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The Charming Arrogance of Robert Downey, Jr. Reduced To His 10 Best Quotes

By Dustin Rowles | Lists | April 17, 2013 |

By Dustin Rowles | Lists | April 17, 2013 |

I saw an interview with Robert Downey, Jr. — who is already starting his promotional tour for Iron Man 3 — over on Moviefone today, where he was referred to as the Greatest Actor of the Generation. In typically Downey fashion, he didn’t deny it, but he still managed to be arrogant and self-effacing at the same time: “It’s not like this is the greatest swath or generation of actors that has ever come down the pike,” he said.

That’s Robert Downey, Jr., who is certainly one of the greatest [lead] actors of his generation. But he also gives great quote. When you’ve been in the business as long as he has, and when you’ve hit rock bottom a couple of times, spent some days in jail, woke up in stranger’s houses, and made it all the way back to the top, where he’s earning $50 million for Iron Man, you’ve earned the right to some arrogance. And to speak your mind honestly.

Anyway, I dug throughs some old Robert Downey, Jr. quotes — which is a great way to spend your morning, actually — and I came up with my ten favorite as something of a refresher course of Downey’s arrogant charm. We’re going to be seeing a lot of it over the next month, and that is totally OK with me. (I also love that he talks sh*t about Hugh Grant, confirming Jon Stewart’s opinion of Grant: That he’s a huge dick.)


  • On whether he’ll win an Oscar: “As long as I stick around I’m going to end up with a bunch of them anyway as they’re going to run out of people to give them to. And I’m probably going to win it one year when someone else deserves to win it. Why? Because it’s my time, goddamit. And that’s the way sh*t works around here. I’m just an uptight mutt at the top of his game. Welcome to Hollywood, bitch! I’ll see you at the Vanity Fair party and I’ll be holding that golden statue you deserve ‘cause guess what? It happened to me too!”


  • On having not won an Oscar yet: “I, personally, would be shocked if we went to the end of the tape now and I didn’t have at least one… Look, even if I don’t get one directly, eventually they’re just going to have to give me one when I get old. So no matter how you slice it, I’m getting one.”

  • “I’ve become a picky little bitch. I’ve never bothered to plan projects before. I just used to throw the script across the room and say, “Why do they keep sending me this horseshit?” And then I’d start rehearsals two weeks later.”

  • “Tofu is the root of all evil, and there’s only one thing that can change a man’s mind, and that’s a modified Uzi with an extra-long clip.”


  • “I did Air America for two reasons: to be in a movie with Mel Gibson and to make a bunch of money. And then underneath there was the hope that in doing this formulaic thing I would be launched into a whole new realm of opportunity to do A-list movies. By the time we were done, the only positive thing was meeting Mel Gibson.”

  • On Hugh Grant, with whom he worked on 1995’s Restoration: “I just thought he was a dick, that’s all. And I still do. You know, and that could be something that has to do with me, or it could just be that not everyone in this industry is someone I’d care to hang out with.”

  • “I defecated in [Kelly LeBrock’s] trailer, much to the chagrin of Bill Paxton and Robert Rusler. It was a real bad scene. Joel Silver freaked. I never admitted it. Joel said, “Downey, did you do it?” and I said I wish I had. Because I’d been threatening everyone that if they didn’t treat me right, I was going to take a dump in their trailer, or that I’d go take a shit in Joel’s office, on his desk or something.”


  • “As soon as I started smoking heroin instead of smoking coke, everything was different, and I knew it was. And it happened around the time I was doing “Home for the Holidays”. Home for the Holidays is, for me, one of the most relaxed performances in the history of cinema. I can’t attribute that to the fact that I was at a serene place in my life, or that there was a real warm feeling on the set. This is a problem for me because I glamorize this stuff. I can’t say that it wasn’t real dark, real evil and real hurtful to those around me. And yet, practically every take of that film was a print. God bless Jodie Foster. When does she have time to do a handwritten letter telling someone how she genuinely cares about them? She said, “Listen, I’m not worried about you on this film. You’re not losing it or nodding out, and you’re giving a great performance. I’m worried about your thinking you can get away with doing this on another film.”

  • On U.S. Marshals: “Possibly the worst action movie of all time, and that’s just not good for the maintenance of a good spiritual condition. You’ve had a traumatic year, you’ve been practically suicidal — what do you think would be really healing for you? How about like twelve weeks of running around as Johnny Handgun? I think that if you talk to a spirit guide, they would say, ‘That’ll kill you.’ … I thought maybe there was something I was missing, and what I really needed to do was to be in one of those films that I love taking my kid to. It would end up being really depressing. I’d rather wake up in jail for a TB test than have to wake up another morning knowing I’m going to the set of US Marshals.”

  • “Shall I tell you the joys of the Jetta station wagon, dude? It’s low-profile. It’s got it all. The instrumentation, while firmly rooted in the twenty-first century, could easily be mistaken for 1993. The steering wheel has nothing but the steering wheel … The funny thing is, Susan’s and my lifestyle — as much as it’s about home and creating something warm — it’s still an image thing no matter how you slice it, the same way it’s as much of an ego trip to drive the Jetta as it is the Bentley. One’s a judgment on the other, and one’s a counterjudgment, and God bless the Prius, but that ain’t me.”