I remember at the time Howard was the first one cast, Marvel were praising his acting and talent and suggesting that they could easily have cast him as Tony Stark, should that have been the way they decided to go (which they didn't). I don't have a link to the article as it was so long ago, but I remember being struck by that thought at the time when I read it and breathed a sigh of relief when they didn't go that route.
I'm glad he wasn't Stark, and I thought he was a rather weak and whiney Rhodey. To be honest, neither Howard nor Cheadle have been the perfect Rhodey. I think they've tried to go differently for his character than the comic, because in the comics he is more of a wise-cracking, laid back and humourous guy than the stiff military type. It's because RDJ now has the wise-cracking traits that they need a straight man to play against him, so they can't have Rhodey doing the same thing.
Originally Posted by Tony Stark
That's the classic Stark. For about the last 10 years Tony has had a goatee in the comics. The classic Tony only had a mustache because they were trying to go for that David Niven type look that was popular in the 60's.
His mustache was based on Errol Flynn, not David Niven.