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Metro Canada: Robert Downey Jr. holds court with status quote.

Screen Shot 2014-10-10 at 3.30.45 PMBy Richard Crouse – Metro Canada

Interviewers love talking with Robert Downey Jr., not just because he’s one of the biggest movie stars in the world, but also because he’s a one-man quote machine.

Walking into a room full of Canadian reporters to chat up his latest film, The Judge, he’s wearing a festooned shirt — and that is the only word that can be used to describe his flamboyant sartorial choice — with a pattern that resembled a bisected tree trunk. More intriguingly he carried a small green, nondescript box.

Asked what was inside he said, “I have distilled socialism in this box. It wasn’t easy. I’m bringing it back to America.”

And the quotes kept coming.

The Judge is a family drama about Hank, a hotshot, big-city lawyer who returns to his hometown for his mother’s funeral. He’s been estranged from his father, Judge Joseph Palmer (Robert Duvall), for years — “He’s dead to me” — but is forced to re-examine everything he knows about his dad when the judge is accused of murder.

Downey says, “I found myself crying all the time,” (great quote No. 2 for those keeping track) during filming, but not because he was reflecting back on his own life. “I got caught up in the reality the movie expresses,” he says. “Hank’s mom’s funeral is every funeral and Hank’s cut-off with his dad is every cut-off that anyone has ever had. It’s not even particularly a father-son story because the judge could have been the mom. I just think about these family dynamics and they light up constellations that are very emotional” (great quote No. 3!).

He describes shooting the movie as a “weird game of Sudoku” (great quote No. 4) in terms of making sure the emotional moments didn’t stack up against one another, blunting their impact.

“You can’t just play 120 catharses in a row,” he says. “I hate it when I see that in movies. It’s like, ‘All right, is everyone always crying in real life?’”

The first step in finding the character meant not allowing his Hollywood persona to bleed into Hank. “That was the first thing I had to smash,” he says.

“Hank is really observing this situation that’s happening around him and to him and he becomes this person who has to go through this terrible and wonderful crucible. It was really just about doing less and less and less and less and I like being busy. I like to talk and I like to be active and all that stuff, so sometimes I felt like I was literally just sitting on my hands.”

He leaves us with one last great quote that sums up his emotional response to the film. “It kicks me in the stomach in the nicest way.”

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