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Terrence Howard Blames Robert Downey Jr. For His Ouster From ‘Iron Man 2′

iron man terrence howard jon favreau robert downey jr

Marvel has a fairly solid track record of keeping actors around for the inevitable sequels, largely by signing them ambitious multi-picture deals. Of course, there are a few exception, most notably Edward Norton as Bruce Banner, and Terrence Howard, who was replaced as James Rhodes in Iron Man 2 after reaching a salary impasse with the studio.

Appearing last night on Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live, Howard tried to clarify a few details about his abrupt departure from the franchise. “This is gonna get me in a lot of trouble,” he said. “It turns out that the person that I helped become Iron Man, when it was time to re-up for the second one took the money that was supposed to go to me and pushed me out.”

Just to be clear: Howard was referring to star Robert Downey Jr.

“We did a three-picture deal,” he continued. “You did the deal ahead of time. A certain amount for the first one. For the second, a certain amount. For the third … they came to me for the second one and said, ‘We will pay you one-eighth of what we contractually had for you, because we think the second one will be successful with or without you.’ And I called my friend that I helped get the first job, and he didn’t call me back for three months.”

When asked how things are with Downey now, Howard responded very coolly with, “Oh, I love him. God’s gonna bless him.”

HitFix recounted some of the bits and pieces Howard revealed since being cut from the franchise, including a claim that he was the highest-paid actor in Iron Man, a role that earned him a reported $4.5 million. The actor wanted $8 million for the sequel, but Marvel Studios refused, only offering $1 million for his return.

Howard can next be seen in The Best Man’s Holiday, which opens today.


  • Brett Spears

    Must sting especially bad to see how irrelevant he ended up being haha

  • george bunbury

    Don Cheadle was a fine “Rhodey the military man” but I could never picture him as “Rhodey the party animal”. Terence Howard could have done both.

  • green_manalishi

    Well, they were right, obviously. This is business and $7 million dollars is a lot of money.

  • NeronWillRise

    Ever seen House Of Lies?

    He does party animal better than you can imagine.

  • Mister_E

    He’s still on this? That was about 5 years ago, get over it. He wanted to be paid more than the star of the movie. Robert Downey is who made a sequel possible.

  • TerryKeefe

    Iron Man 2 was a very mediocre film. Would it have been better with Terence Howard? Not really overall, the script was the problem. But the lack of continuity there bothered me. And I liked Howard much better than Cheadle in the role.

  • mel

    Howard’s calm demeanor plays off better against Downey’s manic portrayal. IMHO

  • Vincent Clarke

    Great show.

  • TerryKeefe

    I agree and hadn’t considered that. There is just better chemistry between Downey and Howard. You feel like they’ve been party buds forever. That’s missing with Cheadle and Downey

  • lewis4510

    From what I’ve read it was Faverau who fought for RDj. At one point threatening to walk away from the project if he didn’t get him. I believe it was Howard’s own diva-ish behavior that cost him the job.

  • Timmy

    Dick move by Marvel. Howard was better than Cheadle. But really a scumbag move by RDJ

  • Lester Romero

    Because it’s funny shortchanging a dude on his contract.

  • Lester Romero

    But not as good as Howard. In the first movie in the plane with the girls while being drunk with Tony was a great display of chemistry between the two.

  • Shizzle My Nizzle

    exactly. no one was coming back for howard’s performance.

  • Scott Logan

    He has a valid point, but he seems to forget that he went to jail for
    domestic violence in between the movies, and maybe part of Marvel’s
    decision was based on them not being as eager to have him be a part of
    the project after that, for appearances and whatnot. So, while he does
    have a valid point, a lot of everyday people lose their jobs when they
    go to jail, they don’t get out and then expect a raise. He was a better
    Rhodes than Cheadle, though neither really look like the comic version
    very much. It would have been better if they’d met in the middle, with a
    lesser pay-cut. But egos took over and none of that happened.

  • Alex W

    Don’t know how he could’ve lived on only a couple million dollars.

  • Monti

    I don’t see it that way. to shortchange him about 7 mil? and if
    those charges came in between making of the movies then it’s completely irrelevent.

  • earzmundo

    Either way, no matter who played him, the character written..sucked

  • The Rising

    My heart bleeds.

  • GanymedeATL

    Doesn’t sound likely. RDJ is not Howard’s agent, nor is Howard RDJ’s. Hard to believe that either of them would be negotiating personally, and harder to believe that one’s negotiations had any impact on the other.

  • ConchRepublican

    IMHO, neither Howard nor Cheadle really were a fit for the Rhodey character from the books. If I could pluck anyone from their prime, I always pictured Carl Weathers as the best fit.

