Iron Man 3

Iron Man 3: Under the Armor With Don Cheadle

The star talks reprising Rhondey and the new star spangled suit!

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Marvel's "Iron Man 3" boasts not one, not two, but three veteran talents reprising their roles, as Don Cheadle again assumes the mantle of Tony Stark’s best friend and armored ally, James Rhodes.

Cheadle’s list of credits befits such a well known Hollywood talent. His role in the true-life drama “Hotel Rwanda” garnered him both Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations for Best Actor. He also played in the Academy Award nominated films “Crash” and, most recently, “Flight.”

Rhodey gets a new look as the Iron Patriot when "Iron Man 3" hits theaters and IMAX 3D May 3, and we had no shortage for the franchise veteran on this edition of "Iron Man 3: Under the Armor."

Don Cheadle stars as James Rhodes/Iron Patriot in "Iron Man 3"

Marvel.com: Where does Rhodey pick up in “Iron Man 3”?

Don Cheadle: In “Iron Man 3,” with Tony and Rhodey, we now have a private sector super hero and a public sector super hero. Rhodey has been doing work for the government, and now he’s got to come together with Tony as the Iron Patriot to address this newest threat.

Marvel.com: It seems like your character is much more developed. Were you happy to see that in the screenplay?

Don Cheadle: It’s great to be in a movie that has a lot of action and be able to be a part of the action. The relationship between Tony and Rhodey is deepening and we’re getting more of a glimpse into who each of these men are and what challenges they face. So yes, I was glad to crack the screenplay and see that.

"Iron Man 3" soars into theaters & IMAX 3D May 3

Marvel.com: Were you happy with Shane Black writing the script with Drew Pearce, knowing his history of developing the relationship of two guys who are friends?

Don Cheadle: Shane definitely has a style about his writing and a sense of humor that feeds right into and leans right into the mythology that’s already been created with these characters, so it’s a good fit, I think. He’s also a very collaborative director, so it’s nice to have the opportunity to be on a set where your input is respected and welcomed.

Marvel.com: You get to wear the red, white and blue Iron Patriot suit. What did you think when you saw the suit?

Don Cheadle: I thought, “Wow, that thing looks heavy,” and I wasn’t wrong. But, kidding aside, it’s great to see these different iterations of the character and sort of fundamentally still address who is he really and how does he tick, beyond what the suit is and what color it is and what the design is. That’s really what we’re trying to get into the meat of.

Tony Stark's Mark 42 armor from "Iron Man 3"

Marvel.com: The suit is heavy and you’ve got to wear it when it’s 100 degrees out. Does that test your mental stability?

Don Cheadle: It’s one of those things where you go, “Oh wow, I get to be War Machine. I get to be Iron Patriot. I get to wear all of that,” and then you start putting it on and 30 minutes later as they’re still screwing you into this thing you’re like, “I signed up for this?” But look, we get to play make believe with the best toys. Even just when I’ve seen some stuff roughly cut together or the things that I saw at Comic-Con or on the set, it’s exciting. I can’t wait to see it all put together.

Marvel.com: Marvel is currently enjoying a string of successes. What do you attribute that to?

Don Cheadle: The success of the films is based on not just all the mythology that goes on before in the comic books and these characters that people have grown up with for 50 years, but the way that Marvel is able to intricately weave these storylines and have people show up in each other’s storylines and how after each film there’s a departure point where the next storyline could come in. They’re just smart about laying the breadcrumbs out for you to follow to the next thing, and there’s an excitement that gets generated for the next myth and how it is going to be told. They’re just very smart about it. And I also think there’s a real sense of humor about it so it’s not taken too seriously and it’s not so precious that it can’t be malleable and pushed and pulled. So I think that also is a lot of fun and gives the audience a lot to key into. They know they’re going to be on a fun ride. It’s not medicine.

Ben Kingsley plays the villainous Mandarin in "Iron Man 3"

Marvel.com: What is it that attracts all of these fantastic actors to the Marvel films?

