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Robert Downey Jr.

18 Apr

” I got to direct Robert Downey Jr. in Tropic Thunder, and he took on a role that few would have had the courage to tackle and, I am now convinced, none could have played except him. Yes, Downey, 43, is Iron Man, but he really is Actor Man. And also, by the way, a genius. In the realm where box office is irrelevant and talent is king, the realm that actually means something, he has always ruled, and finally this summer he gets to have his cake and let us eat him up all the way to the multiplex, where his mastery is in full effect.

Now, the genius thing can be off-putting because…how do you act with a genius? How do you direct a genius? Maybe, I secretly hoped, he really isn’t such a genius and I will find out that—hah!—it is all just a lot of hype, it’s all charisma and editing. Wrong. First day at work—definitely a genius, playing a Method actor from Australia playing an African-American soldier in an over-the-top Vietnam War movie within a movie and never breaking character (in the movie).

He riffs, he improvises, he is funnier than the script most of the time. What it takes to be an actor, good or bad, is a bravery of sorts. Downey’s choices are as brave as they come. He is not afraid to try something fully, knowing it could end in disaster but also understanding that that is where greatness lies. Many actors do this, but so few with the underlying sensitivity and facility with their emotions that he has.

I was an admirer of his before I worked with him. Now I feel as if by some gift from a higher power, Robert Downey Jr. was sent down to Earth to help us all realize (through his work) that the human experience is a sad, funny, beautiful thing, full of imperfection and irony. I have had a chance to work with one of the greats, and he tricked me into actually thinking I was keeping up. ”

― Ben Stiller, May 12, 2008 ( 2008, TIME 100, Robert Downey Jr.)
Source : http://content.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1733748_1733752_1734629,00.html

I have been Robert Downey Jr. fan for a long time. The first film probably saw was ” One night stand” starring Wesley Snipes and Nastassja Kinski. I some how felt he was a cross between Robert de Niro and Al pacino. He was brilliant actor and had great presence. Somebody who can act, sing, dance with great felicity. Huge talent. That was obvious even to a student like me then . That’s not the point of this post. It is more of a celebration of a talent who remarkably managed to hold it all together in a messy life threatening situation and did justice to his immense gifts. May be its his work ethic. May be love of dear ones.I find his comeback inspirational. I had seen an “Inside Actor’s studio” interview few years ago and was greatly impressed. I wanted to share same for you dear friends. Not sure have shared this before. Just in case.

To share from the Actor’s studio interview and i try to quote verbatim the fine actor and a courageous being :

” How much easier it is to just work when you are in good shape. Try operating at a deficit for the first 50 films. It’s all about not getting in your own way , that’s what we instill in each other and ourselves with, how do you become less encumbered , so you can be of service to this fantastic medium that we get a chance of doing. People through out are times have been notorious. I get to be one of them. To say that ” I got in the way” would be to say “What I was expressing did not have the validity of suffering i put myself through “, if it’s all for nothing, its a tragedy. If you put it down and move on. Then its a way, just to demonstrate ,that’s something that occurs. There is really really really nothing that anybody can’t survive, as long as they survive.”

Isn’t that brilliant! Nothing is a tragedy unless it kills. There is always hope.

To share a lesser personal parallel. I was very edgy and restless in my early twenties. I really wanted to study hard for my then goal. I was earnest. But was very troubled and restless. My friends would scold me in a well meaning way. I remember a lady , who was my senior and a friend said to me ” I will fail”. Later she took me out apologetically and bought me food and cold drinks. Luxury for a student. I asked her ” Why she said that ” . She told me ” You read all the wrong books. If you want to study for examination, you must study right books.” I said ” okay”. She apologetically asked ” Why do you read” . I said ” Just to overcome my restlessness”. She let it be. I overcame my restlessness only when got my first job. I also had a personal situation to deal with. My work became my salvation. My Karma. I am forever grateful to my first Job. I forgot myself in my work. I became less encumbered. People with gifts are less likely to succeed initially than people with mediocre abilities, people with gifts are likely ” to get in their way”. Mediocre can excel easier because focus is no problem for them 🙂 am just kidding. May be the real good ones, succeed much later Gandhi, Lincoln 🙂 so don’t give up on me 🙂

Please also see little more of the brilliant Actor Studio Interview.

If you meet me, please say ” Hi” like the girl student in the video and me would say ” Hi” just like Robert Downey Jr. 🙂

Please see this :

” There is going to be an arch, there is going to be times, when certain things have deep personal meaning, you are lot more just on the hunt, always searching , sometimes hunting, but never resting , ” Where is the juice” , ” What’s in it for you” , ” What do we get to glean from this experience.” That’s all that really i remember from movies. Joseph campbell says ” if you are on a path that’s beaten, that is not your path.” Having the initiative to say ” That looks treacherous, that might strip some personal stuff for me, that is archetype that have been avoiding for long long time, shadow stuff, trickster stuff, authoritative stuff, rebellious stuff or straight down the line simplicity .The answer is there moment to moment. You read it in what you learn. What you get infused with. Be flexible. Its cycles per second. That’s the juice.”

I isn’t that brilliant.

All right one final Robert Downey Jr. video to measure the full breadth of talent, a major talent..

Please see Mr. Talent singing a Sting song “Driven to Tears” ..

In a 2004 Oprah interview , Robert Downey Jr. said on his problems ” You think it’s supposed to get more and more dramatic, it’s not a movie. It’s real life. For me, I just happened to be in a situation the very last time and I said, “You know what? I don’t think I can continue doing this.” And I reached out for help and I ran with it, you know? Because you can reach out for help in a half-assed way, and you’ll get it, and you won’t take advantage of it. You know? It’s really not that difficult to overcome these seemingly ghastly problems. What’s hard is to decide. ” please see: http://www.oprah.com/oprahshow/The-Comeback-Kid

I also love a Robert downey Jr quote about his wife ” There’s no understanding for me of the bigger picture in real time in a hands-on way without her. Because it was the perfect, perfect, perfect matching of personalities and gifts.” Isn’t it wonderful. Please see :http://www.esquire.com/the-side/robert-downey-jr-photos-1209#slide-6

May be it’s his wife. May be its his work ethic. May be his resolution. May be its love. Talent was never a problem. I find Robert Downey Jr. story inspirational.

All good people need support. I guess it takes lot of things for talent to succeed 🙂 hope Robert downey Jr. story inspires you dear friends as it inspires me.

Have a lovely day! “There is really really really nothing that anybody can’t survive and there is always hope.”

Thank you!

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