AceShowbiz - Don Cheadle had just two hours to decide whether or not to take on the life-changing role of War Machine in the Marvel franchise.
The "Hotel Rwanda" star was celebrating his child's birthday party when he received the call informing him that he had been chosen to appear in the blockbuster films as part of a six-picture deal.
Cheadle was overwhelmed by the offer, which would require him to commit to over a decade of productions - but he was given little time to think it over.
"I was actually at my kid's birthday party - a laser tag party - and I got a call from my agent, and they said, 'Hey, so I want to connect you to these Marvel guys. They want to talk to you, but they want to offer you the part...'," he tells The Av Club. "They said, 'Hey, this is the role. We want you to do this. It's a six-picture deal'. I was like, 'What?! Oh, uh, OK...' And I'm trying to do the math. I'm like, 'That's 11 or 12 years. I'm not sure'. And they're like, 'Well, we need to know, because if you're not saying yes, then we're gonna move on to the next person. So you've got an hour.' "
He adds, "An hour to decide 12 years, and a role and parts that I don't even know, in movies that are coming down that I have no idea what they'll be. I said, 'I'm at my kid's laser tag party right now'. They said, 'Oh! Oh, take two hours.' "
After talking the offer over with his wife, Bridgid Latrice Coulter, Cheadle decided it was a role worth taking.
"I go back inside, and I'm ducking behind things, playing laser tag, and talking to my wife," he shares. "I'm like, 'Should I take a flier on this? Is this something I should do?' And she said, 'Well, yeah, I guess so. All things being equal, this is that kind of thing. You've never done anything like this before. Big special effects, tent pole, four-quadrant movie. Do you want to do something like this?' I said, 'I kind of do.' "
The actor took over the role of War Machine, also known as Col. James 'Rhodey' Rhodes, from Terrence Howard after the "Empire" star, who portrayed the character in the first "Iron Man" film, left the franchise following creative disagreements with the producers.
Ironically, Cheadle was up for the role before it was offered to Howard, "Early on, I had met on that role, and there were different factions and producers who wanted me and others that wanted Terrence, and the biggest voice in the room for that won, and Terrence got the part," he adds. "I thought he was great in the first (Iron Man). And then through some stuff that is well-documented that they went through behind the scenes, it wasn't his part anymore, so I got a call."