Like pretty much everything in the artistic world, casting isn’t an exact science. Often times if the casting department can’t lock down the director’s first choice, it’s up to them to find the best actor for role, which can be a tough job. But an even tougher job is when they have to come up with a replacement for a role that has already been established by another actor. It’s certainly not a desirable position for anyone in the entertainment biz to be in, but, as these examples will demonstrate, sometimes it can actually improve a production.
10. James Rhodes/War Machine (Iron Man 2)
Nobody was complaining about Terrence Howard’s performance as James “Rhodey” Rhodes is the first Iron Man movie. He actually did a pretty great job. Or at least he certainly seemed to think so, because when it came time for Iron Man 2, he wanted a pay increase so that his earnings would be more in line with what Robert Downey Jr. was making. Pretty ballsy considering he was still a supporting character, albeit in a larger role than he had in the first movie.
In Howard’s defense, he did make $8 million to play Rhodes in the first movie and was only offered $1 million to reprise the role in the sequel. Meanwhile Robert Downey Jr. got a rather sizable pay increase. But instead of trying to work something out with the embittered Howard, Marvel Studios gave the role to Don Cheadle, and, by doing so, actually improved the character. Cheadle’s organic rapport with Downey was immediately apparent on screen and, since Howard never suited up as Iron Man’s sidekick in the first movie, Cheadle can still make the claim that he’s the original War Machine in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.