Iron Man 2: Rourke as Whiplash, Johansson to play Black Widow

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Academy Award-nominated actor Mickey Rourke has closed his deal to play the villain Whiplash in “Iron Man 2,” according to Variety.

“The Wrestler” star has been in consideration for the role for several months, but the deal took some modification after Marvel initially offered him only $250,000.

Money was also reported to be a problem with Terrence Howard, who played Jim Rhodes in the first film. He’ll be replaced by Don Cheadle in the sequel.

Apparently Rourke wasn’t the only actor who finally signed a deal with Marvel today. Variety also confirmed that Scarlett Johansson is joining the superhero set. She will play the Black Widow in part two of Iron Man.

Scheduled for a May 2010 release, the sequel will also include Gwyneth Paltrow returning as Pepper Potts, along with Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury.

Iron Man was one of the top-grossing films of last year, taking more than $300 million in the US alone.