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A "Soloist' chat with Robert Downey Jr.

Robert Downey Jr. talked about how his upbringing affects his outlook and about the theme of his new movie in a phone interview last week from his home in Los Angeles.

Your dad was one of the wildest maverick directors of the 1960s indie movement, the man behind satirical cult classics like the advertising agency farce "Putney Swope." What was it like growing up around that kind of iconoclasm?

It's everything, honestly. I have "Putney Swope" on my iPod. Sometimes I'll watch it and just go, "My God, what crazy stock I'm from." And what a blessing, you know?

There are only a handful of actors like Johnny Depp and you who can navigate a long career and yet consistently stay fresh. What's the secret?

Oh, gosh. It must be my new depilatory cream. Honestly, if you stay engaged it stays engaging. There you go.

In your new film, you and Jamie Foxx both play radically isolated characters. In your mind, who's "The Soloist"?

Joe [director Joe Wright] would say he first thought it was Jamie and then realized it was me. We would all say we thought the film was about friendship and about mental illness. But we all now say the film is about faith. That's what makes things interesting. I love the theme.

- Minneapolis Star-Tribune


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