Inside The Twisty-Turny Mind Of Robert Downey Jr.

I've loved RDJ so long. Since Weird Science. Since The Pick-Up Artist. Since Less Than Zero. But this interview with Esquire? I can't understand what the hell he's going on about half the time.

It's interesting how he was homeless for a long time, how his catchphrase is, "daddy's leaving and he's taking the money," how, at 44, he still sorta feels like a latch-key kid afraid of losing it all. It's cool how now he actually has cash — a Bentley, a Rolex, a gorgeous house with a square toilet — after losing it after drugs and prison and so on. And he's thinking about having a baby: "The ultimate artifact of our love. In a onesie."

But some of these quotes!

The guy from Esquire, Scott Raab, says something about how he's glad to see RDJ and how far he's come. RDJ replies:

"This morning I was feeling this overwhelming sense of gratitude. I was having an argument with myself, and the thing that came into my head was, If two plus three is five, then five minus three is two - do you fucking get it?"

Um, what?

Then they talk about Iron Man 2, Sherlock Holmes and a possible Sherlock 2, plus a comedy, Due Date, from the guy who did The Hangover. Here's how RDJ explains his pacing:

"The whole pacing thing has come up in front of the review board - and I'm the one who said that if I don't take a break after Iron Man 2, there is something desperately wrong here. I'm not a guy who in order to be well I need to have one or another carrot in front of me the whole time. I can't keep going at this stride and be okay - but I can keep checking all the dials. This is a big, glorious impasse - but Mama needs a new pair of shoes, dude."

(Apparently "Mama," chair of the review board, is producer Susan Levin Downey, his wife. But without that information, it just sounds like there are imaginary people inside the man's head.)

Here's RDJ on his career:

"I hit my stride later than most folks. A couple years ago, it really was a big old hip-hip-hooray and let's get somethin' shakin' here. Then pfffffff - it reorganized at this higher level…"

Here: A restaurant analogy, followed by a sports analogy:

"I hand it to any and everyone who has made it past their late thirties and has any sense of contentment, because you know so much, and the anxiety can be so overwhelming - and managing the anxiety is a skill set that seems like a menu that changes every day. My insanity is thinking that somehow or another I was responsible - personally, directly responsible - for altering the course of things that have us sitting here on this deck. There's so many other factors in this - so many other people and past relationships, my kid and my folks, and the centerpiece of it all, Susan. It's like I know what happened, and I know that I got the ball and ran with it, and hip-hip-hip, and then like they're saying, 'Look - before you blow out a knee, we'd like to give you a bunch of endorsements,' and I go, 'Great.'

The truth of the matter is, it's always been like this. It hasn't gone up from down; it's just that it's finally got wide enough that I can be contained."

A surfing analogy followed by a car racing analogy:

"I'm not paranoid anymore. I'm not fearful. It's interesting to be surfing this tremendous crisis of capitalism - and I know there's a coral reef under me and I don't want to hang ten, but I do think that when you're in the pole position, that's when you try to beat your best personal time. So I really wanted to be aggressive about an artifact."

To sum up:

"My whole story - there's such immense satisfaction to see past that. I found my way out of the woods by a subtler and subtler trail of bread crumbs - now I'm just in the business of the business, and the business of my life, and the mind-blowing opportunities - and if nothing else, dude, I really love the way these ceilings look."

Robert Downey Jr.: The Second Greatest Actor in the World, Downey on Downey: 18 New Quotes from Robert Downey Jr. [Esquire]