Don Cheadle Comic-Con Interview IRON MAN 2

     July 28, 2009

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If you saw the first “Iron Man”, you saw Terrence Howard playing James ‘Rhodey’ Rhodes. In “Iron Man 2”, Don Cheadle is replacing him. While some may have some issues with an actor being replaced, if you were in Hall H when the cast was introduced, fandom didn’t seem to mind. And after I saw some footage of Don Cheadle playing the part, I don’t mind either.

As you might imagine, the subject of Terrence came up during the roundtable interview I participated in with Don Cheadle at Comic-Con, but many other subjects were covered like what was his reaction to seeing War Machine for the first time and how did he prepare for the role. We also tried to find out more info about what happens in the movie and was he nervous about signing on for a multi-picture deal. If you’re looking forward to “Iron Man 2”, you’ll love the interview. Read it after the jump:

As always, you can either read the transcript below or listen to the audio by clicking here.

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Question: What was it like for you to see that War Machine stuff for the first time?

Don Cheadle: 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 up there on a leap of faith because you know you do your part and they go okay and 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. And even as good as that looked that’s still not the end result. That is rushed together. That’s not totally finished, so it’s like wow, it’s going to be really awesome.

Did you know that it was 3 guns on War Machine’s armor?

Don: I selected my weaponry, so, yes, I knew how he was going to be tricked out. Yeah.

Did you look at the comic book character at all?

Don: Yeah, definitely. I mean I went back and looked at a lot of different…there’s so many different iterations of James “Rhodey” Roads in the comic book so it was hard to go “well, I want to be the one in 1982”. It’s like which one am I picking, you know? So you really try to…I go what’s the common dominator here and the common dominator was really his friendship with Tony, and that’s what we really tried to track in this one. How their is friendship impacted once Tony comes out and owns I am Iron Man? And now I am in the military and there’s a chain of command that I have to follow, but you’re working outside the military, but basically you’re a live weapon that can do whatever it wants. And how do we…so that was the strain and that was the tension that was between their relationship that drives the whole movie for our characters.

Can you talk a little bit about how Marvel makes all the actors sign multi-picture deals. I’ve heard that it’s like 5, 6, 7, whatever the number is…

Don: 100.

Exactly.  Were you hesitant at all when you signed on or was the quality of the previous movies enough to say “I’m on this”?

Don: Well, what I know is that no matter what you sign it’s…if the movie isn’t successful, it doesn’t matter how many movies we decided we’re going to do, the public says “we don’t want anymore”, so you want them to be successful and if they are successful, then good. Why wouldn’t you want to be in more? So, besides the numbers game of how much is this one going to be and how much will I make? All that aside, you want to do good movies so I’m not…it’s cool to sign for multiple films.

Was it hard to shooting that fight scene with Iron Man and working with the green screen?

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Don: It’s a combination of everything. It’s us, it’s CGI, it’s us in motion-capture suits, it’s duckmen in motion-capture suits, it’s a combination of every technique.

How time consuming was it?

Don: 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 handled it, so.

We’ve heard some stories about Mickey Rourke about this bird and what is it….a parrot he talks to because he wanted comic relief for his character. Did you see said bird?

Don: We had cockatoo for lunch one day. I don’t know if it was his cockatoo, but I saw Mickey Rourke one day on the set.

So you’re trying to say you have limited scenes with Mickey?

Don: I don’t have any scenes with Mickey. I don’t think, unless they drew me into the scene.

How about with Scarlett?  Do you have any scenes with Scarlett?

Don: I have scenes with Scarlett, yes.

Did you have any scenes with Sam Jackson?

Don: Who?

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Samuel L. Jackson?

Don: (laughter) No, but I’m golfing with him tomorrow morning so I’ll ask him how it was.

Are you ready to be an action figure?

Don: If they do it right. If they do it bad I’m not ready to be an action figure.

I’m curious about the first scenes you guys shot were the courtroom scene with the senator with Gary Shandling and obviously you’re coming into a role that originated with another actor. How daunting is it or how was it when you first walked on set with that many people and try to still figure out how am I going to do this?

Don: Well, a lot of that was figured out before we began shooting. And really there were no marching orders of, 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, you know, 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 appeared on screen. Say something about it and then just move on.

What do you say?

Don: What do I say in the trailer? They showed that I think. Yeah, it’s me. I’m here, deal with it. Let’s move on.

Are you friends with Terrance? Do you talk with him at all?

Don: Yeah. Yeah.

Is this weird between you now?

Don: No. No, because I didn’t take a role from Terrance, you know?  They, they …it was potentially we’re between they and him because that was their deals, but by the time I came on he was already not doing the movie.

Could you talk about the reaction? The fans seem to…you know sometimes when an actor replaces another actor fandom can get very upset.

Don: Um-hum.

The downstairs with the reception you got, as well as Sam Rockwell, joining this franchise could you talk about the warm embrace?

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Don: Well, that was paid for.


Don: That was…I guaranteed $150 bucks to everyone who clapped and screamed and they were all there for me.

What were your heroes in your childhood…not just super heroes in capes but super heroes in any kind of fiction, any television show or book that you really respected?

Don: Wow, Sid Arthur. That’s a crazy answer but it’s true. In comic books I really liked Swamp Thing. I really liked the writing.

The original Swamp Thing?

Don: Yeah, yeah, yeah.


Don: I loved that comic. And I loved the Dark Knight, too. I was a fan of that comic book.

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When was the first time someone said congrats on being in the movie?

Don: I mean, the first person who really said good luck and I hope you do a great job was Terrance. He’s the first person who knew.

You guys good luck despite all these problems with the studio.

Don: Yeah, because it’s not between us. You know, Terrance has been a friend for awhile and I produced “Crash” and put him in “Crash” and I was his friend before that, so he knew there was no beef. I didn’t snake a part from Terrance, you know?

So he was cool about it?

Don: He’s cool with me.

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