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Don Cheadle Regretted Agreeing To Play Captain Planet When He Learned The Character Was Blue

Don Cheadle is one of his generation's most celebrated actors and showbusiness professionals, having received nominations for all four major entertainment awards — the Emmys, Grammys, Oscars, and Tonys. Following early roles in the 1980s, Cheadle rose to fame in the '90s with performances in "Devil in a Blue Dress" and "Boogie Nights." In 2004 alone, he starred in "Ocean's Eleven," "Crash," and "Hotel Rwanda," and in 2010, Cheadle joined the MCU as War Machine.

Despite a résumé filled with mostly dramatic roles, Cheadle also has a well-known sense of humor, perhaps best exemplified by his videos for Funny Or Die. He first collaborated with the comedy website in 2010 for a "Drunk History" segment as Frederick Douglass, then returned for the gonzo fake resort ad "Sacks West." But he's perhaps best known for his turn as a comically murderous version of Captain Planet, a part he played multiple times for the humor website. However, despite going on to do four stints as the eco-warrior, Cheadle admitted that he initially almost backed out of the project. 

Cheadle almost walked off the set upon seeing his blue makeup

As Don Cheadle explained during a career retrospective video for GQ, when Funny Or Die first approached him about playing Captain Planet, he had never heard of the character. The would-be video's creators assured him that he would be a perfect fit to play the '90s-era animated hero. In 2010, Cheadle was appointed as a UN Environment Program Goodwill Ambassador (via UN News).

"I read the thing, it made me laugh, and I was like, 'Yeah, let's do it,'" the actor told GQ. But when it came time to sit for hair and makeup, Cheadle took pause. "So I'm sitting down in the makeup chair, and they start to come over with this blue face paint. I was like, 'What's that?'" The team responded, "'Well, this is how Captain Planet looks,' and they showed me a picture of him. I was like, 'That's ridiculous. I don't want to do it,' and I almost left." Luckily, someone was able to convince the actor to overlook the outlandish makeup. "I did it," said Cheadle, "and I immediately regretted it after I did it. But then I saw it and it made me laugh. So I thought it was pretty funny." Indeed, the hit video — which has since racked up over 10 million views on YouTube – subverts the squeaky-clean character's image and turns him into a villain who won't stop turning people into trees.

Despite his initial misgivings, Cheadle returned for Part 2 in an even brighter shade of blue. He concluded, "That Captain Planet was very messed up, clearly."