroux decided to keep him in there afterall.