I just love this guy. I mean, how many actors out there can completely pull a Lindsay Lohan, complete with jail visits, rehab stints, becoming box-office poison and the dreaded “set liability,” and emerge victorious, bag a hot chick for a wife, pop out kids, and turn his entire career (and life) around? “Nobody” would generally be the correct answer, but if we said that, we’d be liars, because Robert Downey Jr. is a real thing and that whole thing I just mentioned is, like, his life. It is his life. Plus, he’s hot, and that’d definitely a contributing factor to his cool story. He did it all, and he doesn’t look like the Bride of f-cking Frankenlips.
On his new son:
“Three weeks ago, we had a bun in the oven, and we were about to have a kid. There was all this trepidation, all this projection, all this anticipation and goodwill and a good vibe about it. But what you’re squeezing to the side — or what’s in the glove box — is these thousands of forms of fear. And then he was born and they’ve all just kind of scattered now. It seems like he’s always been here.”
On being a father:
“I guess here’s what’s come to me in the last three weeks: That anticipation and fear are going to come back. Am I going to know what to do with them? Does any new parent, even if you’re not a first-time parent, ever really know what to do? Only thing you have to do, the only requirement, if you can hack it, is to not transfer your own discomfort in the moment to this fresh soul, right? … You got to be mindful. I don’t want to be so confident in myself. It’s that balance between being relaxed enough to not be communicating anxiety and present enough to not be creating the very thing that you were anxious about by being so relaxed — because I’ve seen that parenting style, too.”
On being a hero:
“Do I want to be a hero to my son? No. I would like to be a very real human being. That’s hard enough. Every dad casts a shadow, you know? And that shadow is you’re disappointed, you’re resentful, or you feel so supported and loved you don’t understand why life is so hard anyway — or, you know, it’s so long and so dark that you can never step out of it, so you might as well not even try. Right? So. So hero to me is not applicable to the human experience.
I think that we all do heroic things, but hero is not a noun, it’s a verb.”
“A link between addiction and creativity? Horses**t. No, I never told myself that lie.
I’m not saying that the correctly timed intervention here and there is blah blah blah — look, it’s valiant to go waste days, weeks, months, and years trying to fish someone you care about out of their own abyss. But if your intuition asks, Is this a big O.K. Corral ego trip on the part of the people who are going to say, ‘All right, we’re going to go in and handle this’? Because you’re not. You’re not going to handle s**t. No amount of effort is going to nudge somebody out of a situation that they deem is hopeless. And people sense when there’s an ego trip involved, when there’s a ‘I’m here to save your life!’ It’s horses**t. It’s horses**t. I hate it. That’s recovery vulturism.”
This guy couldn’t be cooler if he tried, I don’t think.
Best part of the interview? When he claimed that his dad “drop-kicked” him out of the nest when enough got to be enough:
The greatest thing my dad taught me came one day when I called him from a phone booth and said, “Hungry. No bus token. Please. Out of options. Friends aren’t picking up the phone.”
He said, “Pfft, get a job.”
I couldn’t believe it. He just completely stiffed me. I thought I had this guy by some sort of guilt hook still. I thought I could at least get five bucks or something. He said, “Call your friends.”
I said, “I called them.”
He said, “Get a job.”
I said, “Dad, where am I going to get a job in enough time to get a paycheck and eat a slice of pizza?”
He said, “Enough.”
And you know what, I made do. The next phone call was to some Irish chick whose dad was out of town, and I wound up over at her place. And pretty soon I had a job. I wouldn’t wish that lesson on an enemy. But, you know, sometimes you just gotta be drop-kicked out of the nest. And by the way, I don’t think those lessons are exclusive to your formative years. I think that human beings tend to keep re-creating some secret, covert mess as they go along. What do they call it in pop psychology — your comfort zone? I have such a deep empathy for seeing someone’s private Idaho crushed. But it’s the only thing that ever really gets you to the next level, right?
Maybe somebody should send Dina and Michael Lohan a memo.