Iron Man 2 Interviews from SDCC: Don Cheadle

Brent Sprecher talks to the cast of Iron Man 2 at the San Diego Comic-Con 2009! In this installment: Don Cheadle!

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By Brent Sprecher - 8/4/2009
One would expect actor Don Cheadle to be one of the more nervous of the cast members of Iron Man 2 to appear at the San Diego Comic-Con to unveil never-before-seen footage, especially considering his addition to the cast came at the expense of popular actor Terrrence Howard. Howard portrayed James "Rhodey" Rhodes in the first Iron Man and was popular among fans, so there was some grumbling in the fan community when Cheadle stepped in to play the role and don the War Machine armor for the first time.

However, Cheadle was anything but nervous during the post-panel roundtable interview session I had the opportunity to participate in. With a big smile on his face and a bounce in his step, Cheadle plunked himself down at our table and dove right into the questioning with much enthusiasm. The natural first question for Cheadle was what his reaction was to the incredible footage of War Machine in full-blazing action shown at the very end of the Iron Man 2 teaser:

"It was pretty incredible. I mean, I hadn't seen any of the footage cut together. I didn't know what to expect. You know you're really out there on a leap of faith because you do your part and they go, 'Okay, this is going to be this,' and they explain it to you, and maybe they show you an animatic, but you don't really know what the end result is going to be. I mean, and even as good as that looked, that's still not the end result. That was rushed together, that's not totally finished, so it's going to be, 'Wow!'"

When asked how he prepared to play Rhodey, Cheadle said:

"I went back and looked at a lot of different--there's so many different iterations of James 'Rhodey' Rhodes in comic books, so it was hard to go, 'Well, I want to be the one in 1982...' It's like, which one am I picking? So...what's the common denominator here? The common denominator was really his friendship with Tony. And, that's what we really tried to track. How is there friendship impacted once Tony comes out and owns 'I am Iron Man' and now I'm in the military and there's a chain-of-command that I have to follow but you're working outside of the military and basically you're a live weapon that can do whatever it wants...that was the strain, that was the tension that was between their relationship that drives the whole movie, for our characters."

Cheadle left off a question abut whether he had any trepidation about having to sign a multi-picture deal in order to secure the Rhodey role:

"Well, what I know is that no matter what you sign, if the movie isn't successful, it doesn't how many movies we decide we were going to do, the public will say, 'We don’t want any more.' So, you want them to be successful and if they are successful, then, good, why wouldn't you want be in any more?"

When discussing the actual process of shooting the film, Cheadle said that working with green screens can be a tedious:

"Oh, it's very time-consuming. It's very time-consuming and very technical and meticulous and that's the part where you really have to trust these other teams of people that come on after you've walked off and handle it."

Apparently, Rhodey never meets Whiplash in the movie. Don said:

"I saw Mickey Rourke one day. I don't have any scenes with Mickey...I don’t think. Unless they drew me into one. "

Of course, that doesn't mean that War Machine and Whiplash don't have any scenes together...

When asked if he felt any pressure to portray Rhodey the way that Howard had played him, Cheadle said:

"Well, a lot of that was figured out before we began shooting. There were no marching orders, like, 'Watch the first movie and make sure that you come in here and you're paying off what Terrance did in the first movie.' It was really, 'You're in character, you're going to do your own thing, we have to find out what works for this movie, and honor this story,' which is a whole new story. That's why I liked how we kind of just dealt with it right up front, first scene, first moment that I was here on screen, say something about it and then just move on. "

I asked Don if his relationship with Terrence had been affected by the drama surrounding the role change and he said:

"No, no, because I didn't take a role from Terrance, you know. It's potentially weird between he and them because, you know, that was their deal. But, by the time I came on, he was already not doing the movie. "

Cheadle said that Howard had been the first one to wish him luck when he got the role and continued saying:

"Terrance has been a friend for a while. I produced Crash and put him in Crash. And, I was his friend before that too, so he knew there was no beef. I didn't snake a part from Terrance. He was cool with me."

When asked if there was any other dream superhero role out there that Don would just love to play, he chose the founder of Buddhism over more obvious choices:

"Siddartha. I mean, that's a crazy answer, but it's true. Comic books, you know, I really liked Swamp Thing. I loved that comic. And, I loved The Dark Knight. I was a fan of that comic book. "

Iron Man 2 also stars Robert Downey Jr., Sam Rockwell, Gwyneth Paltrow, Mickey Rourke and Samuel L. Jackson. There are also rumors that Edward Norton will reprise the role of the Hulk in the film, but Norton has refused to comment.

Iron Man 2 opens May 7, 2010




Click HERE for an interview with Robert "Iron Man" Downey Jr.!







Click HERE for an interview with Sam "Justin Hammer" Rockwell!







Click HERE for an interview with Scarlett "Black Widow" Johansson!







Click HERE for an interview with Iron Man 2 director Jon Favreau
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26 Comments
LEEE777 - 8/4/2009, 5:09 AM
DON you better be good as WAR MACHINE man! ; )

He wasn't bad in CRASH but HOWARD was better! Hopefully he can blow us all a way with WAR MACHINE!!!
bsprecher - 8/4/2009, 5:12 AM
Still up, LEEE, or did you just get up>
HeavenlyDark - 8/4/2009, 5:17 AM
you know what ive been waiting for another black superhero so if he can play war machine let him do it
BLACK POWER!!!!
bsprecher - 8/4/2009, 5:19 AM
@HevenlyDark: Yeah, Don said that he used to look at comics when he was a kid and wonder why there were no characters that looked like him. He's pretty proud of this role, and rightfully so.
LEEE777 - 8/4/2009, 6:07 AM
BRENT @ Im up now, when i 1st wrote again in your CAP post, i got up, heh heh, been sleeping all day, got 2 wks off yay! I really dont know how HAWK did 50 hours plus, hats off the the guy, i was gone by 24 hours lol!

