Downey has noted that his recreational drug use in the 1980s did not spiral into a full-blown debilitating addiction until he played an addict in Less Than Zero. As the star recently told Starpulse, “Until that movie I took my drugs after work and on the weekends. That changed on Less Than Zero. The role was like the ghost of Christmas Future. I became an exaggeration of the character.” Downey’s subsequent addiction resulted in arrests, incarceration, and the near-demise of his acting career. Nobody wants anything like that to happen again, right?
Cut to three years ago. A rehabilitated Downey was making his comeback, and you cast him as the lead in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, a sly noir subversion that offered one of the best roles of his career. But you just had to sneak in a subplot in which Downey’s character loses a finger and spends the remainder of the film smashed on painkillers. As he notes at one point, “Then and there I made a decision: If it fucking killed me, I would not stop until I got, like, two more Demerol.”
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