The American Cinematheque recently honored Robert Downey Jr. for his contributions to cinema, and got his friends Jamie Foxx, Mel Gibson and Garry Shandling to roast him in a video before the presentation. Starting with Foxx complaining about Downey going for black roles after Tropic Thunder, the piece goes into his drug use and prison stint, and covers the most famous troubled incidents the actor has had. It’s also pretty funny. Check it out.
One of the great things about videos like this are that they relieve the tension. Downey gets to be made fun of by his friends, and they cover all the bad stuff so it’s brought up and put out of the way. The elephant in the room is addressed and is now able to walk out slowly.
But what it also brings up is that Robert Downey Jr. has had a varied career and interesting life, the sort that doesn’t always lead to being on the most famous and successful stars in Hollywood. Perhaps part of his appeal is connected to that checkered past, and audiences like that he’s someone who’s gone through the ringer and come out on the other side. Or perhaps being exceptionally talented – as it often does – washes away sins.
Do you think about Robert Downey Jr.’s prison stint when you see Iron Man?