Robert Downey Jr .: It’s hard to be angry with him

  • Robert Downey Jr. entered pop culture history as the ironic, slightly neurotic philanthropist-entrepreneur Tony Stark, who is Iron Man after hours
  • The actor struggled with drug addiction for years; Robert was introduced to stimulants by … his own father, also an actor
  • Today we are witnessing a very interesting moment in Downey Jr’s career.
  • On April 4, the actor celebrates his 55th birthday

He reluctantly returns to the past: as much as he wanted, he has already said about it. Journalists eagerly quote his statement from 2005: “Part of my destiny is to understand that I am not any face of the anti-drug campaign. I am just a guy who has always had a strong need for a life foundation, and since fate did not give it to me, I had to build it myself. “. It took a while, but the effects are spectacular.

You hear a lot about showbiz kids getting addicted early on. But Downey’s story seems to be exceptionally moving – it is said that Robert was introduced to drugs by … his own father. Robert Downey Sr. he was also an actor, his son took his first cinematic steps on his plans. Dad did not feel sorry for stimulants, reportedly he set fire to his son when he was six or eight years old. The first role? A sick puppy in the comedy “Pound” from 1970. The parent of the actor is often a lack of routine and stability. As a child, young Robert managed to live in England (where he allegedly attended a ballet school), then he gathered his first artistic touches at the Stagedoor Manor Performing Arts Training Center in New York State. He was 13 when his parents finalized their divorce and he moved to California after his father. After four years, in 1982, he dropped out of school and returned to the Big Apple, where he was born seventeen years earlier, to fulfill his dream of acting.

He made his way through off-Broadway scenes (he appeared in musicals), was on Saturday Night Live for a year, but poor ratings led to the dismissal of nearly all newly hired comedians. We managed to win episode castings (“The Firstborn” (1984), “The Computer Girl” (1985), “Back to School”). Finally, the first main role – the charming charmer Jack Jericho in “The Podrywacz Artist” (1987) by James Toback, then a top director, today a creator troubled by accusations of molestation. 1987 was a breakthrough year for Downey when he starred as the party prostitute heroin Julian Wells in an adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis’s hit prose, “Less Than Zero.” This role opened for him not only the path to a career, but also the gates of hell. The actor had been experimenting with drugs for years, but, as he said, took after work or on weekends. Playing a drug addict has awakened the demons. “My life has become a caricatured incarnation of this character for too long,” he recalled. All this time, the actor was associated with Sarah Jessica Parker, his first great love. However, in 1991, after seven years of rollercoastering, the actress left. Agent Loree Rodkin, who dealt with the actor at the time, recalled him as “a boy who likes to get high. He lacks the instinct for self-preservation. But he has an amazing charm. And talent. It’s hard to be angry with him.”

Maybe that’s why Downey was not stigmatized by the environment despite the outbursts. The actor drank, took and played, and critical acclaim for his unchallenged comedic and dramatic skills grew. The impressive scale of the possibilities was confirmed by the great performances in Robert Altman’s hilarious “Babka z zakalcem” (1991) and in the moving “Na Shortcuts” (1993) by Robert Altman himself. 1993 is another special year for a New Yorker swimming upstream. He earned him his first Oscar nomination for his phenomenal performance in Richard Attenborough’s “Chaplin”. It was appreciated how he convincingly showed the evolution of the famous silent comedian over more than sixty years. In “Chaplin”, comedy was obviously mixed with drama. It is interesting that years later another Oscar nomination came for a comedy film, more precisely drawn with a very thick line – Ben Stiller’s Eggs in the Tropics (2008). Interestingly, Downey also played an actor, egocentric and (at least at first glance …) black Kirk Lazarus.

The Oscar nomination opened his horizons. He began to receive role proposals that until then did not seem to fit the image. Romantic comedy “Only You” (1994), historical drama “Time of Transformation” (1995), role in the controversial “Born Killers” by Stone, comedy-drama “Holidays at Home” directed by Jodie Foster (1995). The more so because with the actress Deborah Falconer, married in 1992, Downey had a son, Indio, in 1994.

