Ahoy, squirts! Quint here. I have my one on one chat with Terrence Howard here for you good folks. We talk much about the character of James Rhodes, the idea of War Machine and what to expect in the future. Plus we get a little background on how Rhodes is handled in the flick… and I swear to God it sounds like he kinda confirms the Sam Jackson as Nick Fury.
Enjoy the chat and enjoy even more of the amazing, incredible, ear-drum pleasing sound-o-text!!!
Quint: Hey, man. My name’s Quint and I write for a movie news website called Ain’t It Cool News…
Terrence Howard: I think Craig [Brewer] told me… You wrote something on HUSTLE AND FLOW didn’t you?
Terrence Howard: That was one of the first things that Craig showed me. He was like, “You’ve got to see this website called Ain’t It Cool News.” It was one of the first things written on us.
Quint: He brought it up to Austin right after Sundance and it just really worked for us. Craig’s got such a great style and he’s got such a great eye for…
Terrence Howard: I just watched BLACK SNAKE MOAN yesterday for the first time.
Quint: It’s great.
Terrence Howard: Ain’t It Cool News…
Quint: I remember you were announced before Downey was and the rumor for a while was that you were playing Iron Man. I was actually surprised, because there has been comic book movies in the past where they have cast against the type and it has outraged the fans, but in terms of Iron Man, they were actually really open to you in the role…
Terrence Howard: Well, you’ve got to remember, because James Rhodes puts on that suit and fights and with The Avengers… you know, goes and fights with THE AVENGERS, also, that it was within the realm of possibility.
Quint: So, it’s like…
Terrence Howard: It just depends on where they pick the story up at…
Quint: Yeah, it’s like Sam Jackson as Nick Fury, because of THE ULTIMATES version it’s still cannon.
Terrence Howard: Yes.
Quint: If it’s canon, the fans can’t complain about it like Kingpin in DAREDEVIL.
Terrence Howard: No, they just want you to stay true.
Quint: I met Favreau at the production offices before shooting started and he was talking about casting you. He was saying that he really wanted to lay groundwork in this movie to make an overall arc over three films, so he said when he cast you, he didn’t just cast Rhodes, but he cast WAR MACHINE as well for future films.
Terrence Howard: It’s kind of funny. It’s the opposite of how they cast SPIDERMAN. To cast SPIDERMAN, they weren’t casting SPIDERMAN, they were casting Peter Parker.
Terrence Howard: It was the opposite twist, because there’s such an expectation of who he shall become. James Rhodes gets the benefit of losing his mind. Madness gives us a freedom from anyone’s understanding of us. When he puts on that suit and ends up becoming… having his brainwaves altered as a result of being affected by Tony’s brainwaves. Whether he becomes smarter… whether he becomes more independent in nature and rebellious in nature when he’s been straight-laced his whole life, that’s the stuff I was looking forward to. The dichotomy of being you, but having someone else jump inside of you out of nowhere and not be able to get rid of them ever.
Quint: Yeah, you’re inviting another person to share your brain.
Terrence Howard: Yes, and the brain doesn’t share anything, only one nature can dominate at a given time. Beyond that, there’s war… it’s never where two ideas sit and rest equally, they’re always at war with each other.
Quint: That’s fascinating and that’s one thing that I really love about IRON MAN. I was talking earlier and saying that one of the fascinating things about a lot of the character work in there is like if you look at Tony Stark, he doesn’t have his GREEN GOBLIN really, but his main villain has always been himself and that’s unlike any other MARVEL character.
Terrence Howard: It’s battling against the weaker side of your nature.
Terrence Howard: You know the selfish side… He’s a child of privilege, of extreme privilege, not just financially, but also with his ability to create. He’s unlimited in his prospects of “who are you going to be? Are you going to be morally upstanding or are you going to fall into a moral quagmire?” He has taken all of those routes and the fact that Downey has been in all of those places his entire life, you know his life is very parallel to that in having his father as Robert Downey, the powerful man that he became. He started all of that, that whole real aggressive TV stuff and he’s a child of that and he’s brilliant. Have you talked to him?
Quint: Yeah, I did. He was absolutely hysterical and just so laidback and natural. It’s not like…
Terrence Howard: He’s witty.
