Details on How Terrence Howard Lost His Role in Iron Man 2

November 2, 2008
Source: Entertainment Weekly

Iron Man

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.

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Two words......MORE ACTION !

BadKarma on Nov 2, 2008


its gonna be rubbish isnt it??? now you tell me...Iron Man 2 is goona be rubbish or not???

safichan on Nov 2, 2008


Hey Alex, Who has been saying the Howard is a "greedy bastard?" Vic

ScreenRant.com on Nov 2, 2008


Dude are you kidding me?! You think Howard is a better actor than Cheadle?! Dude you really have no idea what a good actor is do you. Cheadle will do a much better job than Howard ever could, because he is a much better actor. He will play Rhodey as a bad ass not a prissy little pampered military boy. BTW I just stumbled across your site. It looks great! But your commentary on everything I have read is the worst movie commentary I have ever read. Its like you have no knowledge of movies or background in them at all.

Donny on Nov 2, 2008


Why are we even talking about this? The role is so trivial and incidental, anyone could have done it. Big deal... The money they save could be spent on a boob job for Paltrow and more, even higher heels if they want some value for it.

Drestin on Nov 2, 2008


I thought Howard was cheesy in Iron Man. I don't really understand your man crush on him in this role.

justin on Nov 2, 2008


@3 No one. This guy likes to talk out of his ass a lot.

Blue Buttons on Nov 2, 2008


@4 Apparently having a website makes him some sort of an "expert." Go figure.

Donlacky on Nov 2, 2008


You guys are idiots. You don't read carefully at all. Alex never said in this article that Howard was better than Cheadle. In fact, he said quite the opposite. Read the last paragraph where he says, 'Cheadle (who is at least as competent as Howard)'. What he said was he wasn't sure if Cheadle would do a better job, because he thinks Howard is well suited for the role. Dumbasses. Use your brains. Five year olds could read this better. @#3 Vic, Alex didn't imply that people were calling Howard a greedy bastard. But that's what the news implies. Either that or he needs to fire his agents. It appears to me that Cheadle is the better choice, though. He has proven himself consistently over the years, while Howard's only major credits are Crash and Hustle and Flow. He obviously has the intelligence to know that the actor who will work for less money will get the role.

JL on Nov 2, 2008


At #7 and #8 you're both jackass's! I don't see you two owning and operating your own website or maybe you do but you're just jealous of Alex and that's why you''re talking crap. Either way do all of the readers a favor and stop leaving asshole comments. Now back to iron man. I think Don Cheadle will play a good James Rhodes and now that i hear Terrance Howard was being difficult on set, when i think about his performance i can see it.

ha1rball on Nov 2, 2008


Can't I have my opinions, too? You guys obviously have yours: "because he is a much better actor", "I thought Howard was cheesy in Iron Man". So what's wrong with me preferring Howard?

Alex Billington on Nov 2, 2008


i'd rather they dropped rhodey from the film than replace howard...

fanboy d on Nov 2, 2008


Cheadle is by far the superior actor, hands down. Cheadle plays whatever character he's supposed to play. Howard always plays Howard. And if a great actor like Cheadle costs less than a decent actor like Howard, guess which one EVERYONE would pick? I would also guess that, by name and fan recognition alone, Cheadle could bring more people to the theaters. Fact is, we all went to see IRON MAN and Downey. Not Bridges; not Paltrow, and not Howard and some vaporware idea of a possible War Machine. Change those three and IRON MAN would have still been a hit.

