When the first Iron Man movie was in production, Terrence Howard talked about a three-picture arc for his character, James "Rhodey" Rhodes. The film even set up Rhodey's War Machine action in the sequel, when he looked longingly at the Mark II suit and said, "Next time." Then, in October, Marvel announced that Don Cheadle would be filling in the role Howard originated in the sequel.
In the time since that surprising casting news, Marvel has reportedly had troubled in casting negotiations with Samuel L. Jackson (as Nick Fury) and Mickey Rourke (as Whiplash) and has had to replace Emily Blunt with Scarlett Johansson (as Black Widow). Now, with Iron Man 2 going into production without him, Howard spoke frankly about Marvel's decision.
Howard spoke with a group of reporters on Saturday in Beverly Hills, Calif., where he was promoting the action drama Fighting. The following Q&A features edited excerpts of that interview.
We were really looking forward to you continuing in Iron Man 2 and 3. What happened?
Howard: Iron Man happened with that. Marvel happened with it. They made a choice. They made a very, very bad choice. They didn't keep their word. They didn't honor our contract. They sent everyone out into a field and told them to work and produce a great bounty. You produce a great bounty, and then when it's all in the storehouse, you are not allowed into the storehouse.
Does that have anything to do with what went on with Samuel L. Jackson and Nick Fury?
Howard: They did the same thing with Gwyneth [Paltrow], from what I've been told. They did it with almost everyone, I think, except Downey throughout the thing. One of the things that actors need to learn to do is take a tip from Friends [whose cast members all held out for higher pay]. You always choose to stick together. One for all and all for one. Our Gang, you know? Let Spanky be our rule.
Does that teach you a lesson about Hollywood politics?
Howard: Yeah, make sure your Ts are crossed twice.
Aren't you dangerous to them now, since you know the plans for the trilogy?
Howard: Nah, when someone does something wrong, you don't have to get them back. Everything right will return the favor for you.
Will you be eagerly awaiting Iron Man 2 in theaters?
Howard: Yeah, I'm definitely looking forward to it. I want to see what happens with that. I want to see Don Cheadle become me. I want him to do better than me. That's what I really want to see. I think he can. Don Cheadle is the reason I got on Crash. He was one of the producers on Crash, and he called and got me in there. So it's like Don is good by me, anything he does. He's given me the greatest gift I could ever imagine having. Don gave me that, so anything I have, I'll share with him.