When Marvel abruptly announced they were replacing Terrence Howard with Don Cheadle in the Iron Man sequel, they offered little explanation. Entertainment Weekly is now reporting that part of the reason was that Howard had been the first to sign on for Iron Man and had been the highest paid cast member (yup, even more than Downey), despite his relatively small role, and refused to renegotiate his contract. The other reason was that no one liked his performance that much.
According to one source, Favreau and his producers spent a lot of time cutting and reshooting his scenes. As such, when Favreau and screenwriter Justin Theroux went to map out the sequel they found themselves minimizing Howard’s story line. Once Marvel learned that Favreau was thinking of curtailing the role, the studio went to the actor’s agents with a new and drastically reduced offer — a number that’s similar to what supporting cast members were paid for the first movie. The agents, according to sources, were so taken aback by this new figure — estimated at somewhere between a 50 and 80 percent pay cut — that they questioned it.
It’s unclear whether Howard’s team walked away first, or if Marvel ended the discussion at that point.
FilmDrunk’s inside sources say another sticking point was that Howard hoped to communicate all of his lines through interpretive dance. Reached for comment, Howard snapped his fingers for 27 straight minutes and made bass noises with his mouth.