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Actors Who Were Only Given Hours To Accept A Role

Deciding whether to sign on the dotted line of a movie contract requires careful consideration. Rush into a project without properly reading the fine print, and you might find yourself center stage in one of those movie scenes that actors regret doing for years to come. But procrastinate too long, and the part that could have been yours ends up being added to a long list of movie roles you'll regret turning down.

However, actors don't always have the luxury of mulling over the pros and cons of taking a role. The movie business often involves a lot of waiting around (see: unexpected script revisions, scheduling complications, hours of lighting set-ups), but sometimes filmmakers have a deadline that demands immediate action. And in those instances, you've got to make decisions pretty quick. Here are two actors who were only given hours to accept a role — one in a very big blockbuster franchise and another in a much-loved action series — and why they decided to say yes.

Don Cheadle had to decide whether to play War Machine during his kid's laser tag party

The closest that many of us ever come to feeling like we're in an action movie is during a game of laser tag. Appropriately, that's what Don Cheadle was doing when he got the call asking him to take over the role of superhero War Machine in the Marvel Cinematic Universe after Terrence Howard was fired from Iron Man 2.

Cheadle told the AV Club he got a call from Marvel's people via his agent during his kid's birthday party. And as we now know, this wasn't just any role they were offering him. Cheadle was committing to six movies, and based on a quick calculation he did on the spot, he estimated that meant 11 to 12 years. Oh, and Marvel had a second choice waiting in the wings, meaning he had to decide within one hour. "An hour to decide 12 years, and a role and parts that I don't even know, in movies that are coming down that I have no idea what they'll be," Cheadle summarized.

He persuaded them to give him two hours, so he could finish playing laser tag and contemplate this life-changing opportunity. Ultimately, it was a conversation with his wife Bridgid Coulter that persuaded Cheadle to take the part. She pointed out that he'd never done a movie like this — a major studio project with an audience made up of basically everyone who goes to the movies (except Martin Scorsese) with the best special effects money can buy. With the project laid out like that, Cheadle realized he wanted in. So, in his words, he decided to "take a flier." The decision has given him many more reasons to celebrate.

Mark Dacascos had hours to decide if he wanted to fight John Wick

Martial artist Mark Dacascos is best known as the Chairman on Iron Chef America, but he's also performed in a long list of action films and series. Notably, he played Eric Draven in the TV spin-off The Crow: Stairway to Heaven, HYDRA operative Giyera in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and spy Wo Fat in the reboot of Hawaii Five-O. But his most high profile big screen outing to date is 2019's John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum, in which he played wakizashi-wielding ninja assassin Zero.

Dacascos didn't have long to accept his biggest role so far. He originally met with director and legendary stuntman Chad Stahelski to talk about a smaller role, as Hiroyuki Sanada had already been cast as Zero. But a few months went by and Dacascos didn't hear anything, until a Sunday night when Stahelski texted, asking for a phone call as soon as possible. When they spoke the next morning, Stahelski said Sanada was out and offered Dacascos the part — adding that he'd need to fly out to the set that night

Luckily, it was an easy answer. Dacascos was already a fan of John Wick and Stahelski's other stunt work. "I said of, 'Of course. Yes, please!' and he had to calm me down and tell me to read the script first," he said. He flew out Monday night, prepped with the stunt team on Tuesday and Wednesday, and on Thursday he was shooting. However, Dacascos is more prepared to jump into intense martial arts fight scenes than most people. "I'd had my parents training me since I was a kid and had continued practicing capoeira and Muay throughout my life so in general, I was prepared for something," he said.