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Posted at 1:05 PM ET, 08/ 5/2009

Quick Hit: 'Iron Man 2's' Don Cheadle Revs Up the War Machine

By Michael Cavna

Comic Riffs does A Week-Long Look at "Iron-Man 2"...

It's a shame for Terrence Howard that he got bounced from the "Iron Man" franchise, because by the looks of early footage, the super-suited War Machine could become big-time iconic on the summer screens of 2010.

To the victor -- in this case, fellow Oscar-nominated actor Don Cheadle -- are likely to go the spoils of an expanded role as sidekick "Rhodey"/War Machine. Plus, in "Iron Man 2," Cheadle gets to wear the fully tricked-out rig that wowed the crowds at San Diego Comic-Con.

Even Cheadle looked awed by War Machine on the Con's jumbo-screens; he later said it was the first time he'd seen the fully CGI'd footage.

Sam Rockwell and Don Cheadle prepare to face their "Iron Man 2" public at last month's San Diego Comic-Con. (Michael Cavna/The Washington Post)

At a media roundtable session, Comic Riffs asked Cheadle what it was like acting largely in the Land of Green Screens -- as opposed to playing off of actual human beings in such films as "Hotel Rwanda," "Talk to Me" and the "Ocean's 11" franchise. Cheadle's response:

"YOU DEFINITELY HAVE have a different dynamc talking to a person than when you're talking to a tennis ball on top of a stick. A lot of that, you just really have to rely on [director] Jon [Favreau] and the other actors to make it [seem] real and to believe them when they tell you: 'No, you didn't look like an idiot. That works. That really works!' Because it feels very, very foreign."

As for inheriting the role from Terrence, Cheadle said:"I just tended not to think about it. I'm not trying to be flip... I don't know how you play that off. ... Someone is going to be disappointed. [The main thing is] I'm trying to do what the script dictates."

And what ABOUT that massive War Machine suit? That certainly wasn't all CGI. How was that to wear? Says Cheadle: "It was heavy. Hot. It's not elegant, but it's necessary. [But]it's fun when you walk behind the monitor -- it looks cool."


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By Michael Cavna  | August 5, 2009; 1:05 PM ET
Categories:  San Diego Comic-Con, Superheroes, The Holly Word  
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