Seriously. And I hadn't even asked. But he wanted us to believe that he didn't have that in common with the character he played in his new movie, Less Than Zero.
Less Than Zero was such a truly 1980s movie, a decade for his "bad boy" behavior.
Remember when he was a cast member on NBC's Saturday Night Live in the mid '80s? Robert Downey Jr. got his share of "bad boy" press because of his party drug behavior. But one could never say that he lacked talent. I admit that I was a bit irritated because he was so late showing up. But I was impressed with that performance. I am so glad he got control of himself and gave us even better performances. I did the DTST (Danny Thomas Spit Take) with my soda watching his comic brilliance in Tropic Thunder, directed by co-star Ben Stiller. It's one of Downey's Oscar-nominated roles. He deserved that Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination. His work as the vain but vapid movie actor shooting a war movie on location was, alone, worth the price of the movie ticket.
My other favorite Robert Downey Jr. movie performances are in Soapdish, Wonder Boys, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Zodiac and the current Iron Man franchise. One day, I'll get to rent Chaplin. I hear he's outstanding as silent screen legend, Charlie Chaplin. I'm an uncle now. My two young nephews totally loved him in Iron Man 3. Millions of others seem to be loving him too based on the Iron Man 3 box office reports.
I'm so glad he conquered that pain in his heart, let some light in and got good roles to put his versatility on display.
As for his "I've never done drugs" statement on my show way back when, a future guest came on who'd seen the show. Off-camera, he said to me "Oh, please. He was the biggest pusher at Hebrew camp."
I cannot tell you who broke me up laughing when he made that remark with a totally deadpan expression. Like Robert Downey Jr., he's still working. He stars on a very popular TV series.
I'm eager to see Iron Man 3. And Chaplin.
By the way...if you want a real edgy DVD double feature one weekend, rent Tropic Thunder. But, first, watch James Whitmore star in the controversial 1964 race drama based on a real life story. The independent film is called Black Like Me, based on the autobiographical book of the same name.