The other day, Robert Downey Jr. made a statement about how he has no desire to work on indie films because of the lack of professionalism and talent, the extra hard work involved and the general mediocrity of the end product. I’m not usually too over the top worried about what Hollywood types say regarding those of us on the outer realms of film success, but for some reason this little news bite totally irked me. Like, bugged me to the point that I had to walk around and rant about it to my friends and family and, God help me, argue about it on Facebook.
The question I kept coming back to after these sometimes heated discussions was, “Why?” Why do I care? It’s not like I had some fantasy worked up in my head of RDJ agreeing to act in one of my films. What’s the big deal? He wasn’t pointing his $75Millionayear finger directly at me and saying “You suck.”
Or was he?
The time, effort and money indie filmmakers put into creating their films is GIGANTIMOUS (real urban dictionary word, Google it) relative to the amount of time, effort and money that they have available to them. To flippantly brush all of our efforts aside and tell us that we’re wasting our time…and his…felt personal and more than just a little mean.
After all, we’ve stuck with RDJ as a whole. He’s a bit of a darling among most of the artistic filmmakers that I know, despite the fact that he’s churning out over hyped comic book movies like there’s some kind of world shortage…which there’s not. For him to tell us that most of us are “inexperienced and lame” was his honest opinion and one that ripped away at the veil of polite disdain Hollywood has for the indie artist, exposing something we indie folks don’t like to admit.
We’re not one of them.
One of our unspoken fears is now out in the open, in black and white, for everyone to see. We no longer have to wonder what many of those we’ve idolized for years are saying when we’re not in the room, which is almost always, because we never get the VIP pass. Now we know. Most of us, not all of us, but most of us, are somewhat of a joke to the Hollywood elite. They don’t look at us and envy or admire our small attempts at being filmmakers. They really don’t look at us at all.
So, what to do with this knowledge?
I, for one, am done ranting. I hold no ill will towards RDJ as a person, although I will probably be less likely to praise his acting talent with as much gushing adoration as I have in the past. That may be petty, but I never claimed to be perfect. And I’m not going to pay money to see any of the multiple Avenger movies barreling our way in the near future. However, to be totally honest, I probably wouldn’t have gone to see them anyway.
I guess all I can do is stick to my current path, making movies with as much care and cash that I can pull together. I’ll be as professional and talented as I know how to be and, with any luck, I may be part of something that turns out to be pretty good. Then, one day, when RDJ and I are at the same party, he for Avengers 15 and me for my little-movie-that-could, and he turns to me and says “Your movie was, at best, mediocre”, I will be able to look him straight in the eye, with the confidence that making your own movie in your own way gives you, and say, “Ditto.”