Not for the first time, Terrence Howard has been bemoaning his departure from the Marvel cinematic universe.
Howard played the role of Rhodey in the first Iron Man movie, and reportedly got a salary of $3.5 million for his trouble, with the promise of an extra $5 million if a sequel got greenlit. He was the first of the leading roles to be cast, and says that he took a $1 million pay cut to help persuade Marvel to hire Robert Downey Jr. for the Iron Man role when the studio was having doubts.
Marvel for its part disputes this version of events, but Howard told Rolling Stone that “Robert was so thankful and dadadadada.“
Iron Man was released, became a big hit, and Marvel opted to move ahead with Iron Man 2. But the producers reportedly went to Howard’s agent, informing him that the role was being cut down, and that his salary would need to be reduced too. According to Howard, his agent said “fuck you” and put the phone down. Within 24 hours, Don Cheadle had been hired in his place.
Howard picks up the story. “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.”
“And guess who got the millions I was supposed to get?” Howard added. “He got the whole franchise, so I’ve actually given him $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.”
Whether Marvel would have eventually given Terrence Howard $100 million for playing the role of Rhodey is a matter for debate.
Howard’s currently enjoying sizeable success in the Fox TV show Empire. The Rolling Stone interview in full is here, and it’d be fair to say that it shows a much less pleasant side to Howard’s character too.