Iron Man 2 Interviews from SDCC: Don Cheadle

<em>Iron Man 2</em> 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!

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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