Robert Downey Jr.
's scene-stealing performance in Wonder Boys
is a distressing reminder that he's currently in prison due to his drug addiction.
Co-star Michael Douglas says that during filming, "[Downey] was great. We had no problem whatsoever. I consider Robert the most talented actor of his generation I know. My heart goes out to him. It's an unfortunately long sentencing for someone who only hurt himself."
Director Curtis Hanson (L.A. Confidential) had complete faith in casting Downey: "We had a long talk where I asked him all the tough questions and told him my concerns, and his responses were so heartfelt and sincere about the responsibility he had for his own difficulties [and] the commitment he had for his craft that I came out of the meeting saying, 'Let's hire him.'"
Hanson agrees with Douglas that Downey was a consummate professional during the shoot. He was "not a problem, first onset everyday, 100 percent focused. I was worried about Robert, as were several of us, when the experience was winding down. I had never finished a movie where I didn't go into a depression at the end of shooting."
Sadly, Downey fell off the wagon, and last summer was sentenced to three years in prison ? minus 201 days for time served ? for breaking his parole. He's
expected to be released in November.
Hanson has visited Downey and reports, "It's a really serious prison with murderers and everything else. It's not just because Robert's somebody I care about and is an actor, but to me it's so absurd that [prison] is our society's idea of how to treat people with an addiction." ? Eddie Roche