Terrence Howard addresses 'Iron Man 2' personnel switch

Terrencehowardironman_lIn a new NPR radio interview, Terrence Howard for the first time publicly addresses last week’s news that Don Cheadle will be replacing him as Jim Rhodes in Iron Man 2. The actor, who spent much of the candid interview discussing his personal life and his first album, Shine Through It, indicated that he learned about the Iron Man move by reading it in the trades and called it "the surprise of a lifetime."

Though last week’s reports hint that Howard was dumped because he wanted too much money for the sequel, in the NPR interview the actor-singer gives the impression that he and Marvel had already come to an agreement on salary and that the producers reneged on the deal. "I read something in the trades that implicated it was about money or something, but apparently the contracts that we write and sign aren’t worth the paper that they’re printed on sometimes," he told host Scott Simon.

Given that the public is already up-in-arms over the prospect of seeing Rhodey played by a different actor in Iron Man 2, the fact that the Oscar-nominated Howard went on the radio, basically called Marvel a bunch of liars, and then, with an overwhelming sense of "peacefulness," as he puts it, simply chalked the whole thing up to, "Like a lot of Americans, I lost my 401(k), basically," it’s probably time for Marvel to explain themselves before they do any more damage to the pre-release buzz for their 2010 tentpole. Hard to imagine the sequel does anything other than gangbusters when it does open, but whatever they can do to take the sting out of the fact that there won’t actually be a "next time" for Howard as Rhodey would be a smart move.

What do you think, PopWatchers? Did Howard get screwed, or is this simply the way business is done in Hollywood (or both)? Anyone hear a decent explanation of exactly why they made the switch? Anyone psyched to see Cheadle fill Howard’s shoes?

More on Iron Man 2:
Iron Man 2: Cheadle in, Howard out
Comic-Con 2008: What’s next for the Iron Man franchise
Director Jon Favreau talks about Iron Man‘s success and the sequel plans
PopWatch: How soon do you want another Iron Man movie?
Release dates for Iron Man 2 and other upcoming Marvel movies
Hollywood Insider: Justin Theroux to write Iron Man 2
First Look: Robert Downey Jr. in an extra from the Iron Man DVD


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  • jonashpdx

    Hated Howard in IM — thought he was easily the worst part of the movie, way too laid back and just uninteresting. Can’t wait to see what the great Don Cheadle does with the War Machine action.

    • ador alphonso moore

      T.howard is a great actor gonna miss him in the role but don cheadle is a very seasoned actor with his best yet to come and he is an amazing gift to the SAG.

  • Hope

    Although I like Don Cheadle, I can’t see him as Rhodes. It doesn’t make sense. I was very hesitant about Howard as Rhodes as well but I was pleasantly surprised with him. I’m just not sure anymore.

    • ab1racer

      I agree with Hope in that Don Cheadle is an amazing actor, but I feel the War Machine needs to be young, vibrant, and kind of unpredictable. Cheadle seems to play more “experienced” roles. Although Howard did seem too uninterested in IM, so hopefully Cheadle does at least better than him.

  • Steve

    I’m not happy in the least that they’ve replaced Howard with Cheadle. I like Don Cheadle just fine, but he’s not right for Rhodey. They should have kept Howard. And I doubt that any explanation from Marvel as to why they made the switch will make me sympathetic to their case.

  • Ceballos

    Hearing Howard’s side of the story, it certainly sounds like he got screwed. If Marvel did, in fact, renege on a contract, then I believe they’d have some ‘splaining to do.
    Personally, I’m not a fan of changing actors or actresses from one franchise film to another at all. I mean, all of us have eyes, and (barring a death) it’s distracting to see a different person playing a character that a previous actor had established, while the rest of the cast is the same.
    Then again, when I asked my girlfriend (who saw and really liked Iron Man) what she thought of the Howard/Cheadle switch, her reaction was: “Terrence Howard was in ‘Iron Man?'”
    That pretty much sums up how I feel about it: I don’t like when actors are replaced for sequels (unless they get a new Lois Lane), but, in my opinion, Howard didn’t make enough of an impression to really be missed.

  • John W

    I think the only folks who are getting screwed are the fans who wanted Howard to reprise the role. By the way the does Howard have a copy of the contract he said he signed?

  • tonyro

    i think it’s only a matter of time before marvel drops cheadle and takes howard back….i think they’re already realizing their mistake

  • cj

    this was so not cool. i was so excited to see terence howard in the next film. i love don cheadle but not as an action hero. not now. not in 2010. not ever.

  • harley quinn

    Maybe they should let RDJ play both roles. (Ha ha, little Tropic Thunder reference.) ANyway, I thought Howard and RDJ had great chemistry, and a replacement would be jarring. Did they want Cheadle for the first film and couldn’t get him at the time or something? Also, doesn’t TH’s character get his own suit eventually and become War Machine? I can’t picture Cheadle pulling that off.

    • drake

      Hehe. Yes, I wanted Howard back in 2. But I’m with RDJ playing both roles. Hehe, awesome man. Or maybe Chris rock or maybe Tracy Morgan

  • ccross01

    Call me crazy, but considering there was absolutely nothing wrong with Howard’s performance (he was a stellar Rhoadie) and he honored his contract negotiations, he was definitely entitled to more money for Iron Man 2 considering the role would be larger and more physical as War Machine. For Marvel–who’re supposed to be more responsible now they’re not affiliated with a major studio–to drop him in such a way is heinous and, unfornately, typical of the breed. It’s unprofessional and unmitigated.

  • John

    Until I hear otherwise I will side with Howard over Marvel on this one. They didn’t sign up Jon Favreau right away so they have a track record. The man was going to have a bigger role in the next film so he should have gotten more money. No issues with Cheadle but now when I watch the first movie the “Next time” line will ring hollow.

  • Iron Fan

    I wasn’t exactly blown away by Howard’s performance in Iron Man, but if it went down how he says it did, that is some serious bulls—. Plus, you don’t just change actors between movies just to do it. Howard wasn’t Katie Holmes-level awful. Cheadle isn’t some obvious improvement in quality such that trading up for him is a no brainer.
    It just seems like a dumb move to me. But then again, Marvel remade/rebooted a franchise less than 5 years after their (wildly underappreciated) original take. Dumb moves seem to be par for the course.

  • Limey

    Didn’t find Howard stood out at all in IM, he won’t be missed. Seriously, any actor could play it the same way Howard did. Like Howard but in this role he seemed half asleep to me.

  • iron man fan

    I hope they take Howard back. I was looking forward to watching him play War Machine.

  • slammy

    Uh…who cares?

  • TheTimeBandit

    I think it is a shame. I can’t stand it when they change actors. Terrance Howard is a great talent. Irom Man gave a chance to build Howard’s character Jim Rhodes. I don’t think Cheadle can carry the role like Howard did.

    • alex mckeithen

      Iron Man was great due in large part to Howard’s chemistry with RD (Tony). The sequel suffered hugely without him and wasn’t nearly as good as IM1 – don’t mess with success. Sounds like Favreau was the real problem in dropping the ball by underestimating the intangibles Terrence brought to the film.

      • Trish

        i had heard nothing of Howard being replaced before I saw IM2. My first reaction to seeing Cheadle was WT?? But I quickly got over it and overall I loved Don as Rhodie. I liked the sequel better than the 1st.

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