Howard, who originated the role of James “Rhodey” Rhodes in the first film, only to be replaced by Don Cheadle in the second, spoke candidly about the experience while promoting his latest movie, “Dead Man Down.” The studio had always wanted Cheadle for the part, Howard told a morning radio show, “but my agent pushed me in. So I never had any beef with Don about it.”
Paid $4 million for his role in “Iron Man,” Howard said he was surprised when the studio only offered $1 million for his return in “Iron Man 2,” after it was suggested he would earn $8 million.
“We did a three-picture deal already,” Howard said, “[but] I forgot, I didn't know it wasn't a mutually binding contract; it was only beneficial for them and they could bring me back or not. They can honor it or not.”
Despite that measured explanation, Howard no doubt harbors some bitterness about the experience, as he indicated in an earlier interview on his “Dead Man Down” press tour.
“The worst thing I witnessed [in my life] was 'Iron Man' killing my career,” Howard told an interviewer.
Still, Howard ultimately sees the experience as a positive one, explaining to the radio show that that break allowed him the time to earn his doctorate in chemical engineering.
“And now I have a company where we grow diamonds,” he said. “That's going to replace the silicon in computers; that's going to replace all gemstones. So, if that hadn't happened, I would never have gone back [to school].”
You can watch the entire interview here:
Earlier on Moviefone: