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Terrence Howard on Iron Man

Published May 5, 2008 in Movie Interviews
By Fred Topel | Image property of Paramount Pictures
Iron Man Iron Man

Comic book fans know that the character Terrence Howard plays in Iron Man, Jim Rhodes, ultimately becomes War Machine. The first film in what is expected to be a franchise may only hint at this, so Howard gave casual fans an idea of what to expect from him in the film.

Terrence Howard's Involvement in Iron Man


"My character is a young man that grew up in the military, went to college as a result of the military, father was in the military, grandfather was in the military," said Howard. "So I am truly a son of the USA. Sometimes a son wants to leave home just to venture out, but then he always makes his way back. That's my character."

The Department of Defense has assisted the film and the actors achieve military realism. That also gave the actors a challenge. "If you remember in the comic book, Rhodes, even though he's by the book so to speak, he's a bit of a rogue in his own nature. But since we have the Department of Defense that we're working with, we've been having to pull back because of trying to appease them being so generous to us. So that's been the hardest thing to be as true to Rhodi as the comic book and still satisfy the needs of the Department of Defense."

The advantage, however, was also having military personnel to inspire Howard's performance. "General Thomas. He's so insightful. He's a black general. I had never heard of a black general in my life, so I was happy to meet him. But he's so insightful, so sweet, very sweet but very direct about accomplishing. The first thing he told me, because I shook his hand respectfully, I thought strongly, and he slapped my hand away. He said, 'You fly a $200 million aircraft. Act like it.' So I shook his hand and tried to break it."



After garnering acclaim in character dramas, Howard was ready to bring his skills to a bigger arena. "A great director said to me once, 'Limitation brings about genius.' Those other characters I had, like in Crash I had an emotional breakdown. When you have an emotional breakdown, anything goes. Hustle and Flow, the character lived completely outside of society's laws and regulations. Get Rich or Die Tryin', that was a character that had decided to hate the world because of what had happened to him in his youth. For me to be limited by what the Department of Defense sets out in military guidelines, they set out with individuals to learn that discipline. I think in the long run it will make me a much better actor. Even in this one, I mean, this one I sit back and I wait and wait and wait for those moments when I can get active and when they let me out, I'm so thrilled. But I find myself walking in this disciplined manner, from spending a month on a military base. I'm about to ask them to actually make me an honorary colonel."

Iron Man is out in theaters now.

For the posters, trailers, stills, review and latest headlines, go to the Iron Man Movie Page.
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Compiled By (Sources)
Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of Paramount Pictures
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