Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Unscripted and Ungracious

As I attempt to steer this blog back on course after my recent excursions into political ranting - which formed a vital part of my mourning process following the general election result - I've found myself musing as to the conduct of Hollywood stars and the apparent belief of some that they are somehow beyond reproach for their conduct.  I refer, of course, to Robert Downey Jr and the way he took umbrage at a Channel Four News interviewer having the audacity to ask him questions about his past and which were unconnected to the movie he apparently thought he was there to plug.  His reaction - exiting the studio stage left in a walk out - serves to emphasise the closeted world in which many of his ilk live in, where they honestly seem to believe that they only attend press interviews to advertise their latest cinematic venture and that it should ultimately be about some fawning journo telling them how wonderful they are.  Because they spend their lives living in a bubble where their egos are constantly massaged by studios, producers, directors and hangers on, in order to keep the 'talent' onside and minimise the risk of star tantrums which could expensively delay already expensive movie projects.

Consequently, when the interview goes 'off script' and they find they can't control the agenda, they react badly.  In Downey's case, it was the posing of questions about his substance-abusing past which resulted in his walk out.  But really, with such a spectacular and well documented history of drug and alcohol abuse, including some jail time, did he honestly think that his past wouldn't be a legitimate area of discussion?  Particularly when he was being interviewed for a news programme, by an news reporter, rather than an entertainment reporter.  Surely he couldn't have thought that it was just going to be another puff piece?  His attempts to defend his walk out were, frankly, pathetic.  The main one was that the film he was plugging - another 'Avengers' movie - was a family orientated film, so discussion of things like drugs in the interview was inappropriate.  Like I said, pathetic.  By his own logic, if the film was so family orientated, then it is legitimate to ask why it then stars someone with such a public history of substance abuse?  Hardly a good role model for children.  In the end, his only response (once he was safely back in the US) was to publicly call the interviewer in question names, (before also going on to be rude about independent film makers because their low budget product is just so inferior to films about people in their underwear saving the earth from aliens).  But we shouldn't be surprised at Mr Downey's ungracious response to being asked about his past - I recall a similar reaction when Ricky Gervais made reference to his sojourn in various rehab clinics when he was presenting some award ceremony or other.  I suppose it must be shocking to someone like Downey to find that all that wealth and adulation, not to mention the services of expensive lawyers and PR firms, can't rewrite his personal history and that, like us mere mortals, he's stuck with his past misdemeanours for life.



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