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Why Terrence Howard was jet-booted from IRON MAN 2

Did a bloated paycheck and an unhappy director cost Howard his War Machine?

By Rob M. Worley     November 02, 2008
Source: EW.com


Rhodes (Terrence Howard), Hogan (Director Jon Favreau) and Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) in IRON MAN(2008).
© Paramount Pictures/Marvel Studios

When news broke a few weeks back that actor Terrence Howard had been released from the role of James Rhodes in 'Iron Man 2' and Don Cheadle would replace him, buzz on the internet reached fever pitch. How could Marvel do this? Was Howard the weakest player in an otherwise strong movie? Or was he terrific as the sidekick who would replace the hero?

The most important: What just happened?

Shortly afterwards, Howard chatted with NPR about the situation. While he shared no details, he called the re-casting "the surprise of a lifetime." Although his comments were mild it was clear he felt stung by both Marvel and possibly other members of the film's team.

Now, EW.com offers up an explanation of what may have gone wrong for Howard.

Problem #1: Money. According to EW's report, Howard was paid a huge sum for his realtively small role in the first movie. Their sources suggest Howard was the first actor to board the project, alougth a Variety article from October 2006 refutes this timeline. Allegedly, the rising star was paid more than his supporting role warranted and even more than high-risk leading man Robert Downey Jr.

Problem #2: Sub-par performance. The article goes on to say that director Jon Favreau was not happy with Howard's performance in the first film. According to unnamed sources, Favreau invested some measure of time and effort cutting the movie around these weak points.

Problem #3: We don't need no stinkin' sidekick. Predicated on problem #2, Favreau and 'Iron Man 2' screenwriter Justin Theroux reportedly were trimming the story to minimize Rhodey's involvement in the sequel.

Problem #4: Lets renegotiate! Based on #3, Marvel felt they could not pay Howard his mega-salary to be a bit player in the sequel. They tried to renegotiate Howard's contract to something more in line with what Gwenyth Paltrow and Jeff Bridges made in the first movie. The unnamed insiders claim the offer was somewhere in the ballpark of 50-80% less than what Howard was expecting.

While the story is largely unverified, it does created a plausible chain of events that led to the hiring of Don Cheadle. One wonders if Howard will now fire back publicly to refute this fairly unflattering picture.

Thanks to WarCry for the submission.

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

Showing items 1 - 10 of 27
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lracors 11/2/2008 4:13:02 PM

The casting choice doesn't bother me.  This is the Iron Man series after all.  Rodney shouldn't have a huge part in the film also, I agree that the way Howard portrayed him was the weakest performance in the movie.  Don Cheadle is an excellent actor (has a Golden Globe award to boot).  If anything this will improve the film overall.

Wiseguy 11/2/2008 4:39:29 PM
<P itxtvisited="1">I always thought it was the money. And I do agree with everything mentioned above. He was the weak link. Cheadle is a better choice though not my first choice. Still happy with the direction it's all headed in. It has to sting Howard though to hear point #2</P><BR itxtvisited="1" /> <P itxtvisited="1"> </P>
almostunbiased 11/2/2008 5:03:21 PM

Cheadle is a better actor, and he's just cooler.  Is that a word?

hanso 11/2/2008 5:05:31 PM

Not only was Howard paid more than Downey, but he was paid more than all the other actors as well.  Now that they got rid of him I wonder if they'll expand the Rhodes role a bit more.

twesaak 11/2/2008 5:48:54 PM

It all comes down to money. Now Downey is going to want more money for IM2. And then you have Thor and Captain America coming out, and if those are hits, those actors are going to want more money. I know for a fact that Norton will want a shit load of money for Hulk2 or Avengers.

Again, if they combine all these actors in one movie, the budget is going to be enormous, and then there will go the effects and action sequences.

I cant wait to see what Cheadle can do to Rhodey,  it will be better than Howard.

 

TayDor 11/2/2008 8:25:51 PM

Like I said in the earlier threads, Howard was the wrong person for the role.  He was supposed to be a Lieutenant Colonel in the Air Force (movie version) and he sounded like a whiney baby all the time.  "Whaaa..how come you always leave me hanging.  waaa...we have to be there on time....waaa."  One of the deleted scenes expands his drunken rant to Stark while the Stewardesses are doing stripper dances.  Come on!  Unless he's gay, what military man is going to ignore hot stripper stewardesses so he can slobber/cry/whine to his best bro?

leviathan22 11/3/2008 1:32:02 AM

he sounded a bit gay in the film.

Dazzler 11/3/2008 4:51:40 AM

No problem with me recasting him in the movie.  I can't believe he was the highest paid?  That will change now. 

ponyboy76 11/3/2008 5:35:09 AM

The gay comments were just stupid and you obviously don't get Rhodey`s character, because even in the comic book Rhodey has always been a straight edge type of guy who is all about duty and acting properly. Its because he is a military  man. He is the person that keeps Tony from going too far over the edge even though Tony ends up dragging him there too sometimes.  Howard is a very soft spoken person and I would have expected Rhodey to sound a little more deeper which Cheadle can pull off. I don`t think Cheadle has the physical precense that Rhodey should have but neither did Howard.

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