Don Cheadle didn't have much decision-making time when it came to whether to join the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
In a video looking back at his career with GQ, Cheadle, 58, revealed that when the superhero franchise first offered him an in as War Machine, aka James "Rhodey" Rhodes, in 2010's Iron Man 2 he was at his child's birthday party. The studio gave him two hours to decide whether to sign on for the years-long commitment.
"I was at my kid's laser tag birthday party," Cheadle recalled. "They called me and said, 'This is what's happening and we're giving you the offer. If you don't say yes then we're going to the next person. This is going to happen very fast.' "
"So they said, 'Why don't you take an hour and decide if you want to do it,' " the actor recalled. "It was a six-movie deal! In an hour I have to decide?"
"They're like, 'It's going to be these Avengers, it's gonna be these many Iron Mans, this is what it is, so you kind of have to say yes or no if you're in or you're out,' " Cheadle continued, noting that the studio reps said they "don't know any of that" when it came to the character's storyline at the time.
Zade Rosenthal/Walt Disney Pictures
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"I said 'I'm at my kid's laser tag birthday party,' and they said, 'Oh, take two hours,' " Cheadle recalled. "So we played laser tag for two hours and I was talking to my wife and we thought about it and talked to my agent and tried to get as much information as we could, and we just took a flier and said, 'Okay, we'll do it,' " he added.
He then took over the role from Terrence Howard, who had played the part in the original 2008 Iron Man with costar Robert Downey Jr.
Cheadle noted that despite Rhodey's long stint in the MCU, the character has not yet received a spotlight for himself — something that will change with the upcoming Armor Wars.
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"I think in every successive film he's becoming more and more out of Tony's shadow and becoming his own person," the White Noise actor said, "but I still think we haven't really figured out who he is and really dug into that."
"It's been like 12 years now, which is bananas that from that moment till now, we've been doing it for so long and it just keeps expanding and growing and these universes keep folding in on each other and different characters being introduced and relationships popping up," Cheadle added. "I haven't seen any scripts, I don't know where it's headed, but I'm excited about the potential."