Anyways IRON MAN 2 is gonna be Awesome!!! I just hope the HULK VS IRON MAN needing WAR MACHINE don't happen because that should happen in the AVENGERS with IRON MAN and the team, leading them to need GOD OF THUNDER THOR!!! Still cant wait like all of you though for this baby! ; D

You still up man??

>>>I am now. My last past was at, like, 4:10AM, which doesn't compare to you die-hards!<<<
Cheesey1 - 8/4/2009, 7:28 AM
Teabag, that was funny, the ending was cool. Re. Don Cheadle, very happy with the choice. Howard was cool, "(although I think that he didn't really put in a lot of effort into Iron man, as opposed to some of his other roles), but I definitely think that Cheadle's a better actor. I watched "Traitor" not too long ago and that was an excellent performance and action packed too.
dellamorte1872 - 8/4/2009, 7:40 AM
i didnt know why they didnt go with CHEADLE in the 1st place he would be my pick!
LEEE777 - 8/4/2009, 8:08 AM
I still like HOWARD! Id of liked DON to play something else, hate recasts lol! Maybe he could've even been BLADE if NEW LINE needed to reboot that! (Well their rebooting all the others lol, shame but true). He would've made a great BLADE! Though i expect he'll show us all up an be amazing in this!!! ; )

LMAO @ TEA!
SirJediFrank - 8/4/2009, 8:10 AM
he will be fine.. i don´t know why many people liked Terrance´s performance in IM1, to me, in the theater, he was the actor that didn´t have chemistry with the rest of the actors and it showed.

i always had this idea of Rhodey being a tall-strong guy, and Terrance just looked like a punk in uniform lol!! ;-]

i really liked his "..maybe next time, baby!" line though!
Scorpioxfactor - 8/4/2009, 8:42 AM
I want to say good job getting the interview. To whoever created the Vote for Cap list, I want to vote for the cap thing...but I can't. I only know a few handful on the list..it wouldn't be fair to vote. Captain America is my favorite super hero of all time and my whole life. I want to make sure if I vote..that it is the right choice to me. Thanks for you time. Also, one more thing. If there is a Vote for Cap System, maybe it could have something next to each actor showing their previous work of that actor.

>>>That would be me and, as much as I would like to help you out, most of the people who have responded will tell you who's in what anyway. And, there's always Google...<<<
Stumblin - 8/4/2009, 9:44 AM
Great stuff! I'm happy as hell with the new Rhodey, and can't wait to see this freakin' movie it's going to rule!

And ditto Scorpio, I don't feel like looking up all those names to vote, I hardly recognize any of them. At least a picture of them would be nice along with a brief description of past works.
datdude19 - 8/4/2009, 10:08 AM
Iron Man 2 is shaping up to be one of the best movies ever made.
SabretoothTiger - 8/4/2009, 10:18 AM
lol tea but for real bruce would win hands down hes unbeatable.....but i cant wait to see this movie the first was so good and the action is gonna be even more crazy for this one.....oh and garrett hedlund for cap he was patricles(dont know if i spelled it wrong) in troy and he was in four brothers for those that dont know
LEEE777 - 8/4/2009, 10:18 AM
You lot make me laugh, when the first news of DON getting the part, everyone started bitching lol!

Cool though, it sounds like he cares about the character, he could be one of the best superheroes yet to grace the silver screen!!!

But no offence i really hope to hell WAR MACHINE isn't in AVENGERS instead of a true original!

IRON MANS gonna rock though!
bsprecher - 8/4/2009, 10:53 AM
The thing that I came away with after all of these interviews--Rockwell, Johansson, Downey Jr. Favreau, Cheadle--is that they were all committed to their roles and to making the characters stand out enough, important enough to warrant further appearances. None of them "phoned in" their performances (or, at least, they didn't claim to) the way Sienna Miller said she slept-walked through the making of G.I. Joe. Be happy with that, fans! Actors who care!
NJdevil12 - 8/4/2009, 12:08 PM
Howard wasn't too bad in IM1, and i'm sure cheadle is going to be great in IM2, but i would've liked to see what Cuba Gooding Jr could of done as rhodey/war machine...but thats just me.
BmanHall - 8/4/2009, 12:34 PM
NJdevil12: Agreed. I picked Cuba Gooding Jr a long time ago for Rhodes. He would have been perfect. As long as he didn't get a crying scene... =\
AvengingAngel1022 - 8/4/2009, 1:05 PM
i think he'll do a good job and seems like a great guy
NJdevil12 - 8/4/2009, 1:13 PM
@Bman yea, and even if they didnt have him in the first ironman, if he was recast in im2, he looks a little like howard
countofmontecristo - 8/4/2009, 1:30 PM
i think he would do great. i think war machine has a little more personallity in this movie . so i think don will be better for the part the howard
ATOMbomb - 8/4/2009, 1:37 PM
I'm sure he will do a great job. Of course he was all smiles and had a jump in his step, look at his eyes in that picture. ROASTED!!
jimthefan - 8/4/2009, 8:13 PM
hes gonna do great...good things
jimthefan - 8/4/2009, 8:14 PM
thanks for all the goodies brent
RorMachine - 8/5/2009, 8:29 AM
I had no problem with Howard in Iron Man. But if he had to be replaced they picked a damn fine actor to replace him with!
Bijous - 8/6/2009, 10:58 AM
@Anil: Yeah, that dude in Heroes had a good look. I always liked Common for John Stewart, however.

@Ror: Yeah, I think they're both great actors. It's cool to know that there's no "beef" b/t the two of them. I imagine it must be an uncomfortable topic, though.

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