[This is a summary for those who haven’t seen it, or shouldn’t/couldn’t see it.]
Look– I’m not in PR or journalism. I’m just a lowly medical resident who is unabashedly a huge fan of Robert Downey Jr.
I’ve followed press junkets over the years because of this guy so in that sense, I’m familiar. Most of the time he’s incredibly charming. There had been times when he seems to be having a bad day and he can be rude.
This Channel 4 interview is NOT the latter.
It started off pretty swimmingly, and RDJ was chipper and pleasant. Standard questions about Tony Stark, the Avengers, etc.
Then after four minutes, it started turning when the guy asked him about that infamous quote that he gave in 2008 about the “not being a liberal after prison” thing, which he actually answered very gamely. He even answered the follow-up question to that.
(Truth be told, that question was something that I’ve personally wanted someone to ask him, because that fucking quote is always that thing that people throw in the conversation to justify that they know RDJ’s politics.)
(LONG STORY SHORT, RE: THAT 2008 QUOTE– based on this interview, he does not agree or hold that opinion anymore. He doesn’t identify with any political party.)
Anyway, he was actually pretty ok when those questions were asked, and was polite enough to answer even though they were beginning to stray away to potentially personal stuff. Still smiling.
You know when he started becoming really uncomfortable (you can see him trying to control his breathing … I’ve never seem him seethe like that before)?
It was when that interviewer said: “So you’ve said in the past that your relationship with your father and the role of all of that in those dark periods that you went to – taking drugs and drinking and all of that. And I just wondered, if you think you’re free of all of that, or is that something that you still … “
So he was essentially asking this with that: are you really free from the drugs and the alcohol, or are you … ?
He was expecting Robert, a recovering addict, to answer that loaded question
in two minutes,
in a press junket about a film with killer robots.
A man who’s had a very nasty and public battle with addiction, relapsed repeatedly for years, who’s been clean for a decade (which is not an easy feat!), and in the mean time having transformed his life and career into that of a megastar family man
… and you’re asking him if he’s really free from all of drugs?
Are you fucking serious?
See– I know the drug history is a crucial part of Robert’s narrative, and his conquering it in the way he had is one of the reasons why he’s special.
What’s kinda upsetting to me is, it doesn’t matter how successful Robert gets, the millions, the charities, the family life, or if he wins 192308 Oscars.
In a sense, it seems to end up boiling down to some people having … doubt (?) about his sobriety, no matter what he does, and it makes me sad.
He’s done the “emotional Diane Sawyer interview” in the past … in 1996.
The last “apology tour” he did (he was apologizing for his drug past) was in 2004 with Oprah.