Don Cheadle may not be one of the six original Avengers, but he’s been a mainstay of the Marvel Cinematic Universe for 12 years and counting. Cheadle debuted as James “Rhode” Rhodes/War Machine in 2010’s “Iron Man 2,” taking over from 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-movie deal with the studio.
“I was at my kid’s laser tag birthday party,” Cheadle said. “They called me and said, ‘This is what’s happening and we’re making you an offer. If you say no, we move on to the next person. It’s going to happen very quickly. Why don’t you take an hour and decide you want to do it.’ It was a six movie deal! I have to decide in an hour?
Cheadle asked Marvel what the additional five movies would be, to which Marvel said, “It’s going to be this Avengers and that’s why you have to say yes or no.” Cheadle asked what his character’s trajectory would be, to which Marvel replied, “We don’t know any of that but it is what it is so you have an hour.”
Marvel only extended the timeline by two hours when Cheadle explained that he was at his child’s birthday party. The actor added, “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 possible.”
Cheadle accepted the role, which launched him into the world of CGI and green-screen filmmaking. The actor says that Marvel isn’t so far from its more dramatic fare at its core, explaining, “You’re always trying to do the same thing, which is to try and create a believable situation for your character to get inside yourself. Head so you believe what you’re doing and then the audience can believe it.”
After 12 years as an MCU supporting actor, Cheadle is gearing up to lead the upcoming “Armor Wars” film. Cheadle says of the project, “With each successive film, he’s stepping out of Tony’s shadow more and more and becoming his own person. But we are yet to explore who he is and really dig it out yet The movie is for him.
Watch Cheadle’s GQ video interview below.