Robert John Downey, Jr. is an American actor, filmmaker, and singer. Making his screen debut at the age of five, appearing in his father Robert Downey, Sr.'s film Pound, he has appeared in roles associated with the Brat Pack, such as Less Than Zero and Weird Science. Other films he has starred in include Air America, Soapdish, and Natural Born Killers. He starred as Charlie Chaplin, the title character in the 1992 film Chaplin, which earned him a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actor. After being released in 2000 from the California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison where he was on drug charges, Downey joined the cast of the TV series Ally McBeal playing Calista Flockhart's love interest. His performance was praised and he received a Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Miniseries, or Television Film. His character was written out when Downey was fired after two drug arrests in late 2000 and early 2001. After one last stay in a court-ordered drug treatment program, Downey finally achieved sobriety.
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Hello reddit. It’s me: your absentee leader. This is my first time here, so I’d appreciate it if you’d be gentle… Just kidding. Go right ahead and throw all your randomness at me. I can take it.
Also, I'd be remiss if I didn’t mention my new film, The Judge, is in theaters THIS FRIDAY. Hope y’all can check it out. It’s a pretty special film, if I do say so myself.
Here’s a brand new clip we just released where I face off with the formidable Billy Bob Thornton: http://trailers.apple.com/trailers/wb/thejudge/.
Feel free to creep on me with social media too:
Victoria's helping me out today. AMA.
Edit: Please say: this was fun. And incidentally, thank you for showing up for me. It would've been really sad, and weird, if I'd done an Ask Me Anything and nobody had anything to ask. As usual, I'm grateful, and trust me - if you're looking for an outstanding piece of entertainment, I won't steer ya wrong. Please see The Judge this weekend.
Your portrayal as Kirk Lazarus in Tropic Thunder was, in my opinion, one of the best comedic performances of all time, but it must have felt like a very risky role to take on. Did you have any fears about how the character would be perceived? What did you do to prepare yourself for the role?
Fortunately, it's about an affably self-important white guy who thinks he understands the "black experience." It was so wrong and outrageous that it was forgivable. But I certainly was happy to hear from my African-American friends that they were okay with it, and some of them even delighted in telling me what relative it reminded them of. Somebody just told me just the other day that they're convinced that I was channeling Wesley Snipes. He's a pretty cool customer, so I don't want to presume I would be up to the task.
how is it that your facial hair is always on point?
It started with the first Iron Man: a guy named Pedro from Shave of Beverly Hills. I mean, this guy's an artist. He's like the Edward Scissorhands of Mustaches and Beards. And then, once you set a standard, it's all about upkeep and modulating it. It tends to be a lot of work, but I'm glad you appreciate it.
When you signed on for Iron Man did you ever imagine how incredibly popular the character would be? How do you feel about it all now?
It was beyond my comprehension for the first 2 years. And now I see it as a logical, lucky, entertaining piece of history.
Would you be willing to elaborate on how going to prison made you lean conservative?
>In 2009 Downey conveyed his politically rightward drift to N.Y. Times reporter David Carr. “I have a really interesting political point of view, and it’s not always something I say too loud at dinner tables here, but 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. You can’t. I wouldn’t wish that experience on anyone else, but it was very, very, very educational for me and has informed my proclivities and politics ever since.”
Also the marketing for The Judge is very strange. A couple of months ago, it looked like a serious drama and now more like a legal comedy.
I'll answer the second question first.
Over the course of lead-up to releasing The Judge, the audiences were telling us that yes, the evocative, dramatic aspects of the film were primarily what was holding their attention, however as our test scores were going higher and higher, much of that was due to the giddy dispersion of moments of laughter and release, situations and characters who behaved in a funny manner. And so Team Downey and the studio decided it was natural to lean into that. At its core, you could call it a drama. It's a surprisingly humorous movie. In other words, it's not a bleak nihilistic downer. It's quite uplifting.
Over the last 10 years, the world has changed, and I'm no exception. What I love about America is that your political views are not fixed by nature. It's natural that I 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.
If you were to appear on Comedy Central's Drunk History, what historical person would you talk about?
