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THE MOVIE: The Soloist

Robert Downey Jr • Jamie Foxx • Catherine Keener
DIRECTOR: Joe Wright

Robert Downey Jr Robert Downey Jr
… takes on the role of real-life LA Times journalist Steve Lopez, who while walking through Skid Row hears a violin expertly played by a homeless person, Nathaniel Ayers (Jamie Foxx), and realizes there’s a human interest story that needs to be told.

U.S. RELEASE: April 24 2009, Nationwide
• Rated: PG-13


How do you decide how much you want to get to know the person when you’re portraying them?:
Steve wouldn’t allow me to interview him at a distance or at close range. We had a cigar together and we talked. He wanted to tell me that to impersonate him would be to do a disservice to the movie.

What did you bring to the role?:
I knew that the technical prowess and the degree of difficulty was going to fall on Jamie and that I was to observe and report on that as if I was an audience member. Joe Wright said it was really important that I do next to nothing and listen a lot, which is very counterintuitive to my kind of disposition, so it was an equal challenge for me in that way.

What was it like working with Joe Wright, the director?:
We were in rehearsals for about three weeks, which is unheard of and Joe came on the heels of Atonement and all the buzz of that. We were making a movie in LA about LA, but I think Joe [who’s British] opened our eyes and we opened his, and we all wound up becoming centered around what Jamie was literally going through, with what he was trying to communicate. It was incredibly difficult to watch.

What was Jamie like to work with, did he keep in character?:
Jamie Foxx and Robert Downey JrWe would be at Disney Hall and he was entertaining the hundred extras we had there while we were night shooting. It was the scene where he had to have a meltdown, so he would be out of character, cracking jokes, it was like he was throwing a party in Miami for these people. Then they’d say, ‘Rolling,’ and he’d have this complete psychotic break, literally. But I think [his way out of the character] was to be himself. We were always trying to infuse it with a sense of ‘how can we be us somehow in the movie?’

Can you give us anything on Iron Man or Sherlock Holmes?:
We just started Iron Man 2. We are going to make a kick ass follow-up to the movie that you all enjoyed. I got to see some footage from Sherlock Holmes at ShoWest when they were introducing it. It was really well received. We’re really excited about it.

Robert Downey Jr

Written by Judy Sloane. Back to top

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