#ForTheLoveofDowney: “Off Camera”

If this blog entry goes well, I just might share it with a wider audience.
[It went really well and I’m happy to say I didn’t spend this entry writing a fricking novel, which is my M.O. on this platform]

When it comes to my favorite actor, there are few things I love more than interviews like ones I saw the other day. Sometimes even more so than his films.

His interviewer was Sam Jones. According to his website “Off Camera,” he is a photographer/director who uses his platform to interview artists from the entertainment business.
Part of the About page says he began doing this because he’s passionate about the “long form conversational interview”.

I cannot begin to say how cool I think that is 😛
http://offcamera.com/robert-downey-jr/
(this is the transcript. The video itself is on YouTube and runs for just over an hour)

After watching this interview, I immediately thought this was the best interview I’d seen with Robert since Charlie Rose in 2003. That conversation was philosophical in a lot of ways, whether they were talking about his new movie “The Singing Detective” or overcoming the obstacles in his own life.
“Inside the Actor’s Studio” is great too.

While “Off Camera” didn’t hold my attention 100% of the time (I really should have used the “pause” button so I could take time to process Robert’s run-on sentences… there were A LOT of them, lol), I absolutely commend Sam Jones for keeping the focus on the right points. Asking questions that covered all the bases while remaining on the positive.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t come up with a million of my own. Okay, maybe just a few.
There was no way of knowing where the conversation was going to go, so I held on in case any were answered.

1. Will there be a new album on the horizon?
2. Will there be a new Sherlock Holmes film?

…I had a few more, but I can’t remember them at the moment.

Throughout, I couldn’t help but think if I were lucky enough to have a conversation with him, it’d be something like this. Only now it’s already been done 😛 And even if I got over being starstruck, I’m not exactly the best conversationalist. RDJ and Sam Jones were on equal footing. Me, I’d be as good as paint drying on the wall.

Ok, that’s a little overdramatic, but you get my point.

Hearing him bring up his childhood and teenage years were pretty cool.
I’ve heard the stories before.
*How he grew up with his father, the underground film making and was occasionally cast in his work
*How he was in “Oklahoma!” under the tutelage of Ramon Estavez
*How his dad backed him up when he decided to drop out of high school

At the same time, it was enjoyable hearing more about these stories and also where they brought his trajectory as an actor and a person.
My heart aches whenever “Less than Zero” comes up in any given conversation, but he did so to discuss the tap dancing. To me, it sounded like he came up with the idea for Julian to tap dance when he believes things are going to happen for him… only to find the opposite is true.

Reality comes into fiction at the funniest moments, so aside from the solo he did for James Lipton in the Actor’s Studio, Ramon Estevez pushing him to learn to tap dance to portray Will Parker came in handy.
He also went ahead to debunk the notion “dancer” is among his credentials, something that he touched on in his interview with Wayne Brady.

In comes another question:
Have you ever thought of getting your G.E.D. to officially be a high school graduate?

I only say this because Mark Walberg did it recently. With a career as amazing as its been these past 10 years, I could care less if he remains a high school drop-out the rest of his life.
Yet, I constantly push for him to win an Oscar and get a Star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame. I know awards shouldn’t matter, I’d still love him and his work if he never did. Maybe I just want him to celebrated in something tangible, for something positive.

Another question:
something regarding Chaplin…
“Looking back on the film, was there anything you would have changed about how it was put together… given the fact it was a commercial flop?”

It’s pretty crazy how much the actual production of the film was pushed back, due to lack of funds and whatnot. It worked out for him specifically from a number of angles. He prepared so feverishly for the role that it prepared for him for when he did the same thing for “Iron-Man”… only that time, he was actually auditioning for Tony Stark. It was already determined he’d be Charlie Chaplin.
It also worked out because it gave him that first lick of prestige within the actor’s guild. As he said to James Lipton, he doesn’t believe he’d be considered as great an actor had he never worked with Richard Attenborough on the movie.

If not discussing the movies, giving me more insight to how he works on set, I love when Robert gets philosophical. Considering all that’s been happening in the country with the economy and job market, I was almost on the edge of my seat when it sounded like he was leaning in that direction.
Sure, I choose to read into some things a little too much. But one quote that stuck with me was when he said “anxiety is being conscious of how much you’re avoiding preparation”…

When I get ready for interviews, I do everything beforehand except a mock interview. Rehearsing. Admittedly, the mere idea of it gives me the heebie-jeebies. Right now, I think about the idea of meeting with someone for the first time and in a short frame of time having to convey what I’m about while appearing to be the best version of myself.

Another thing he’s a number of times is how he goes into a situation and “if I’m not on my side, why should anyone else be?”
That’s something else I struggle with a lot. I have very little about myself worthy of celebration and glorifying, no matter how often my friends and family tell me I have a lot going for me.

For the record, my admiration of RDJ and why I look to him as a source of sage advice… it has nothing to do with his checkered past… at least it doesn’t in the way you’d think of automatically.
He allowed me to look at movies beyond casual watching. He’s made me conscious of all the work that goes into making them, how certain actors work in certain capacities and directors have their individual styles.
Beyond that, the wisdom he gained from overcoming the negatives… I am constantly enthralled the way he approaches and explains difficult situations and overcoming them. He brings forth a lot of sound advice and having it has allowed him to bring so much to his acting.

My hope is that when everything falls into place for me, I can say I didn’t just memorize lines and quotations… I also applied that wisdom and am a stronger person because of it.

And if not, and this is just me being idiotically fanatical about someone in the entertainment business (my own misconception that I REALLY want to debunk), I’ll continue to take comfort in the fact that his movies are the perfect remedy for whenever I have a bad day 😛

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