Probably our hemp-headed forefathers. I guess they'd be called Founding Fathers. I'm pretty sure Jefferson grew a bunch of weed...
What ongoing TV show would you be willing to guest star or do a cameo for?
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Hi Robert, thanks for visiting Reddit. I was wondering, will we ever see a Sherlock 3? And what other fictional character would you love to play?
Yes, we have a Sherlock 3 in development. We want it to be the best of the series, so that's a pretty tall order. Also, Perry Mason is a property I'm looking forward to developing further, going back to the 1931 book series...similarly to what we did with the first 2 Sherlocks, mining the original material for things that are "new."
If you were a pizza, what kind of toppings would you have?
I've been waiting for this question.
Hi! This AMA is someting we've all been waiting for :D
My question: Any chance you'll drop by on Agents of SHIELD this season? :)
Nothing is impossible. But there might be a fair amount of red tape involved in something like that. I love Clark Gregg, and am pleased the show is doing so well.
Thank you for making kiss kiss bang bang. Very underrated. What's your favorite story about making that film?
It was entirely shot at night. We were pretty giddy most of the time. I saw it last week by chance, and had a flood of fond memories. On the first day of shooting, Val Kilmer (genius) 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.
I was just wondering if you've watched BBC Sherlock and also, what is your opinion on Benedict Cumberbatch?
Very impressed with Benedict. Such smart writing on that show. I have screen envy.
A long while ago you were in Southern Illinois/Western Kentucky filming the movie US Marshals. It was during a lovely weeknight that I found myself having dinner at the same Applebee's restaurant as you.
To the entertainment of my friends, I walked over to your table to say "hello" and casually chat things up with a movie star. It was brief, friendly, and nothing out of the ordinary. However, a while later I realized that I rudely interrupted your dinner, payed hardly any attention to your friend (who you politely introduced me to), and give little to no respect to your quiet evening or the tantalizing chicken salad in front of you.
From time-to-time that random evening of crossing paths at Applebee's pops in my head and I cringe at the thought of my crass, ill-mannered rudeness.
I am incredibly sorry for interrupting your dinner. Do you think you could ever find it in your heart to forgive me?
Meet me at Applebee's. And we'll figure it all out. No harm, no foul. I have no recollection of any negative behaviors on your part. Give yourself a break!
Who's your favorite superhero?
My 2 year old is fond of Hawkeye, so just for today, he'll top my list.
Has Downy ever contacted you for a sponsorship?
No, and I'm incensed.
There's no E in their Downy, so if they wouldn't mind a rebrand with an additional vowel, I'd meet them halfway.
Can you tell us something about yourself that we may find surprising?
I require at least one bath per day.
There are only four celebrities that I would want to hang out and have a beer with, but only as characters they have played; you as Kirk “I know who I am” Lazarus, Neil Patrick Harris as Barney, Matthew Lillard as Shaggy and Morgan Freeman as God. Which non-Hollywood celebrities would you most like to hang out with?
A) I'd like to spend more time with Elon Musk.
B) Andrew Luck, I got to meet him a few days ago, he seems cool, quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts.
Let's see... so many great new tennis players too...
C) Anderson Cooper.
What is your rapper name?
What's at the top of your bucket list?
India. I want to possess it.
First of all, I want to say that I love your Facebook page. I check it every day, and it always makes me smile.
My question is: In the last few years, it seems like the media has increasingly identified you with the character of Tony Stark. Can you talk about what that’s like, and how you hold onto your identity in the face it it?
Let me try.
The first Iron Man was essentially wrapping the character around a cooler version of "me." As we've gone along, I'm starting to wonder who's playing who, and I'm glad there are so many talented new people in the Marvel lineup. Ultimately, I'm real, and he's not. It's kind of important for me to remember that.
Being such a big star I imagine that you get many people asking for autographs etc. I was wondering what is the strangest or most memorable fan encounter that you've had?
I love running into kids who didn't expect to see me. I once ran into a four year old who just happened to be wearing a Captain America mask at the time. It seemed natural to him, being that he was Cap, to see some of his friends around. I think I was more excited than him.
