Robert Downey Jr. Honors Late Father With New Film About Parkinson’s Disease

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Robert Downey Jr. admitted it wasn’t always easy making the documentary about his dad, Robert Downey Sr. But there were moments where it helped him appreciate his father.

Sr. debuted over the weekend at the Telluride Film Festival and details Downey’s relationship with his dad, as well as his dad’s decline with Parkinson’s Disease.

“It’s kind of a redemption story that doesn’t have a happy ending, but it’s funny,” Downey Jr. told reporters. And those are my favorite kind of stories.”

Most modern cinema fans know Downey Jr. from his role in Iron Man. But he has shown great versatility as an actor since coming onto the scene as a member of the 1980s Brat Pack, starring in films such as Sherlock Holmes, Zodiac, Chaplin, Wonder Boys, Less Than Zero, A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints and Dolittle, to name just a few.

Robert Downey Jr.’s Dad Robert Downey Sr. Dies At 85

The latest effort, though, is clearly the most personal thing he’s done.

Robert Downey Jr., a director of multiple movies himself, died in 2020 at the age of 85. Downey Jr. said he realized that he was going to lose his father while making Sr.

The film is directed by Chris Smith and shows Downey Jr. trailing his father while his father directs a movie himself. Then, of course, his father begins to succumb to Parkinson’s.

It was Downey Jr.’s wife, Susan Downey, that suggested merging the two things into one documentary.

“Susan was like, ‘We can’t keep doing two movies. This makes no f–ing sense,'” Downey Jr. said, spurning laughter from those attending the festival.

“Susan’s dad passed away, it was right at the top of the pandemic. It’s this weird thing where in Susan processing the loss of her dad — who’s by the way, a f–ing saint — and then dealing with helping me do an homage to my dad. … But I’m a realist and usually the timelines for Parkinson’s, they’re just not good.”

One of the more touching scenes in Sr. involves Downey talking with his therapist after his father had become confined to his bed.

“I’ve got to admit I did not expect to be (onscreen) … losing it with my therapist,” Downey Jr. said. “That’s when I said that nothing’s off limits.”

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