Don Cheadle:  I think that you know you’re going to be able to come together on a set with other talented actors and really have a lot of fun with all the best bells and whistles. I’ve been spending the last couple hours on wires flying and getting to do stunts and really getting my hands dirty so to speak and I’m having a lot of visceral fun with these characters. And then my scenes with Robert [Downey, Jr.] where we get to go back and forth are fun acting challenges. He’s got a very facile mind and is very quick, and we just have a lot of fun figuring out who these guys are and what we’re going to do, so there’s not a lot of downside to it.

Marvel.com: What makes Robert Downey, Jr. the perfect Tony Stark for these films?

Don Cheadle: There’s just sometimes a marriage between a character and an actor that just, for some non-distinct reason, works. But I think when you read the comic books, you can see that same sort of cavalier attitude and devil-may-care, playboy thing that Robert just sparks to. I think there’s a perfect marriage of an actor with an understanding of what that dynamic is and the character.

Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) and Rhodey (Don Cheadle) in "Iron Man 3"

Marvel.com: Do you guys get to do a lot of banter back and forth on set?

Don Cheadle: When you work with another actor like Robert, who has as much fun just coming up with it on the day, the banter happens, especially when you’re open to it and it’s nurtured and supported from your director and the producers and everybody on set. We both had a lot of fun in that, and I think that’s where you really get to see the friendship that happens off-screen be carried on-screen and pop, so it’s nice. Once we’re actually shooting, those things have usually been locked down because it’s very technical, but it’s a fun process.

Marvel.com: The Extremis and biotech storyline is not too far out of the realm in this day and age. What does that add to the story?

Don Cheadle: For me, it was even more that it had its foothold in what’s happening right now. Not even something that could happen. So for me, that subplot in the script was really interesting.

Don Cheadle gets his very own character poster as Iron Patriot in "Iron Man 3"

Marvel.com:  How is it working with Shane Black as a director and what does he bring to the film?

Don Cheadle: Shane came up with this very interesting way to tell the story and has been a very collaborative director and quick on his feet and very open.

Marvel.com: What did you think about the Mandarin character when you first saw him?

Don Cheadle: I liked seeing him in his garb, but I was almost even more excited about hearing his voice and this vocal mask that he’s put on. I thought that scary patois he was using was really interesting. It made me very excited to see what he’s going to do.

Marvel.com: What do you hope audiences get out of this third “Iron Man”?

Don Cheadle: I hope they have a strong desire to see an “Iron Man 4.” I hope it just gets them geeked to see what’s next, because Marvel has a rasher of things lined up that I think are going to be really exciting. But as far as the journey of Tony Stark and the journey of Tony, Rhodey and Pepper and the world that the three of them inhabit, I hope people have a satisfied feeling that it’s held up to the promise that came before and that it could still go on.

Marvel’s “Iron Man 3” pits brash-but-brilliant industrialist Tony Stark/Iron Man against an enemy whose reach knows no bounds. When Stark finds his personal world destroyed at his enemy's hands, he embarks on a harrowing quest to find those responsible. This journey, at every turn, will test his mettle. With his back against the wall, Stark is left to survive by his own devices, relying on his ingenuity and instincts to protect those closest to him. As he fights his way back, Stark discovers the answer to the question that has secretly haunted him: does the man make the suit or does the suit make the man?

Starring Robert Downey, Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Guy Pearce, Rebecca Hall, Stephanie Szostak, James Badge Dale with Jon Favreau and Ben Kingsley, “Iron Man 3” is directed by Shane Black from a screenplay by Drew Pearce and Shane Black and is based on Marvel’s iconic super hero Iron Man, who first appeared in the pages of TALES OF SUSPENSE #39 in 1963 and had his solo comic book debut with THE INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #1 in May of 1968.

“Iron Man 3” is presented by Marvel Studios in association with Paramount Pictures and DMG Entertainment. Marvel Studios’ President Kevin Feige is producing and Jon Favreau, Louis D'Esposito, Stephen Broussard, Victoria Alonso, Alan Fine, Charles Newirth, Stan Lee and Dan Mintz are executive producers. The film releases May 3, 2013, and is distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.

In addition to "Iron Man 3," Marvel Studios will release a slate of films based on the Marvel characters including "Thor: The Dark World" on November 8, 2013; "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" on April 4, 2014; "Guardians of the Galaxy" on August 1, 2014; the untitled "Marvel's The Avengers" sequel on May 1, 2015; and "Ant-Man" on November 6, 2015.

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