Robert Downey Jr. Says Overacting Is Like Bestiality

Chris Heath warns you up high in his GQ cover story on Robert Downey Jr., that: "Conversations with Robert Downey Jr. are rarely linear, and sometimes it takes a moment to realize how one thing might relate to the next." Yes, this seems to be the perfect way to set up the inscrutable parallel the actor draws to overly emotional acting and bestiality porn (not that he's watched it, he's just seen it being sold in Amsterdam...). Here is the powerful exchange:

GQ: What are you bad at as an actor?

Robert Downey Jr.: Tons. Everything I avoid. I don't like opening doors and looking surprised. I can do all that emo stuff, but I'm so over everyone who has to have a meltdown- everybody is emotional all the time. In movies people seem to be more emotional than they would ever be if that situation was actually happening to them.

GQ: No shit.

RDJ: Yeah. And the funny thing is: People eat that up. It's not that I'm better than that or I've transcended that, it's that...I don't know...once you've been in Amsterdam and you've been in some weird magazine shop and you see some title like Hond Seks [literally translated as "dog sex," by which he means "sex with dogs] you just don't want to go to that part of town anymore.

GQ: Hold on, you've just compared acting a bit overemotionally to-

RDJ: -To bestiality! Yeah. I'm sorry, but they're both these kind of grotesque things. I don't want to say they're grotesque, but I have a reaction to it. I know you go there and you do it and it works and people eat it up, but...

GQ: You're talking about bestiality, I presume.

RDJ: Now, I'm not saying there isn't a genuine connection between these people and their animals. And that they're not sad when they go, the next morning...

Perfect metaphor. Full of the elucidation and compassion about humans fucking dogs that all metaphors should have.

Here are some more fun facts from this fun story:

  • He "habitually" carries around a small suitcase that contains, among weird shit: antiparasitics and antivirals, "some kind of chemical if he happens to eat bread" (probably Ipecac) and a solid-gold Iron Man helmet head. About that head, the actor says, "It is funny, dude. I do contemplate this thing."
  • The three weeks before his Iron Man screen test were "a time of focused preparation and of 'spiritual/ ritualistic processes' that he still considers private and prefers not to detail."
  • After spending about 20 years in Hollywood churning out flop after flop, he's in the middle of a hot streak, repeatedly striking gold in recent years with the Iron Man franchise, the Sherlock Holmes franchise and Tropic Thunder. Here is how Robert Downey Jr. explains his success: "We work weekends. This is not a 'Monday through Friday and then let's go and party in Aspen' thing. We work weekends."
  • He keeps a metal robot on his patio. It holds an ax and a potato peeler. "Which I think is pretty awesome," says Downey. "He might kill you, or we might make some string fries together."
  • He is always poking his head in the editing room of Iron Man 3 to give his notes on "pacing...story...payoffs...setups...moments...surprises" and also to irritate people with his vanity. "Once in a while I'm: 'Please, guys-show me another take where I don't look like I'm taking a shit and screaming at the same time.'"
  • It's "just a fact" that he will one day win an Oscar; "I, personally, would be shocked if we went to the end of the tape now and I didn't have at least one."
  • His perky Iron Man franchise contract allowed him to make about $50 million for the first installment of the mega-grossing Avengers offshoot. To make about a thousand times more dollars for one movie than the average U.S. household makes in a full year, Downey "just showed up, hit my marks." He adds, "It was very easy-it was so easy I didn't see how it could work." He is smiling as he says this.
  • He owns two cats (Monty and D'Artagnan), four alpacas (Fuzzy, Baby, Madre, and Dandy) and two pygmy goats (Trigger and Memo). There is no indication that he has made porn with any of them.

GQ: "RD3"

[Image via Getty]