Regardless, by the time Cheadle got the call to play Colonel James Rhodes aka War Machine, Marvel execs were clearly in a hurry to get a new actor secured for the role that would end up being pivotal for a decade’s worth of films. “‘This is going to happen very fast,'” he remembers the person who reached out to him saying. “‘Why don’t you take an hour and decide if you want to do it.'” Even looking back today, Cheadle still seems surprised that the studio would put such a short timeline on a massive decision. “It was a six-movie deal,” he says. “I was like, ‘In an hour I have to decide? What are the other movies?'”
Cheadle says that the studio wasn’t able to give him an indication about where his character might be headed, saying they didn’t know yet, but that they were able to tell him the very broad strokes of the deal. “‘It’s going to be these Avengers, it’s going to be these many Iron Mans, this is what it is,'” he recalls the representative saying. As wild as this one hour timeline seems in any situation, it gets even more surreal when Cheadle reveals he was in the middle of a laser tag birthday party for one of his children. “I said, ‘I’m at my kid’s laser tag birthday party!'” he recalls, to which Marvel oh-so-generously upped the deadline for a response to two hours.