For the most part, autograph collectors are pretty cool, and when they're weird, you just try to forget them.
Is shawarma any good, and how are Hulk's table manners?
The Hulk is a slob. Bruce Banner's etiquette is right out of the Tiffany Book of Table Manners. I remember shooting that shawarma post-credit scene, and having just finished Avengers: Age of Ultron, wondered how we'd beat it. Joss says "The way to win is to not try."
Hello, Iron Man
You've spoken before about your willingness to re-don the Iron Man Armor if Mel Gibson was to direct. First of all, on a scale of 1 to 11 how serious were you? Secondly, what do you think Mel Gibson would bring to the Iron Man series and would you still consider returning if he does not direct?
It was an offhanded remark to a journalist and friend. I have other projects in mind for Mel and I - sooner than later the Marvel Roster will be made public and all questions will be answered.
Mr. Downey Jr., pancakes or waffles?
I'm stumped. Can't I have a little bit of both?
Hi Robert! Thanks for doing this AMA!
What would you say is your greatest accomplishment to date, and what's the next one you're looking forward to? Enjoy the AMA and thanks again for being here!
In order of occurrence:
and the daughter we're having in November.
If you could develop any book into a movie, what would it be and why? Which character would you play?
Gore Vidal wrote an excellent novel around 1962, about an emperor, Julian. I believe he was just after Constantine and Constantius, so roughly 4th Century Common Era (A.D.). I'm too old to play him, but it's an incredible story.
You risked everything you owned to make the first Iron Man movie. How did you found the courage to do that?
No risk, no reward.
There are times in our lives when you gotta put all your chips in the middle.
What are the chances of a Weird Science sequel? Please say 100%. Kthx.
ONE HUNDRED PERCENT.
Was is intimidating having Robert Duvall as a father in The Judge?
If anything, it was more a sense of profound respect. But putting him on the stand was definitely one of the trickier things I've ever attempted.
Would you ever play in Doctor Who if you got the opportunity?
It's funny you'd bring that up. A writer asked me to watch a particular episode about a month ago, in hopes of helping us break story on a project. An incredible series. Anything's possible.
What is the best/funniest practical joke you have seen happen on the set?
I'm terrible at recalling practical jokes...
I hear about a lot of these onset practical jokes, I don't recall having witnessed one. Shoots can be pretty high strung - performance anxiety, all that. You wouldn't want to send them over the edge.
Thanks for doing this AMA, and welcome to Reddit! You have a lot of great one liners over the Avengers series, as well as Iron Man. How many of those lines were scripted vs ad-libbed?
Not so serious follow up question. You've been called the perfect Tony Stark. How do you respond to that?
I'd say about half and half. Oftentimes, on the day, they'll scribble out a bunch of alternatives, and see which one works best in the edit.
I’m a huge fan of your work! I’m currently in grad school for mental health / drug & alcohol counseling and I just wanted to let you know that your story / triumph over addiction is a huge inspiration to me, so thank you for being amazing :) Anyway, my question for you is: What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you and/or what advice would you most like to pass along to others?
P.S. You are very handsome.
Good luck, that's a challenging and rewarding profession (so I'm told).
I guess the main thing is to bring a sense of loving service into whatever you do. So even on a bad day, it's not such a bummer.
Are you a cat or dog person?
So far, cats. But we've had some great dogs over the years.
You gotta really feel it with a dog. Cats are obviously more independent, so as long as they don't mind you, everything's cool.
Do you have any childhood pets that you would like to fondly reminisce about?
Yes, thank you. I fondly recall a Yorkshire terrier named Sturgis. I teased him mercilessly. I beg his forgiveness. We were buddies, though.
I don't know why, but I want to know... Are you into video games? If yes, whats your favorite game?
Also, what music had you been listening to lately?
I have enough trouble getting online. I wish I was a gamer. It seems like gamers have more fun!
My favorite movie remains Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang. Do you have any interest in returning to film noir? Personally, I think you absolutely thrive in that genre.
