At this point, I think of Don Cheadle as Rhodey, Tony Stark's good friend, and I have to be reminded that he didn't actually play the part in the first film. That's a testament to just how naturally Cheadle stepped into the role when Terrence Howard negotiated himself right out of the sequels, and I think things ultimately worked out the way they were supposed to work out.
When I sat down to talk to Cheadle at the press day for "Iron Man 3" last weekend, I mentioned to him that I drive by the donut shop from "Boogie Nights" at least four times a week just because of where I live in the Valley. "Ever get the urge to rob it?" he asked me with a smile.
The new film offers Cheadle more to do than the second film did, and his chemistry with Robert Downey Jr. seems to have become even more comfortable. They seem to have the right energy to play off of each other, and Cheadle also seems like he's really thrown himself into the physical side of the preparation for the film. We talked about the physical demands of wearing the Iron Patriot suit in the film, and about how the suits have changed from film to film. Legacy FX does tremendous work in these movies, and I think audiences often have no idea what they're actually looking at in scenes where the characters are armored up and fighting.
We also talked about the way "Iron Man 3" operates as several movies at once, with Rhodey and Tony in their own film for part of the running time, and it's a shame Cheadle didn't get a chance to play with the entire cast. Maybe if there's another sequel down the road, we'll get to see him do some scenes with Favreau or Gwenyth Paltrow. For now, though, Cheadle seems really pleased with the way this one came together, and we'll share our thoughts on the movie and his work in it very soon.
"Iron Man 3" opens May 3, 2013 everywhere.