Feo Amante on Nov 2, 2008


CALM THE FUCK DOWN, fucking prissy little kids. I know some of you may not share the view of the reviewer, but to fucking PERSONALLY flame him? What are you fucking 12yo with a down syndrome and a bad attitude? Grow the fuck up. And I really hope by speaking in these "uncivilized" terms you lot can actually understand me considering you don't know how to properly fucking communicate in a respectful manners at all. NO WHERE in the little news report did the writer take side. If anything he's trying to be impartial and sit on the fence as he "wasn't there personally observing all of this". And he also noted that Cheadle is "at least as competent as Howard" so no fucking point for you there Donny boy, get the fuck back to your room and close the door, your opinion obviously holds absolutely no weight whatsoever. The ONLY impartial view the writer has taken within his post is of the fact that he wants to see the "War Machine take flight". READ THE FUCKING SCRIPTS MORE CAREFULLY NEXT TIME CHUMPS. That only applies to those of you whose command of the English language extends further than "fuck" and "shit". PERSONALLY, I find that it's ridiculous to compare actors, especially those within a similar caliber. I like Cheadle and believe he is a very capable character actor, but at the same time Torrence has been showing some good shit lately as well the dude's got great potential. I'm not a HUGE fan of either but am sure that either of them will do an equally impressive job. But I honestly didn't think Downe Jrs. lived up to all the hype (I only recently saw the movie). He's good, but not GREAT. I enjoyed his character much better in Tropic Thunder, believe it or not, haha.

B. on Nov 2, 2008


@#4 Don't be a jackass, no one said cheadle can't act, he's just not right for this role. For such an action movie role we need a badass dude NOT Cheadle, he's the actor who usually plays the weak whining black victim getting beat up by racists.

adilator on Nov 2, 2008


#4 is right Cheadle is a far superior actor to Howard all he had was one good role in Hustle&Flow and a decent supporting role in Crash which by the way he was a as adilator called a "Whinning black victum" while Cheadle was the cool as a cucumber Police dective so get it right. Plus adilator have you ever seen any of Cheadles movies? Devil in a Blue Dress Don played the scariest sum'bitch you'll ever see and he up staged Denzel Washington in his own movie, know what you talking about homeboy Cheadle will own the role of James Rhodes. So whos the jackass the guy who knows wtf he's talking about or the asshat saying all Cheadle plays is victums? I say you adilator

PimpSlapStick on Nov 2, 2008


mmmmmmmmmmmmmm?????? Where am I? In the imdb forums?

Roderick on Nov 2, 2008


i think im the only guy on earth who does not like the movie at all!!!!

spanx on Nov 2, 2008


@#18 "i think im the only guy on earth who does not like the movie at all!!!!" Yes....you are.

jman571 on Nov 2, 2008


There was obviously more to this story and now we know a little more if it. Right when this news hit people started jumping on Marvel and making Howard out as some kind of victim. In these kinds of cases it's always a two-way street and I'm glad that the truth came out that Marvel wasn't the bad guy here. Howard is known for his bad attitude on set and the fact that he was the highest paid actor on Iron Man was just plain ridiculous. He absolutely deserved a significant pay cut and if he had a problem with that then Marvel had every right to get rid of him, especially considering his bad attitude. And people seem to be forgetting that Cheadle is a flat out superb actoer, an A-lister. He's got FAR more credentials than Howard so he will be great in this role. Sure the change will be a little odd at first since there will be a new dynamic between Tony and Rhodey, but really the pros for Cheadle far outweigh the cons.

Daas on Nov 2, 2008


I really didn't care for Howard's role. It seemed rather one dimensional to me. It sucks when characters change actors, but Cheadle is probably a damn good choice.

Puke on Nov 2, 2008


Both are good actors but I still prefer Howard in the role. I just can't stand Cheadle!!!!!!!!!!!

Blue Silver on Nov 2, 2008


what happens to movies once the original film cast, starts getting replaced and or cut..? I mean look at the recent films that have kept it's original crew and gone successful: Pirates of the Caribbean, Spider-man, and harry Potter (Dumbledore doesn't count because the 1st one died). But once they start switching people out look at what happens: Batman 3 & 4, X-men 3 and even mummy 3. There are pros and cons to each movie, but in retrospective, they were not the most popular of the series...

