Robert Downey Jr. graces the May cover of Men’s Journal in which he talks about how an ass-kicking martial art helped him find his focus and resurrect his career, professional BASE jumper Jeb Corliss on his attempt to execute the perilous no-chute landing, and an inside look at the brutal, murderous turf war over a libido-enhancing aphrodisiac fungus in Nepal. Below are some other highlights from his interview with MJ!
On advice for practicing Wing Chun, a martial arts discipline: “Seriously, don’t worry about looking like an idiot. It’s like life: The less self-conscious you are, the better it works. And remember, lots of ice and Advil afterward. Trust me on that one.”
On how Wing Chun helps him cope: “This is all about focus. Wing Chun teaches you what to concentrate on, whether you’re here or out in the world dealing with problems. It’s second nature for me now. I don’t even get to the point where there’s a problem.”
On being reluctant to punch a stuntman full in the mouth while filming Sherlock Holmes: “I was like, ‘I can’t or he’s not going to be able to play with his kids this weekend.’ And Guy (Ritchie) was basically saying, ‘He doesn’t have any kids.’ ”
On if he is worried about burnout from filming and promoting films: “You don’t worry about something that has already happened,” he says with resignation. “You don’t need to worry about your car breaking down when you’re already on the side of the street with the hood up. Worrying is done. The hubcaps have already come off going around the corners.”
On being an actor: “This is still art for commerce, at best. I consider myself to be a pain-in-the-ass artist who’s self-aware enough to still be tolerable. While I have a little bit of juice, I try not to rub it in anyone’s face, because it’s just disgusting. And I use the term ‘artist’ loosely.”
On his Iron Man character Tony Stark’s relationship with his dead father: “We’re having Tony go back and really deal with the ramifications of his lack of connection to his dad, his almost professional-stock, prop-smile answers, and how he’d been using Dad’s memory as a weapon against others. He’s really feeling hugely conflicted by assumptions about his dad’s feelings about him and whether or not there’s any real connection between them at the most basic level, which is: You’re not here anymore for this. Is there something you have for me, is there something you left for me, is there some sort of bread-crumb trail I can find that will help fill me at this point in my life?”