Guess we know where all that Iron Man money went ($75 million for last year alone), Robert Downey, Jr., Hollywood’s wealthiest actor, has placed his chips on Team Downey, the new production entity he co-founded with wife, Susan, releasing their first movie this weekend, The Judge. In it, Downey plays a small-time lawyer who returns to his hometown when his father, a judge, is accused of murder. Screen legend Robert Duvall plays the judge and Vera Farmiga plays an old flame of his. Next up for Downey is The Avengers sequel but the jury’s still out on whether or not he’ll return for Iron Man 4, though recent reports have him agreeing so long as old buddy Mel Gibson is hired to direct.
How would your character in The Judge do defending Iron Man?
He’d probably say I’d love to defend that guy. Cash cow. He’d open another branch of the law firm just defending him.
I understand Dax Shepard, who plays your legal adversary in the movie, took a bit of a beating on set.
(Director David) Dobkin rode Dax so hard. It was blood in, blood out, sometimes unfairly. We all picked on Dax a little bit but I also think that everybody came really willing to have their skin in it.
How rewarding was it to work with Robert Duvall?
The only thing more fun than making a movie with Bobby Duvall is promoting a movie with him. It’s been great to see folks welcoming him up on the stage. I’d been trying to meet Bobby for some time but when you approach an icon in a restaurant while they’re eating, he’s not really interested. And when he doesn’t know who you are, that makes it difficult too. And as far as working with Bobby, I can over complicate things and it’s exhausting and there’s an efficiency with which he gets to these extremely difficult places and it’s not that he makes it look easy, it’s that he doesn’t use tricks. And that’s something that I hope to really take more on board as I move forward.
How refreshing was it to do a movie about normal human beings?
It was great. I love that we have this secret that’s not the secret you think it is. I love how the audience thinks it knows something that Sam doesn’t know. And to me, just to do some character study, I feel like no matter what I do it’s a character study. Just sometimes there’s more robots than others.
Because your wife is producing, were you involved from the very beginning?
Here’s what happened, okay, Susan and David start developing this movie. I said I don’t want to make them feel bad. We’ll see how the script turns out. I said I don’t want to tell them I’m going to do this if the scripts no good. And then I read the script and I said nobody’s making this move except me. It’s very much a threesome with the director and I mean that in the most platonic way possible, so far, in that it literally became kind of like this three-headed relationship, two of whom were at will to make love whenever they wanted to. Words by Jordan Riefe
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