Thank you, first of all!
The Perry Mason project we're developing is kind of a pre-"Chinatown" gumshoe thriller with some courtroom stakes, and action sequences. So you've got one in the pipes, just for you.
If you were stuck on an island and could only bring 5 things what would they be?
A boat, an umbrella, my family, a bouncy house, and a really big teepee. Then it would just be an eco-lodge vacation.
What is your favorite memory from filming Bowfinger?
I remember driving a classic convertible, first day of shooting, no experience with the car, it was a big boat, and I have to fit it right into a parking spot with a sandbag, that sort of thing. And I remember being so proud that i didn't bang up the car, or overshoot the mark and knock over the monitors or something.
What is your favorite part of filmmaking aside from acting?
Also, what's one movie you would recommend everyone to watch that inspired your craft and/or love for film?
(Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is still one of my favorite movies, thanks for all your amazing work!)
Development can be super-rewarding. But to be honest, probably promotion. Once you have a product you believe in, taking it on the road, and telling it!
If you haven't seen Gerard Depardieu and Andie McDowell in Green Card, I highly suggest it.
Coffee or Tea? :) Thank you for doing this!! <3 i love you!
Coffee in the morning, tea in the afternoon.
How good are the chances that you would host SNL in the future?
Moderate to good.
Hey Mr. Downey Jr!
I am a big fan of yours, and really loved your roles in Iron Man And the Avengers, as well as Tropic thunder, of course. Other than asking for an autograph, which I'd totally love, I wanted to ask you how you deal with stress, and what are good ways to prevent stressful situations?
Thank you very much for doing this AMA, and I hope you have a great day, sir.
It's important to remember to eat, catch yourself when you're getting irritable, recognize when you're feeling lonely, and not burn out when you're tired.
I loved you in the role of Charlie Chaplin.
If you were to star in another biopic, who would you like to cover?
Hard to say. I suspect when this superhero stuff gets tired, I'll look for a historical character and dig deeper than ever. And then I bet Al Pacino will win that year anyway.
"Instagram: Stay tuned..." — can we expect lots of pictures of your cats?
If he'll sign the waiver, it should be quite a barrage. I haven't cleared it with his agent yet.
By the way, we have two cats. Both extremely photogenic.
What’s the coolest thing you’ve collected on the set of one of the movies/shows you’ve done?
Probably costumes. I remember after doing Chaplin, 12 boxes arriving from the studio, I think there were 56 outfits. I'm sure I have 3 or 4 left. I donated some, wore some for theme weddings (back to the other question)... I wish I'd kept 'em all. It would be fun to do a retrospective.
What is the most nerdiest item you own?
I have a Charlie Brown baseball cap that literally looks like something Schroeder would wear. I'm American, how could I not be a Peanuts fan?
Hey Robert! I love you. What is your favorite late-night snack and why?
Thanks for coming!
I love you too!
Here it comes: gluten-free crackers, almond butter, cherry jam, and rice milk. It gives you a little protein... sometimes just a handful of Rice Chex'll do it.
The Judge looks incredible. How satisfied are you with the end cut?
It's the closest thing to a perfect film I've ever been part of.
Just watched back to school the other day; were you cool with wearing all of the extreme clothing? And what was it like to work with Rodney Dangerfield?
Rodney Dangerfield was a true original. Extremely kind. Wickedly funny. Forget the costumes - I had more gelatine in my hair than you'd use for 100 bowls of Jell-O! You could literally bounce a tennis ball off my hair. It was crispy - it turned into, like, they were like bamboo horns. It was the best.
What dessert are you passionate about?
Who is more suave, you or Billy Bob Thornton?
As evidenced by the contingency of swooning ladies on the set of The Judge, I have to concede to Mr. Thornton.
What's on your iPod right now?
Lots of Cocteau twins, Jean-Luc Ponty...Eric Satie, and as usual, LCD Soundsystem.
Wait, what about Emerson, Lake, and Palmer?
I thought that would be a funny name for my character's law firm. I also figured that Billy Bob's character came from a rival law firm called "Duey, Pickem & Howe."