”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.” - Robert Downey Jr.
“Former troubled actor Robert Downey, Jr., 43, blames his role in 1980s cult film Less Than Zero for fueling his drug addiction. He claims he only took drugs recreationally before he was cast as a cocaine addict in the film. Soon after completing the movie, Downey Jr’s substance abuse worsened and he was jailed at California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison, Corcoran for a year for missing mandatory court-imposed drug tests.”
The 1980’s have always had a reputation for being an era filled with drugs, sex and rock and roll, and many films made about that time period highlight the issues it can cause. Robert Downey Jr. was making a name for himself in the acting world during the era of the ‘Blank Generation’ and truly embodied the stereotypical lifestyle that accompanied this term. Like many other wealthy white Americans during this time he regularly used drugs, however, his involvement with the film adaptation of the novel “Less Than Zero” caused his drug use to spiral out of control and affect both his personal life and career. This is a prime example of an individual in the 1980’s that became addicted to drugs and lost out on a lot of potential career opportunities and was not taken very seriously because of his obnoxious addiction. The effects of the 1980’s for Downey Jr. still exist today and his past will haunt him, like it will do for many others who became so engrossed with the 1980’s lifestyle that it totally consumed them.
The novel by Bret Easton Ellis is highly regarded in the “Blank Fiction” genre.
“Powerful portrait of a lost generation who have experienced sex, drugs, and disaffection at too early an age, in a world shaped by casual nihilism, passivity, and too much money a place devoid of feeling or hope. Clay comes home for Christmas vacation from his Eastern college and re-enters a landscape of limitless privilege and absolute moral entropy, where everyone drives Porches, dines at Spago, and snorts mountains of cocaine. He tries to renew feelings for his girlfriend, Blair, and for his best friend from high school, Julian, who is careering into hustling and heroin. Clay's holiday turns into a dizzying spiral of desperation that takes him through the relentless parties in glitzy mansions, seedy bars, and underground rock clubs and also into the seamy world of L.A. after dark.”