I don’t normally write about celebrity nonsense. What actors and actresses do in their private lives, offscreen, might be a curiosity to me, but it is none of my business. And I am certainly not interested in covering their personal lives. This isn’t the Huffington Post or TMZ. But when I saw that Robert Downey, Jr. (Iron Man) walked out of an interview, I had to see what the rumpus was.
Apparently a reporter, Krishnan Guru-Murthy, started questioning RDJ about his long-ago past, including his struggle with drugs and his time in prison. Any (good) journalist knows that there is a time and a place for certain questions. Robert Downey, Jr. was there to promote Avengers: Age of Ultron. He was not being interviewed for a feature story about his life. Usually someone as famous as he is handpicks who they want to write up a feature story about him. He wasn’t there to talk about the ups and downs in his life.
The interview begins like any other press junket intervew. Guru-Murthy asks questions about Tony Stark’s transformation across several movies, as well as what Robert Downey, Jr. brought to the character. But at about 3:45 the interview takes a turn. Guru-Murthy starts asking RDJ questions that probe into the darker places in his life. Now, whether or not Robert Downey, Jr.’s past is a sore subject, I don’t know. His past is just that: his past. I compare the interview to being asked about things I said or did in high school, or college, or even in my 20s. (And I did some stupid things. We all have.)
Robert Downey, Jr. tries gently to remind the interviewer that his quotes from 2008 are not relevant today. However, Krishnan Guru-Murthy will not drop the subject. At 5:49 you can see Robert Downey, Jr. make a decision. You can almost imagine that he’s telling himself that, if Guru-Murthy takes one more step, it’s over. You can see it in his eyes. RDJ starts looking off-camera, no doubt to his publicist, wondering “WTF?” Inevitably, the interviewer does go one step too far, and Robert Downey, Jr. ends the interview and walks out.
RDJ handled the distasteful situation rather gracefully. He could’ve yelled. He could’ve cursed, like Cate Blanchett did recently during a press junket interview for Cinderella. He gave Guru-Murthy fair warning and made good on his implied promise; he left.
I read that this isn’t the first time Krishnan Guru-Murthy has surprised a subject with personal and inappropriate questions. Yes, he has every right to ask those questions. But Robert Downey, Jr. has every right to do exactly what he did.
And not for nothing, thanks to Robert Downey, Jr.’s back-end deals on his Marvel movies, he could easily buy the network and fire everyone in that room. I’m on your side, Robert Downey, Jr. And I bet a lot of other fans are, too.