Robert Downey Jr. is the highest paid actor of 2015. Before we even begin to delve into his comments regarding Indie film, I think it’s important that we remember this fact. This is not to say that he doesn’t belong in the Indie film sphere, but it is to say that it’s not where he’s thrived. He’s currently the face of a multi-billion dollar Avengers franchise that is about as far from independent as possible. So when he criticizes indie film it’s not too surprising.
After the release of Avengers: Age of Ultron, Robert Downey Jr. was asked if he ever desired to return to working in independent film. The answer was a very passionate, “no.” And who can blame him? There’s no reason for him to take a chance on a labor of love now. He complains about the struggles of independent film, anin doing so hits on some stereotypes and some realities, but he doesn’t go very far to sugar coat his message.
If I'm honest with myself, his complaints are valid for someone in his position. Independent film is usually reserved for those who want to take that chance on a story that could blossom into something larger than originally intended. Why would RDJ ever want to experience this again? He's living the life that many dream for. He doesn't need the fulfillment of the risk and reward. Beyond that, I understand that if someone asked me to pay for craft services on a project, I’d be turned off to the whole process.
The underlying tone of his reaction leaves me with something other than understanding of the valid complaints though. It feels like a lack of, or altered work ethic. RDJ has been privileged enough to be in the business for a long time. His name has gotten him roles and lost roles. But in the end, it’s been a long time since he’s had to dig deep and create something from nothing. I think that with all of the bad that comes with Indie film, RDJ may be missing the point somewhat.
Indie film IS about that not exaggerated, not glamorous, rough and dirty struggle. You're creating something that feels impossible and in many ways it's impossible to guarantee a product. But you do it because of the vision and the struggle to create something worthwhile in the eyes of a stranger. Why would RDJ want to work on his Birthday or Fourth of July if he could be on vacation enjoying the royalties off of action figure sales and product endorsements?
If we're all honest with ourselves, we couldn't have expected any other response.
Bottom Line: Regardless of what I think, RDJ is the highest paid actor of 2015 and he isn’t hurt by not doing more indie film. Indie film is hurt by the bad name that RDJ is giving it. It's about more than he's giving it credit for.
Don’t ask Avengers star Robert Downey Jr. to be in your low budget indie film
Via Entertainment Weekly:
…Allow Downey to explain as only Downey can, which includes an imaginary conversation between him and an indie filmmaker:
“Because they’re exhausting and sometimes they suck and then you just go, ‘What was I thinking?’ But I’m interested in doing all different kinds of movies. Sometimes the little movies are the ones that wind up taking the most out of you because they’re like, ‘Hey, man, we’re just running a couple of days behind. Do you think you can stay through your birthday and then come back on the fourth of July…”
(cover photo credit: snap from Entertainment Weekly)