Quint: And it doesn’t seem fake. I’ve met a lot of people where you can tell that they have a persona on, but honestly, when I did my interview with him, we sat down and it was a good interview, but it wasn’t until we started joking around with each other that I actually felt like I was talking to him, you know? I love that he opened up more and was able to just kind of be himself.
Terrence Howard: That’s him. That’s him on the set everyday and I kept waiting to see IRON MAN. I kept waiting to see Tony Stark and I saw the real Tony Stark there. He didn’t have to create a character. All he had to do was be him and he taught me how to be me now, you know? To trust you again.
Quint: In the footage that I have seen, it looks like Rhodey meets him in Afghanistan?
Terrence Howard: No no no, we went to MIT together.
Terrence Howard: We went to MIT and he’s been… I’m the liaison between Stark Industries and the United States Air Force Acquisition department, so I’m the person that green lights any application to the military of anything… the technologies that he’s working on, so we are best friends and work together for so long.
Quint: So you knew him before he had his humbling moment?
Terrence Howard: Yes, and so I can actually see his change. That’s one of the things that we war constantly with in this film, “who are you more responsible to, to tradition or to the immediate needs of people at the time?”
Quint: Yeah. Rhodey… I’m really curious to see how much your relationship, the friendship between Rhodey and Stark, is in the movie. Favreau has shown quite a bit for as early as this is, but he’s still very wisely keeping so much under wraps to keep the surprise…
Terrence Howard: You have to.
Quint: I’m really looking forward to seeing how he balances all of the character work in the finish product.
Terrence Howard: Well he’s an improvisational director… an actor and director… so even though we may have shot a film, I think the film is going to grow exponentially by the time it gets ready to come out, based upon the expectations of the audience, based upon the resources provided and COMIC-CON has just given a green light to MARVEL to do everything they can to make this film as brilliant and as perfect as it should be, because it says they will have the support. If you spend another 40 million dollars it will not be wasted. It will not be in vain, they will come out.
Quint: It feels like there’s been a little renaissance in superhero films since BATMAN BEGINS, because all of a sudden they started getting as bad as they were getting, like with FANTASTIC FOUR and…
Terrence Howard: But you see, the casts have changed, it was Nick Nolte I think that made the change for them. They brought an incredible actor in. Eric Bana did an incredible job, but Nick Nolte…
Terrence Howard: Eric played it so honest and Nick played it so guttural and that what’s happens when you get a real actor in there, so I think the criteria to get into this film was like you’ve had to have had an Academy Award nomination. Everybody in our cast, or the four main leads, have been nominated, if not have won, you know?
So the war that we put up to make it real, not trying to out do each other, but in keeping it real and like I said onstage, I don’t create a character, I let the people around me create the character… how they respond to me is who the character becomes and sometimes you break their response and you meet it with a bit more aggression than they had anticipated, but they still care about you as a friend first, so it works.
Quint: As much as this means to MARVEL as a property and as the first film released made completely by them, it doesn’t seem like they’re having the same kind of influence of a Tom Rothman at Fox.
Terrence Howard: What type of influence, oh yeah the…
Quint: The negative stuff, where it all of a sudden became about marketing first. Of course that’s big part of making these big event movies, but…
Terrence Howard: No, we didn’t any of that, because this is the most expensive independent film I think ever made. It’s an independent film, there’s no studio support.
Quint: The thing is MARVEL seems to be focusing on the long term as well, where they are looking at this as a franchise and they’re not looking at it as a “we need to win summer 08’.”
Terrence Howard: No, it has to be logistically credible. It has to be some historical authenticity associated with it in order for it to have a full stand.
Terrence Howard: Because the audience is brilliant now days. They’re not fools anymore; they can actually have their voice heard. Thirty years ago an audience never had their voice heard, there was a couple of critics that would speak for them. Now people can go and speak for themselves and say “I recommend this film” or “I don’t, because of this, that, and the other.”
Terrence Howard: They want truth and honesty. They want accountability into the social conditioning of the world right now and of the responsibility of people to do better when they have a position of power. No longer can you go drop a bomb somewhere and nobody say anything about it and that’s what IRON MAN speaks to.
Quint: I can’t wait to see it.
Terrence Howard: Me either.
Quint: Well thanks so much for taking the time to talk to me.
And that’s it. These guys have all be great to talk to, genuinely knowledgeable and excited for this film. Can I be more excited for this flick? They better not fuck it up in the next half a year….