Back to IndieWire

Robert Downey Jr. on ‘The Judge,’ Sherlock Holmes and The Time Val Kilmer Almost Choked to Death on Catering

Robert Downey Jr. on 'The Judge,' Sherlock Holmes and The Time Val Kilmer Almost Choked to Death on Catering

Robert Downey Jr. is as beloved as he is bankable. Once an underdog, now a Hollywood legend, Downey gives a peek into his private life and personal opinions in a new Reddit AMA. Downey let loose on everything from politics to pop culture; his career, from “Weird Science” to “Sherlock Holmes.”

READ MORE: The 9 Best Celebrity Photo Tweets from TIFF 2014

The Judge’s” promotion changed with audience test scores.
“The Judge,” Downey’s new film, was originally marketed as a straight drama, until test audiences indicated it might be wise to emphasize the film’s more unsual aspects. During the lead up, Downey said, “the audiences were
telling us that yes, the evocative, dramatic aspects of the film were
primarily what was holding their attention.” But eventually, the creative team realized their “test
scores were going higher and higher…due to the…moments of laughter and release, situations and characters
who behaved in a funny manner.” He’s excited about the film because it’s “uplifting,” and not a “bleak nihilistic downer.”

From one “Holmes” to another, Cumberbatch gets the stamp of approval.
The major bombshell of the interview came when Downey said another “Sherlock Holmes” franchise film is in the works. But the actor was also asked for his thoughts on the BBC’s “Sherlock” and Benedict Cumberbatch in particular. “Very impressed,” he said. “Such smart writing on that show. I have screen envy.”

His politics are complicated.
Downey said he had an “interesting political point of view,” but one that he can’t voice “too loud at dinner tables here [in Hollywood].” He was somewhat cryptic on the topic, but he chalked his conservatism up to his time in prison, saying “you can’t go from a
$2,000-a-night suite at La Mirage to a penitentiary and really
understand it and come out a liberal.” In the AMA, Downey  said “over the last 10 years, the world has changed, and I’m no exception.” He said that he loves the way that, in America, “your political views are not fixed by
nature.” He said: “it’s natural that [he] would see the downside of liberalism while
housed in an institution, as it’s not an uncommon occurrence for people
to take advantage of a system that caters to its psychological needs. To
be pointed, humanity (myself included) is not above manipulating a
democratic situation to suit its own selfish short-term goals. I hope
that offers an explanation.”
 
Iron Man” is to thank for his meticulously maintained facial hair.
When asked how he keeps his facial hair game “always on point,” Downey said it began with the first “Iron Man” when he started frequenting “a guy named Pedro from ‘Shave of Beverly Hills.'” Pedro is about to field a lot of new bookings; Downey sang his praises, referring to him as “an artist,” “the Edward Scissorhands of Mustaches and Beards.” It’s not all to Pedro’s credit though, Downey admitted that a lot of time and upkeep goes into maintaining his look.

Crisis almost struck the set of “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.”

The actor showed off his wit, recounting his favorite story of filming the 2005 film noir. On the first day
of shooting, Val Kilmer “almost choked to death on a piece of
catering chicken right before we shot the first scene of the movie. His eyes were still watering until we got to his close up. I’m so happy he’s still with us.”

He’s no stranger to literature.
Though he expressed his love of comic book characters throughout the AMA, when asked what film he’d like to see made into a movie, Downey gave a surprising answer:  He’d like to see Gore Vidal’s 1964 novel, “Julian” adapted for the big screen. Downey also seems to know a thing or two about classics, saying: “I believe [Julian] was just after Constantine and Constantius, so
roughly 4th Century Common Era (A.D.).” For those already tingled at the thought of Iron Man serving Tony Curtis realness, sorry to say it’s probably not to be. As the actor sees it, he’s “too old to play [Julian].”

“Iron Man” is his job, but family man is his life.
What film does the actor list when he’s asked for his proudest accomplishment? None. When asked for his “greatest achievement,” Downey said, “In order of occurrence: Indio [his first-born son], Exton [his second], and the daughter we’re having in November.”

READ MORE: 12 Movie Stars Who Experienced Career Resurrections

This Article is related to: Features and tagged , , , , ,