  • Eldo

    This is Hollywood, you crybaby! What did you expect?

  • J.p. Ducey

    Remember that Iron Man was Marvel Studios first Film. I think Marvel was new to this game and just kinda fumbled the ball. They hired Howard first and overpaid him before RDJ was cast. Once the movie was a success and they learned about doing business they realized how badly they over paid Howard for the first one, and there was no way they were going to double his salary for a 2nd Movie. For the record I like both Cheadle and Howard as actors but never thought either was any good as Rhodey. I think Marvel learned from this mistake though since there haven’t been many casting problems since.

  • DJ

    Nah. Cheadle would have done fine. If anything, it would have been a challenge since most of what he’s in tends to be serious. I would have liked to see the change and I think he could pull it off.

  • Jeff

    Totally correct.
    Also, they don’t do “behind the scenes drama” well. If you don’t play the game you’re fired.

  • Francis Escuadro

    Carl, is that you? (kidding!)

    Though I think he’s too old relative to RDJ. Idris Elba. IDRIS ELBA IN EVERYTHING.

    Or Chiwetel Ejiofor? (How’s his American accent?) Harry Lennix? Dennis Haysbert? (also on the older side, but doesn’t look it as much.)

  • kneelB4Zod

    While Cheadle is a better actor, Howard was a better fit for Rhodey. Just one of the reasons why IM2 and 3 came anywhere close to the quality of the first pic. And having seen Thor 2, and the extended trailer for Cap 2, IM might be the only “Avengers” character with sequels that went down in quality instead of up.

  • kneelB4Zod

    *nowhere close to the quality…

  • Goodz

    I don’t think it’s irrelevant. NFL players go to jail and either do not get signed back with the teams or have to take a huge pay cut to sign with a different team because of their off-the-field behavior. Why should Hollywood people get a pass when their off-the-set behavior could end up hurting a franchise based on super heroes? (HERO being the operative word)

  • Statham

    Except when you learn that Downey Jr actually rallied for his co-stars in the Avengers to get more more than they were. The guy pushed for that.

  • Statham

    So just because Howard says ‘RDJ didn’t help me out’, that’s how it actually happened? We all know that RDJ rallied in the face of Disney for his Avengers co-stars to get more money – who’s to say that RDJ just couldn’t do anything about this?

  • Sam Robards, Comic Fan

    I like Cheadle better than Howard, anyway. So I can’t say that I’m upset that he wasn’t brought back. Just like I like Mark Ruffalo far more than Ed Norton for Bruce Banner.

    As far as I’m concerned, things worked out for the best.

  • bobby bob

    considering they’ve made over 2 billion from the last two movies…. 7 million is a morsel. Doubly so when RDjr walked away with 50 MILLION

    They’re just being cheap asses. Those movie execs aren’t shaving Their paychecks for damn sure.

  • bobby bob

    I read Scarlett Johansen was hired for LESS than 1 million

  • MeagSean

    I think RDJ didn’t have to pull then as he does now. He was the center piece after Avengers, the poster child. He could make demands like that at that time. Had they kept Howard for 2 and tried out get rid of him for 3, I’m sure RDJ would’ve fought for him. Besides, if the sidekick is getting paid more than the hero…I’d consider getting rid of him too. But I wouldn’t have forced his hand like that. Still would’ve gave him about 4 million.

  • MeagSean

    1) I’m pretty sure RDJ didn’t have the pull after Iron Man as he did after Avengers. Especially if Favreau had to fight for him. Once you because the poster child for the movie universe, you can make demands.

    2) It’s business. They were still wrong for trying to cut his pay so drastically. Howard should’ve just asked for the 4.5 mill he made from the first one instead of asking for double to play the sidekick. I love the guy, but he should’ve known his place in the project, no offense.

    But, they did have better chemistry then RDJ and Cheadle.

  • captainmeow

    People hating on Downey for whatever Howard is alleging need to stop for a moment and remember that back when they were starting Iron Man 2’s production, Marvel Studios wasn’t the big name it is now. They were easily one poor performance from closing. They weren’t about to give a huge payday to an actor who wasn’t at all essential to the film. Ya’ll also need to remember that Downey was still trying to prove himself a trustworthy man to Hollywood. They weren’t about to go and listen to a guy who was still a liability.

    The fact is, Howard thought himself far more important to the film than he should have. He thought of himself as a main reason people were going to see the films. He was wrong. Marvel did what they had to to make sure they weren’t going to throw money away when they were still working toward becoming a Hollywood juggernaut.

