Don Cheadle has been talking about the experience of stepping into James Rhodes' armored shoes in next year's Iron Man 2, revealing the questions that drove him, and explaining why there's more to him than... well, him, in the movie.
When asked what the most surprising aspect of making Iron Man 2 was, Cheadle gave a surprising answer:
I didn't expect the "Rhodey CGI" character to work more days than me. I didn't think my stuntman would work as many days as I did. But you know, really it's a combination of your work. You're in this motion capture suit, then stuntmen do some stuff, you get to do some stuff, then they don't need any of you and they draw it themselves.
That doesn't mean that Cheadle wasn't able to bring some actorly questions to the role, however:
I just really had more questions than answers about the relationship. When I looked back over the comic books, all of the different iterations of Iron Man and Rhodey that there have been, the one thing that seemed like it was always there was this friendship. There was a real friendship and underlying kinship. I was always asking, "Where did it come from? What's it based on? How tenuous is it, now that Tony is kind of a free agent and Rhodey is a military man? How does that work?" That's what drove my questions about our relationship for the whole movie... "Why are these guys friends? On what level do they connect and on what level do they miss each other?" So it was constantly tweaking stuff, improv-ing a lot and grinding over scenes to figure out how that worked.
More importantly, perhaps, on what level is Cheadle's James Rhodes able to carry a spin-off movie by himself...? Not that he's offering any hints about that right now:
We haven't discussed that. I have no idea. Maybe. Potentially.
Why do we feel as if, if he'd been given enough time, he would've just come out and said yes eventually?
Don Cheadle Talks "Iron Man 2" [Comic Book Resources]