Actor Don Cheadle has shed new light on his casting as James “Rhodey” Rhodes AKA War Machine in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Speaking to GQ, Cheadle said he was at his kid’s laser-tag party when he got the call and had very limited time to decide whether to sign on for a six-film deal. Cheadle eventually took the deal, replacing Terrence Howard, who played War Machine in the original Iron Man, but the story of how it all came together is pretty incredible.
“I was at my kid’s birthday party,” Cheadle explained (via Variety ). “They called me and said, ‘This is what’s happening, and we’re making you the offer.’ If you don’t say yes, we’ll go to the next person. This is going to happen very quickly. Why don’t you take a class and decide if you want to do it.’ It was a six-film deal! In an hour I have to decide?”
Cheadle explained where he was – in a family social engagement – and couldn’t make a decision right away. So Marvel gave him an extra hour to make up his mind. “So we played laser tag for two hours and I talked to my wife and we thought about it and talked to my agent and tried to get as much information as we could,” he said.
At the time, Cheadle didn’t know exactly what he was signing up for. Marvel reportedly told him the five additional movies after Iron Man 2 would become Avengers movies, and after asking about War Machine’s character arc, Marvel told him, “We don’t know anything about it, but this is what it is… “
Cheadle took the deal the rest is history. As for the original War Machine actor, Howard explained to Andy Cohen in 2013 that he was not returning for Iron Man 2 due to a salary dispute.
“It turns out that the person I helped become Iron Man … when it was time to re-up for the other one, (he) took the money that was supposed to go to me and pushed me out,” Howard said at at the time (via ScreenRant), presumably referring to Robert Downey Jr., who plays Iron Man.
Cheadle will play War Machine again in the upcoming MCU movie Armor Wars, and this time he’s the main character. Speaking to GQ, Cheadle said: “In each successive film, he comes more and more out of Tony’s shadow and becomes his own person. But we still haven’t explored who he is and really dug into that yet. That’s what the film is. to.”
Outside of the MCU, Cheadle is known for his Oscar-nominated performance in Hotel Rwanda, as well as his memorable performance as Basher in the Ocean’s franchise of films.
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