Paradise on the surface, chaos below. The nineties are the beginning of a horrible spiral for Downey. On the one hand, he was still working by some miracle, as evidenced by his role in the “Wonderful Boys”. On the other hand, it has become the most “clickable” name of tabloids, who at that time must have earned millions on scandals generated by him. There were arrests – incl. for possessing illegal means and weapons, conducting naked and under the influence. The police found him unconscious at a neighbors house. In the year he began his adventure with the popular series “Ally McBeal”, where he played one of the boyfriends of the cult heroine, Larry Paul. For this role, he even received a Golden Globe and a SAG award. But the producers of “McBeal” parted ways with him in such a bad atmosphere that his character was erased from the final episode. He spent a year in prison. He ended up in rehab several times. Sad, though not without a humorous element, Koda was Downey’s arrest in Palm Springs in 2000. He kept cocaine in his hotel room and opened it to the authorities wearing a Wonder Woman costume. I wonder what Pepper Potts has to say …

Photo: Press materials

Robert Downey Jr. as Charlie Chaplin

The dramatic events, including the difficult process that lasted almost a year, did not seem to hold the actor back. He went crazy. Ultimately, the sentence was passed: suspended for three years. It gave the actor a chance to continue his work. Apparently, one of the few people who stuck with Downey even at his worst was Mel Gibson. He supported his friend, helping him not only professionally (eg by arranging a role in “Singing Detective” (2003)), but also privately, helping to grasp the reality – shopping, insurance – which at some stage completely surpassed the American.

In an interview with Oprah Winfrey, Downey recalled this time as follows: “When someone is wondering if they should go to rehab … Hmm, you are a wreck, you lost your job and your wife is gone [w 2004 roku, po dwunastu latach małżeństwa i dłuższym okresie separacji Falconer wniosła o rozwód – przyp. red.]. I think it is worth considering such an attempt. ” The turning point for him was 2001 and the specter of another long stay in prison. “I thought that I couldn’t go on like that anymore. And I asked for help. You can ask for help half-heartedly, then even if you get it, not much comes out of it. This time I accepted it. Overcoming these problems alone is not the most difficult … the hardest part is deciding the time has come.

The period of the greatest storm and pressure in private life finally brought about the beginning of purification. Downey slowly bounced off the bottom. There were roles that filled the pocket and delighted the audience, and made the critics tear – like the one in the nightmare “Gothic”. But there were more moments of glory, reminding the world and the industry for which this talented artist fell in love more than a decade earlier. A great second set in “Good night and good luck” by Clooney, a fantastic first set in “Kiss kiss, bang bang”, awarded at international festivals “All Your Shines” (2006). In 2007, Robert was remembered as a murderer-chasing journalist in Fincher’s Zodiac. In 2005, he married a woman with whom he still forms a successful relationship – producer Susan Levin. They had two children. He rarely talks about her, but if anything, it leaves no doubt about how important she is to him. “If it weren’t for her, I would be cleaning tables in a pub today.” He tattooed “Susie Q” on his arm in her honor.


Photo: Press materials

Still from the movie “Iron Man”

Then came 2008, the moment of a radical turn in Downey’s career. It was then that he surprised everyone with the role of Kirk Lazarus, but most of all he went down in pop culture history as the ironic, slightly neurotic entrepreneur-philanthropist Tony Stark, a genius constructor, after hours transforming into a superhero Iron Man. A year later, Sherlock Holmes joined the collection of roles loved by audiences around the world. Downey’s interpretation brought freshness and playfulness to the iconic character, and at times you get the impression that the actor draws from his adventurous past on the screen. Sherlock was also a challenge because he required the American to learn a British accent – just enough not to fail with Jude Law.

Although the three parts of “Sherlock” with his participation were also a great success, for over a decade the most important field of the actor’s acting activity were Marvel franchises. Over the last ten years, Tony Stark’s Downey has played nine times (3 parts of “Iron Man – 2008, 2010, 2013 -” Avengers “(2012),” Avengers. Age of Ultron “(2015),” Captain America. War of Heroes “( 2016), “Spider Man. Homecoming” (2017), “Avengers. War Without Borders” (2018), “Avengers. End of the Game” (2019). Roles outside the Marvel universe happened sporadically. In the series “Avengers” he starred in Todd Phillips in the comedy “Before the waters depart” (2010), he also appeared in the mediocre “Judge” opposite Robert Duvall (2014).


Today we are witnessing a very interesting moment in Downey’s career. It is enough to look at the IMDb portal, where we find information that the actor played Gepett in “Pinocchio” by Paul Thomas Anderson. On January 17th, a movie in which we could see him as Doctor Dolittle had its premiere. How did it fare after returning to the basic acting tools – body, voice, face? He managed without superhero adrenaline and boosters – because he does not lack talent? We leave this to the viewers to judge.

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