    Now they are swimming in an ocean of money, and have absolutely no reason to be screwing over their actors. And now Downey has the respect and power to make sure Marvel can’t screw over the actors.

  • Bananadrama

    Wasn’t Marvel known to be notoriously cheap? I thought Howard was a good Rhodey, but frankly, RDJ made Iron Man the success that it was. That doesn’t really make it Downey’s fault that Marvel recognized this.

    And as you say, Downey does go to bat for other actors in this franchise getting their due currently.

  • Brett

    I agree Howard was more believable as Tony Stark’s friend, Cheadle is a bit too straight and somehow boring. Stark and Cheadles Rhodey don’t connect. That said I think Howard’s problem is that he thought his role was way more important than it actually was, because he was paid way more in the first movie than RDJ. RDJ did the movie for scale (That’s at least what Favreau mentioned in an interview once.) When the movie became so successful, and everybody was going nuts for Downey he was able to demand way, way more. Howard was a great Rhodey, but in no way was he instrumental for the success of the movie. I just wish they had replaced Howard with a more interesting actor.

  • Brett

    Obvious Howard didn’t have a problem with him being paid WAY more in the first movie and I doubt he shared his millions with RDJ.

  • Brett

    No wonder, she is terrible as Black Widow, they should have replaced her with Emily Blunt in the Avengers.

  • mel

    Yeah, they could have paid Howard what he made in the first movie and not decrease his payment. That’s insulting.

  • jh315

    Guess what? They both suck. No one is coming to see Iron Man for War Machine. No one. Replace RDJ and it’s a disaster. Replace Terence Howard and half of America doesn’t notice.

  • landshark

    Sour grapes. Cheadle was better, anyway.

  • landshark

    WHAT? She was great in the Avengers, being “interrogated” at the beginning, and interrogating Loki on the Helicarrier. I think you’ve been having a few too many “blunts” yourself…

  • landshark

    He has nobody to thank but himself.

  • Richard Casey

    So Terrence Howard helped RDJ get the Iron Man job? Cos everyone i’ve ever heard talk about that casting says Favreau fought tooth and nail to convince everyone he RDJ was perfect for the role.

  • Happily LS

    From what I’ve read, Marvel didn’t even negotiate. In fact they never even answered him– Howard has said that he didn’t know he was out until he heard it on the radio. That’s cold. If they wanted to make the best film possible, they would have negotiated for some middle ground and kept the actor that was best for the part.

  • Statham

    Except Howard arguably wasn’t that good in the part. He certainly doesn’t strike me as the Rhodey we know from the books – neither does Cheadle, mind you – but still. Howard isn’t the ‘best actor’ for that role. I’d arguably see Idris Elba or Michael Jai White as Rhodey before Howard or Cheadle, and even then I’m sure there are better choices.

  • Zagreus

    Howard should have put his ego aside and took the pay cut, imo. Sure, he got a sweetheart deal on the first one. He should thank his lucky stars that he got that. Howard could have seen it coming that Marvel might cut him out if he didn’t take the pay cut. Its a shame, he wasn’t bad, but Cheadle was just as good- and seemed to have better chemistry with RDJ. So… there’s that.

  • Heisenberg

    They only offered you $1 million? I bet it still would have been your biggest paycheck in 2010, and it would have kept you in the Marvel universe.

  • Heisenberg

    Contract negotiations are a tricky thing, and they usually end when one party digs in his heels and says, “Nope, not budging.” Who knows, maybe Howard insisted on his $8 million, Marvel lowballed him, and instead of compromising on $4 million he was unmoveable.

    There’s always more to the story…

  • Kris Kail

    Iron Man 3 was a very polarizing film, either you hated it or you loved it, but Iron Man 2 was universally panned, even though I enjoyed it. The problem with Iron Man 3 was that it was the first Marvel movie after they’d gotten the “origin/introduction” cliches off their chest and now were starting to do new things, and it should be commended for that. When have you ever seen a superhero movie where the hero isn’t in the iconic costume for 90% of the movie? It was a Bond movie with a Bond who didn’t really have a plan and kinda fumbled his way through but still sorta knew what he was doing, plain and simple.

  • B Moman

    I’m sorry Mr. Howard, but you got paid $4.5 million for Iron Man, while RDJ only got $500,000. You wanted a raise up to $8 million, for a supporting character role. Yes the movie made a lot of movie, but they also hired several other supporting actors (all much higher caliber than you) for the sequel. Sorry that you think that the star of the movies stole “your” money, but you’re nuts. You lucked out on the first negotiation, should have just taken the $1 million and held in for the sequels and possible spin-off.


  • Jake

    Emily Blunt would have sucked dick as Black Widow. No more than Johansson but still.