JL on Nov 2, 2008


I'd rather see another HULK

dac_fan on Nov 2, 2008


@24 I agree

djw on Nov 2, 2008


#16 You dumbass seam to forget that we're talking about a comic book movie, not an artsy pantsy oscar nominated movie so I don't give a f%#k who's the better actor. all I care about is the most fitting for the role and I'd rather not change actor between one movie and its sequel, that's the mark of a shitty production team that can't even manage a bunch of actors and a few pages of contracts.

adilator on Nov 2, 2008


I think that just about everyone went to see this movie because it was Robert Downey Jr. and a superhero movie, but it became a hit because of its excellent ensemble cast and great directing. Rhodey was probably my favorite character in the film and it had a lot to do with Howard's performance. Before I saw the movie opening night I did not know that Howard was in it. It was a wonderful surprise to see him in it because I loved him Hart's War. I feel that Howard is an excellent actor who has been widely overlooked and he was the perfect fit for this role. Don Cheadle is also a great actor, but to me, Terrence Howard stopped being Terrence Howard and became the character of Rhodey. That was really the case for every member of the cast. They became the characters they were portraying. I know that Cheadle can do that as well, but in my mind Terrence Howard is Rhodey and I am far less excited for Iron Man 2 after hearing that he won't be in it.

Jordan on Nov 2, 2008


Cheadle to me just isn't an action guy. I like him for the drama, but as the number 2 good guy next to Downey? I don't think he can pull it off. What was that movie where Cheadle was a rouge spy or something? I laughed through the whole trailer. Nothing personal against the guy, he's just not fit for the role.

Apollo on Nov 2, 2008


First and foremost bottom line and if everybody really stops and thinks about it the best person for the job and would definitely fit that role of rhodes is Michael jai white as war machine bottom line hands down he looks just like the comic book character to a T

armstard singleton jr. James singleton's brother of the mavericks on Nov 2, 2008


I tell who the fuck I'd like to see in this role: Chiwetel Ejiofor that's who. Now HE is an amazing actor who can be both a character actor and an action super hero. Wicked talent.

B. on Nov 2, 2008


Howard is the man. Cheadle, not so much... he may be a good actor but he just doesn't seem like a good choice for Rhodey, not at all.

Colt on Nov 2, 2008


Will Smith all the way baby! Especially if they're trying to get Warhammer his own movie.

CDZ on Nov 3, 2008


War Machine in an Iron Man movie would just be redundant, and Howard's performance wasn't all that fantastic, either.

Nick on Nov 3, 2008


Agree with #13. (though there's nothing wrong with a little Gwynneth thrown in there!!?) 😀 Yeah, Don is far superior to T. Though, T brought a nice performance (if not a bit type cast... somehow?), hopefully Don "on sale" will trump him with spades. In fact, Don's SO GOOD, this once.... JUST THIS ONCE.... I'm going to forgo the obligatory "it's going to suck because the actor's been changed, the continuity is completely ruined and horse shit now." Ideally, they should've filmed a contingency death scene in the first one (since they probably saw this coming from a mile away).

bozoconnors on Nov 3, 2008


More action, thats the way to go. I felt totally ripped of from the first iron man. Basically that movie was Tony stark talking to his robot. there were like three action scenes alone. I want more shit to blow up.

Darrin on Nov 3, 2008


B. #14 couldn't of put it any better, and jman571 #19 great come back on #18, yes he is the only..., #26 well said. Now I read all this and I'm not trying to feud or add on. for peole who haven't read the original Iron Man comic books, go brush up, even tho Don cheadle is a great actor the reason why Howard did so well is because he fit the role of Rhodes. who is a supporting character (just like Howard... who can never seem to take on lead roles and please don't say hustle and flow... waste of money in my opinion) he actually looks like Rhodes from the comic books. War Machine only got his start because of Tony Starks up and down life style, between being an alcoholic and at one point his company taken over by Obadiah Stane (got to love Hollywodd changing heroes origin to fit the big screen). Rhodes/Howard seperated at birth, will always play backup to the lead guy. Well at least i heard Howard music/cd is doing well

Rudy on Nov 3, 2008


Truth be told they could replace Rhodes with a damn puppet for all I care. By the time the movie is playing no one going to even care.

gogirlwonder on Nov 3, 2008


Greed. Career damaging, economy wrecking greed. Seems en vogue these days.

Accusamend on Nov 4, 2008


Don Cheadle it a great actor but he doesn't look the Jim Rhodes type. There are so many other black actors who could have looked better and acted the part for Jim Rhodes. *tsk* Whatever happened to give an unknown actor a break at it?

