A couple of weeks ago we asked if Terrence Howard had been blindsided by Marvel with his removal from Iron Man 2. According to that post the word that he was left out of the sequel and replaced by Don Cheadle came out of the blue, and he heard about it online like the rest of us. My first reaction was "What the heck is wrong with Marvel?" but I did figure that there were two sides to the story and we should wait until we heard the other side before coming to any conclusions.
Well we now have the other side of the story (albeit unofficially), and it's quite fascinating and unusual.
According to Entertainment Weekly, while some insiders guessed it had to do with Howard being difficult on the set, the story has much more to it:
"Howard was the first actor signed to the film and, on top of that, was the highest-paid. That's right: more than Gwyneth 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."
Wow. How's that for an interesting twist? To further complicate matters, the word is that Jon Favreau was not very happy with Howard's portrayal of Tony Stark's long time friend Jim Rhodes. Again, there is no confirmation on this as Favreau did not comment on any of this.
I would not find this hard to believe because it seems that Favreau was going for the 1980s version of Iron Man in his selection and direction of Robert Downey Jr in the role. Being a long time reader of Iron Man in the comic books, I never thought (and have mentioned here more than once) that Terrence Howard was a good choice for the role. It should have been someone that could bring more gruffness and intensity to the role, as opposed to Howard's soft-spoken version.
To delve deeper into this, it seems that Favreau and screenwriter for the next film Justin Theroux were minimizing Rhodey's role in the second film due to the fact that Favs wasn't happy with the performance in the first film. So... once Marvel heard that the role would be even smaller, considering how relatively speaking Terrence was overpaid for the first movie, they slashed his pay for the sequel drastically. Once Howard's agents were informed they were taken aback at the huge pay cut.
It's unclear who walked away first at this point, but it's moot anyway. Terrence Howard is out and Don Cheadle is in. For more details on the story head over to the article at Entertainment Weekly.