Whenever we talk about the first Iron Man film, it’s like talking about a legend from folklore. There’s so much drama, risk, and patience involved in a film whose success was doubtful. Yet, it gave birth to a multi-million dollar franchise that inspired an entire generation of film making. However, it’s making wasn’t as noble as most legendary tales are. In fact, Terrence Howard, who played James “Rhodey” Rodes in the original film, claimed that Robert Downey Jr only got hired for the film because of him. And this massive favor cost Howard more almost $100 million!
Terrence Howard’s huge favor
In an interview with Rolling Stone Magazine, Terrence Howard explained how the events of Iron Man transpired. He was actually the highest-paid actor in the film, $3.5 million, with an additional $5 million if there’s a sequel with him in it. However, there was another actor being considered for the film with the troubled name of Robert Downey Jr, who had a massive drug problem at the time.
So, according to Terrence Howard, he insisted on taking a $1 million pay cut for Marvel Studios to audition and hire Downey Jr. However, it’s important to note that Marvel Studios deny Howard’s role and pay cut in Robert Downey Jr’s hiring.
But, when it came to Iron Man 2, the tune changed for Terrence Howard. Marvel studios told Howard’s agent that they’ll be trimming his part in the sequel and reduce his salary. However, Howard’s agent said to Marvel Studios “F@#k you”, and in the next 24 hours, they hired Don Cheadle as his replacement. When that happened, he rang up Robert Downey Jr, but much to his dismay:
I called Robby and was like, ‘Look, man . . .’ Leaving messages with his assistants, called him at least 17 times that day and 21 the next and finally left a message saying, ‘Look, man, I need the help that I gave you.’ Never heard from him.
Terrence Howard believes that because of his favor, Robert Downey earned $100 million. And that’s what it cost him:
And guess who got the millions I was supposed to get? He got the whole franchise, so I’ve actually given him (Downey Jr) $100 million, which ends up being a $100 million loss for me from me trying to look after somebody, but, you know, to this day I would do the same thing. It’s just my nature.
Robert Downey Jr denies these claims
These are some really bold claims by Terrence Howard. However, Robert Downey Jr says that he had nothing to do with that decision, and would prefer not to comment much out of respect for Howard:
I had nothing to do with that decision. I love Terrence very, very much. That’s all I’ll say, because I haven’t talked to him yet … 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 the people and it’s in poor taste.
It’s quite sad to see Terrence Howard cut out of what was going to be the MCU. Howard as War Machine would have been epic, but it wasn’t to be. We might never know what really happened in this feud. But, the MCU still fared really well without him. It’s a shame he wasn’t a part of it, even though he was among the pioneers.