Don Cheadle only had two hours to decide whether to join Marvel and sign a six-movie contract: ‘I was at my kid’s birthday party’

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Don Cheadle may not be one of the six original Avengers, but he’s been a mainstay in the Marvel Cinematic Universe for 12 years. Cheadle debuted as James ‘Rhodey’ Rhodes/War Machine in 2010’s ‘Iron Man 2’, taking over for Terrence Howard. In a new retrospective interview with GQ magazine, Cheadle said Marvel gave him just two hours to decide if he wanted to join “Iron Man 2” and sign a six-picture contract with the studio.

“I was at my kid’s laser tag birthday party,” Cheadle said. “They called me and said, ‘Here’s what happens and we’ll make you the offer. If you don’t say yes, we’ll move on to the next person. This is going to happen very soon. Why don’t you take an hour to decide if you want to do it.’ It was a six-movie deal! Do I have to decide in an hour?”

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Cheadle asked Marvel what the additional five movies would be, to which Marvel said, “It’s going to be these Avengers and this is what it is, so you have to say yes or no.” Cheadle asked what his character’s trajectory would be, to which Marvel replied, “We don’t know about that, but this is what it is, so you’ve got an hour.”

It wasn’t until Cheadle explained he was at his kid’s birthday party that Marvel extended the timeline to two hours. The actor added, “So we played laser tag for two hours and I talked to my wife and we thought about it and talked to my agent and tried to get as much information as possible.”

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Cheadle accepted the role, which threw him into the world of CGI and greenscreen moviemaking. The actor said that at its core, Marvel isn’t that far off from more dramatic fare, explaining, “You’re always trying to do the same thing, which is try to create conditions for your character to step into your own head. so that you believe what you do, and then the audience can believe.”

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After 12 years as an MCU supporting actor, Cheadle is gearing up to helm the upcoming ‘Armor Wars’ movie. Cheadle said of the project: “In each subsequent film, he comes more and more out of Tony’s shadow and becomes his own person. But we still haven’t explored who he is and haven’t really delved into that yet. That’s what the movie is for.”

Check out Cheadle’s GQ video interview below.

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