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Is this the true inside dope on why Terrence Howard was “let go” by Marvel Studios and replaced with Don Cheadle on “Iron Man 2″? I don’t know, but damn, at this point, I don’t know if the actual movie can ever match the drama going on behind the scenes before a single frame of the movie is even shot! Originally, the reason we heard for Howard being replaced was money issues, then Howard went public with his surprise that he was let go, and pretty much confirmed the below statements from Entertainment Weekly — that a contract had existed, but Marvel decided to restructure it, i.e. rip it up and wanted to start over, something you hear an actor doing all the time, but the studio? Well now we might know why.
EW has your tasty rumor of the day:
Hollywood insiders believe the exit stems from Terrence Howard’s difficult behavior on the set of Iron Man. But those with intimate knowledge of the situation suggest a far more dramatic backstory: Howard was the first actor signed to the film and, on top of that, was the highest-paid. That’s right: more than Gwyneth Paltrow. More than Jeff Bridges. More than Robert Downey Jr. And once the project fully came together, it was too late to renegotiate his deal. It didn’t help that, according to one source, Favreau and his producers were ultimately unhappy with Howard’s performance, and spent a lot of time cutting and reshooting his scenes. (Favreau could not be reached for comment, while Howard’s publicist says: ”Terrence had a tremendous experience working on Iron Man.”)
As such, when Favreau and screenwriter Justin Theroux went to map out the sequel they found themselves minimizing Howard’s story line. Once Marvel learned that Favreau was thinking of curtailing the role, the studio went to the actor’s agents with a new and drastically reduced offer — a number that’s similar to what supporting cast members were paid for the first movie. The agents, according to sources, were so taken aback by this new figure — estimated at somewhere between a 50 and 80 percent pay cut — that they questioned it. Why did they blanch? Multiple sources say that Marvel execs never told Howard’s reps that they had issues with the star’s on-set conduct. (Marvel would not comment for this story.)
The points that stick out to me is the accusation that Howard’s performance was lackluster. I don’t recall Howard being in the movie that much, but perhaps that was the problem? Did Favreau cut down some of Howard’s scenes in order to curtail what the EW article claims is a “poor performance” from Howard? And what was the “difficult behavior”? Was Howard too make-up lady ass-grabbing happy on the set? Isn’t that, like, an actor’s right? At least that’s what I hear.
Of course you know what’s going to happen next. Now that Howard has all but been kicked around in the media, he’s going to have to come back, and come back hard, or his reputation is all but tarnished. Let the fun begin!
Below: “Say, Jon, when am I getting the script for ‘Iron Man 2′? Jon? Yoohoo. Jon, can you hear me?”