As you may recall, The Soloist, which stars Robert Downey Jr. and Jamie Foxx, was originally supposed to open in the thick of Oscar season last year. However, the powers that be at DreamWorks instead decided to put all of their Academy Award eggs in the Revolutionary Road basket, leaving director Joe Wright’s follow-up to Atonement to languish on the shelf for a few months and accumulate bad buzz. In particular, Jamie Foxx’s performance as the homeless musical prodigy Nathaniel Ayers has been labeled by a number of websites as the actor’s “full retard” moment. So much so that an unnamed journalist at a recent Los Angeles press conference for The Soloist actually had the audacity to ask Robert Downey Jr. what his Method-acting character from Tropic Thunder, the very same one who uttered the phrase “Never go full retard” to Ben Stiller’s Academy Award–obsessed action star, would think of Foxx’s performance. And, as you might expect, Downey Jr. was not pleased.
According to the recently relaunched Movieline (congrats, fellas!), here’s how the exchange went down:
First Journalist: I’ve got to ask. What do you think [Tropic Thunder Method actor] Lincoln O’Siris would think of Jamie’s performance in this?
Robert Downey Jr.: Next question.
Robert Downey Jr.: By the way I could just say that to all them.
First Journalist: Do you think he’d approve?
Robert Downey Jr.: I have no idea how to even begin answering that question. And by the way — I want to have a good time. I want to have a great time, just that one tied my fucking shoelaces together right off the bat. What else you got?
While Robert Downey Jr. certainly did the classy thing by refusing to answer the journalist’s (admittedly hilarious) line of questioning, we believe that this is one of those instances where a “no comment” speaks infinitely louder than a quick dismissal would have. We’re still (mildly) interested in seeing the film, but after seeing the now seemingly mild-mannered Ayers appear on 60 Minutes last month, it’ll mainly be to judge for ourselves whether or not Foxx has committed a spiritual tribute to Simple Jack on celluloid.