Terrence Howard on how Iron Man tested him and killed his career

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Mar 18, 2013, 2:40 PM EDT

Remember Terrence Howard's brief brush with Marvel? The Oscar-nominated actor co-starred in 2008's Iron Man, the movie that set us on the path to The Avengers. The film became a huge hit, grossing $585 million worldwide. With success like that, sequels were inevitable, but Howard's involvement wasn't.

The actor didn't reprise the role of James Rhodes in Iron Man 2. He was replaced by Don Cheadle, who also appears in this summer's Iron Man 3. When it came to Howard and Marvel's breakup, money was the rumored cause. Now, years after the fact, the actor's clearing the air.

In a radio interview with Sway in the Morning, Howard pulled no punches on what happened behind the scenes.

"[I was paid] about $4.5 million [for the first film],” said Howard. “The second time, [the studio] said ‘We think the movie will be successful with or without you. So, instead of the $8 million that we said we were gonna pay you, we’re going to let you come back for a million dollars.’ We did a three-picture deal already, [but] I forgot, I didn’t know it wasn’t a mutually binding contract; it was only beneficial for them and they could bring me back or not. They can honor it or not.”

Interestingly enough, Howard was the highest-paid actor in the original Iron Man. At that time, Downey's career was still struggling and the studio wasn't keen on his casting. Director Jon Favreau really had to fight for the actor. It's hard to imagine anyone else as Tony Stark now, but it was an uphill battle.

Howard believes everything happens for a reason. He jokingly told Hollywood.com, "Worst thing I witnessed was Iron Man killing my career." He went on to tell Desde Hollywood (via Nerdreactor) that he chose not to seek revenge on Marvel, which put a damper on future prospects.

"I love the fact that Iron Man put me on a world stage and tested my strength of character. Because I chose not to fight back, not to deal with the allegations, but to continue forward and do what I had to do. I had to start all over: went from making $6 million a movie, back to $60 thousand a movie. But as long as you don’t give up you are able… I’ll make $20 million soon. Because I have learned the lessons of yesterday."

Howard's latest film Dead Man Down is in theaters now.

(via Chud)