Robert Downey Jr finally speaks about re-casting Rhodey

Tony Stark and James "Rhodey" Rhodes

Tony Stark and James

As some of you may already know, the role of Col. James “Rhodey” Rhodes has been re-cast.  For those who don’t know what I’m talking about, here is a brief recap.

It started with whispers two weeks ago that Terrance Howard was out as Rhodes.  The whispers got louder, and it has since been confirmed.  Terrance Howard out, Don Cheadle will replace him.  Cheadle has been signed for multiple films, opening the possibility of a War Machine solo film.  As for why Howard was replaced, Entertainment Weekly, Howard’s replacement was a money decision.

“Howard was the first actor signed to the film and, on top of that was the highest paid.  That’s right: more than Gweneth Paltrow.  More than Jeff Bridges.  More than Robert Downey Jr.  And once the project fully came together, it was too late to renegotiate his deal.”

There are also insiders saying director Jon Favreau was not pleased with his performance. So much so that when the writers sat down to begin the script for Iron Man 2, they dramatically reduced Howard’s role.  Upon hearing this, studio execs went to Howard to renegotiate the deal.  His proposed pay cut was rumored to be 50 to 80 percent smaller.  It is unclear who walked away first.

This has become big news.  But it’s also old news.  Why do I bring it up?  Well, because until now, Favreau and Downey have kept quiet about this.  Until now.  Robert Downey Jr broke his silence on the subject.  In an interview with MTV, he had this to say about the situation.

“I had nothing to do with that decision.  I love Terrance very very much.  There’s all I’ll say because I haven’t talked to him yet…I’ve always admired Don (Cheadle).  It’s one of those situations where I still don’t quite know what happened or why.  Here’s what happens too:  things happen and you wind up commenting on them before you’ve actually talked to people and it’s in poor taste.”

It’s a little surprising to me that Downey is being so “pc” about it.  It seems like this has become quite a big deal.  A lot of fans seem upset that Terrance Howard was recast.  The movie made a lot of money.  So why couldn’t they bring everyone back?  And if it was Howard’s performance, isn’t that Favreau’s fault?  he is the director.  If he wants Rhodey to be tougher, less soft-spoken, he should have instructed Howard to do so.  Terrance Howard has the acting chops.  He could pull it off.  The last thing they should want is to upset the fans.  In fact, Downey also told MTV that he hopes they don’t “piss off the public” that made Iron Man a success.  Well I think it’s too late for that.  They already have.  What do you think?

  • 790

    Yeah I’m not buying this ether Jon,,,
    Cheadle is just a speed dial away on RDJ’s i-phone.
    I guess were living with this no matter what ,,, ahhhhh??

  • Ergo Proxy


    At first I was shocked at how the news was broken to Terrence, but knowing the Hollywood spin machine I felt it was a tad too much drama in that one line of “Terrence Howard fired from Iron Man 2, two weeks after his mother died”.

    Though it could have been a really bad case of timing, it could also be a case of bitterness that was planted by the his publicist to gain some sympathy. I’m not saying that his mother didn’t die or that he wasn’t sacked from Iron Man 2, but when something like that hits the news, people start judging right away, favoring Terrence for the obvious reasons.

    I personally, think that when something like this happens, if the connection between the cast, crew and company is good and they respect each other, this is the kind of news you’d never hear about. It’s settle indoors.

    So, this leads me to think that there’s a massive amount of bitterness going around, something that’s above and beyond even Robert Downey Jr. Clearly he’s not able to comment as he’s the HERO of the project, and it’s only fair and quite understandable that he’s keeping quiet about it. It would be in bad taste if he’s going to side with either side of the case.

    My humble opinion is this, Don Cheadle is a great actor, I’ve come to respect him greatly after Rein over me, Hotel Rwanda and a few other films of his. But sadly I just don’t see him as Col. James ‘Rhodey’ Rhodes. Col. James Rhodes, has always been this big bulky guy, even Terrence was barely making the image work for me. Will I miss Terrence in Iron Man 2? I’m sure I won’t, for the obvious reason, and that’s that he’s simply not left me with a deep enough impact in the film to even care about his departure. I didn’t find his role to be THAT captivating but at the same time I am always bothered by continuity.

    My source just told me last night that one of the other major reasons why they kicked Terrence was because while signing for Iron Man 2 he had to sign on for The Avengers too. That was where the real deal broke. He wasn’t asking THAT much more for Iron Man 2, but knowing that The Avengers would further his role, he was looking at percentages. There’s a standard salary gentlemen and then there’s asking for percentages of the films income. Some asks for both. He was asking for both.

    Another thing is that the company wanted a VERY strong cast of actors to pull of The Avengers (It’s becoming a thorn in their sides), so Don was suggested by… Yep, you guessed it… Robert.

    Don has now signed the contract to play in both Iron Man 2 and The Avengers (2011).

    So, we’ll have to see, where this will lead us.

    Personally, I don’t really care that much about this story, mostly because I loved Iron Man, so, whatever happens behind closed doors, should stay behind closed doors…

    Will Iron Man 2 suffer from not having Terrence in it? Nope… Will Terrence’s career suffer because of this? Not that much… he’ll just stick to TV and work harder and still be in the business…. he just blew his chance to become a bigger star if he’s to blame. If not… then he just got served.. .

    Jon, thanks for the update on this case… and keep up the good work!


  • Jon

    @Ergo Proxy
    Thanks! I totally agree with you on this. I will not really miss Howard. But compared to Cheadle? Don Cheadle is a fantastic actor, and I have a tremendous amount of respect for him, but I just don’t see him as Rhodey.

    This is absolutely a case of RDJ and Cheadle being good buds. I don’t think Downey really cares about Howard, I kinda think he stabbed him in the back. He is just saying the politically correct stuff to make sure he doesn’t offend the fans that really enjoyed seeing Terrance Howard as Rhodes.

    I guess all any of us can do is cross our fingers and hope Cheadle really bulks up and pulls off another fantastic performance.