Iron Man 2 is what you call a can’t miss, surefire blockbuster. Don Cheadle knows this. The Academy Award-nominated thespian (Boogie Nights, Hotel Rwanda, Crash, Brooklyn’s Finest) and producer is usually known for his lauded work as a character actor. Indeed, the anticipated summer movie sequel based on the iconic Marvel comic book superhero, is new territory for Cheadle. But the veteran talent tells VIBE that his role as Tony Stark’s (Robert Downey Jr.) right-hand man Col. James “Rhodey” Rhodes A.K.A. War Machine, was an intriguing curve pitch that he couldn’t pass up. We also found out his thoughts on Black Hollywood and that he’s a recovering Kansas City Chiefs fan. Who knew? —Keith Murphy
VIBE: Most of your work has been as a serious character actor. What was it like taking on huge comic book blockbuster like Iron Man 2?
Cheadle: It’s cool to be able to do something that’s just light and fun. Iron Man 2 is a big action movie; summer stuff. I’ve been in action movies before, but the action usually happens around me. It’s funny when you get in a movie like this and you are like, “Wow, I can’t wait!” And then [you find out] that so much of it is CGI.
Did you get the chance to do any of your own stunts while in your War Machine costume?
I was able to do some things. But really, your stunt people are working as much as you are [Laughs]. It was an interesting way to make a movie and having to deal with all the green screens and everything, it’s really inorganic. So you have to kind of teach yourself a different way to work. It’s still for me a big learning process. I’m not necessarily astute at it yet. But I found the experience really cool and interesting.
Samuel L. Jackson plays the role of Sgt. Nick Fury, who in the Marvel universe is a pretty omnipresent character. He’s already appeared in The Incredible Hulk movie, as well as the first Iron Man and there are plans for him to be a part of future Marvel films. When does Sam get the chance to sleep?
[Laughs] Sam works way more than I do. Which is a trip because I golf with him in the mornings. I’m like, “How are you here at the golf course and have six movies coming out this year?” I think he’s a clone. I’m still figuring out how he does it.
Have you spoken to Terrence Howard (Howard originally played the role of Col. Rhodes, but parted ways from the Iron Man franchise reportedly due to high salary demands)?