Robert Downey Jr. When Named His ‘Less Than Zero’ Character an ‘Exaggeration of Myself’

These times, Robert Downey Jr. is on top rated of the earth. The 55-12 months-old is a person of the highest-compensated actors in the planet, earning tens of millions for actively playing Iron Guy in Avengers: Endgame and other MCU films, as properly as turns in motion pictures these kinds of as Dolittle. But not so lengthy back, he’d been mostly prepared off. 

After mounting to fame in the 1980s, Downey scored an Oscar nomination for participating in Charlie Chaplin in 1992’s Chaplin. He went on to star in motion pictures these as All-natural Born Killers, Home for the Holidays, and U.S. Marshals. But drug habit and difficulties with the law approximately torpedoed his profession. In a 2003 job interview, he pointed to his position in the 1987 motion picture Less Than Zero as one particular induce for his escalating substance abuse. 

Robert Downey Jr. played a doomed drug addict in ‘Less Than Zero’ 

Robert Downey Jr | Dave J Hogan/Getty Photographs

Associated: Robert Downey Jr.’s Addiction Nearly Ruined His Romance With His Wife

Downey received his feet damp as an actor as a baby by showing up in movies designed by his father, Robert Downey Sr. In the 1980s, he landed roles in films these as Firstborn, Tuff Turf, and Odd Science. He also grew to become loosely involved with the Brat Pack, a group of young actors that also incorporated Emilio Estevez and Rob Lowe. 

It was when he was filming A lot less Than Zero (a film based on a e-book by literary Brat Pack star Bret Easton Ellis) that Downey has claimed his drug use grew to become additional severe. In the movie, he performs Julian Wells, the finest good friend of Andrew McCarthy’s key character. Julian is a drug addict who is reduce off by his wealthy moms and dads and compelled into prostitution by his drug vendor Rip (James Spader).  

Robert Downey Jr. mentioned his drug use got worse whilst filming ‘Less Than Zero’ 

Sarah Jessica Parker with Robert Downey Jr
Sarah Jessica Parker with then-boyfriend Robert Downey Jr. | Barry King/Sygma/Sygma by way of Getty Visuals

Downey commenced experimenting with medications and alcoholic beverages at a young age. His father initially encouraged him to attempt marijuana when he was 6 decades old, in accordance to a 2008 report in The Guardian

“You’d have to go way, way back,” the Sherlock Holmes star instructed The Guardian in 2003 when asked about the origins of his habit. But he named Considerably less Than Zero as a turning level. 

“Until that film, I took my prescription drugs right after get the job done and on the weekends,” Downey claimed. “Maybe I’d transform up hungover on the established, but no more so than the stuntman. That adjusted on Significantly less Than Zero. I was participating in this junkie-f****t male and, for me, the purpose was like the ghost of Christmas future. The character was an exaggeration of myself. Then issues adjusted and, in some strategies, I became an exaggeration of the character. That lasted much for a longer time than it wanted to last.”

Downey went to rehab a number of occasions in advance of his large-profile 1996 arrest. When he was stopped for rushing, officers discovered a handgun, cocaine, and heroin in the automobile. A several months later, he manufactured headlines yet again after wandering into a neighbor’s residence and passing out in a child’s bed. He was in and out of prison and rehab for the subsequent a number of decades in advance of obtaining sober in 2003. 

How to get help: In the U.S., make contact with the Compound Abuse and Mental Wellness Products and services Administration helpline at 1-800-662-4357.

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