RSH on Nov 7, 2008


I've said it before and I'll say it again... "continuity" Every time they change an actor just after a single movie in a series it just ruins it for me. When they're thinking of putting these movies together it would be nice if they could put more thought into keeping consistent with the actors that are playing the characters. If they wanted Cheadle they should have started off with him in the first place. I just hope that if Rhodes suits up as WM he actually gets some significant action.

DJ Sid on Nov 9, 2008


Not cheadles movie. Like #41, I ABHOR the fact that they think it's okay to just get "another actor."

j money on Nov 10, 2008


While i hate when actors are changed between flicks(continuity is shot) and while I do like Howard,its tough to call coz Cheadle is a superior actor.The only way to justify the change is if WAR MACHINE gets A LOT of screen time. Whether Howard or Cheadle,War Machine is a character worthy of major screen time.

Cyfer1 on Nov 10, 2008


I stand firmly on the side of the studio. They need to do what's best for the project. Overpriced assets will be the death of a project. It is unfortunate that Howard became "a problem" (I am not even referring to the problem stated in the article only that obviously there was some kind of "problem" or else everyone would be renewing for IM2). But ultimately Favreau has the con. And if Favreau says he can't work with Howard, Howard is out. If said "problem" is really big and affected director Jon Faveau, then Don Cheadle isn't even really in the equation (especially since the reduced re-write means no War Machine). The real issue is if you care about Favreau's "problem", and you protect the project enough to keep Howard away. If I had to choose between Favreau and Howard.. I'd keep Favreau.

SS on Nov 11, 2008


this movie is lame. I liked it the first time, but it has no replay value. all the jokes get boring and the action becomes less impressive each time you watch it. I bet you dragonball and captain america will be better.

mclovin on Nov 12, 2008


Fighting a "50 and 80 percent pay cut" from one movie to another is not being a greedy bastard. Its instead telling Marvel that you're not their cheap whore. I love Marvel to death, but a 50% paycut after such a succesful movie is unthinkable. A 10-30% reduction due to a decrease in his role would have made more sense. and I personally love Howard as an actor. Is he the best? No, but I have enjoyed him whenever he's on screen. I'm just sad to hear he became 'a problem.' oh well.

dave13 on Nov 12, 2008


Personally I think Ironman 2 would have finally been a breakout role for Howard. I'm disappointed that he lost the job to Cheadle, but not because one or the other are better actors. I don't feel like Cheadle fits the role. He will do a great job in the role, as he does in everything he touches. For those who say Howard didn't portray the role of tough guy, you really have to look at the script. With what he had to do for the movie there wasn't really anywhere to show Rhodey as a tough guy. The chance would've been in 2. I will go see the movie in hopes to see War machine, but I know I would have rather seen Howard in the ole than Cheadle. Oh well I just watch the movies they make them!

Dan2tone on Nov 13, 2008


Okay, all of this talk about WAR MACHINE. Is there going to actually BE a War Machine? I've googled and there is nothing about it coming from the studios or anyone else involved with IRON MAN. It's not like BLADE spawned a series of the DC DRACULA movies. All of the years of Batman and Superman movies have yet to spawn anything. Other titles like Green Lantern and Green Arrow (already in the works), and even She-Hulk might come along because they are superheroes in general, but not because they are a direct knock-off of one franchise introducing the other. X-MEN died (thanks Ratner!) and directly spawned the upcoming Wolverine so I know it COULD happen. But it all seems to be a big maybe. So is there anything substantial to all of this War Machine talk?

Feo Amante on Nov 13, 2008


So far, with the shrinking of the James Rhodes character in the movie, there is a very slight chance that the rewrite ended any chance of that. But it's still not know if, once they signed Cheadle, they put the role back to it's original size. But honestly no one knows as of this point. Everybody wants to see War machine, but it ain't lookin' like it's hap'nin! One can hope!

Dan2tone on Nov 13, 2008


Don Cheadle is a far superior actor than Howard. Make no mistakes about it.. There are a lot of movies that has Don Cheadle in it and he did a great job. Very dramatic person though..

Steven on Nov 14, 2008

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