James Toback, who previously wrote Bugsy, Love and Money, The Gambler, and directed the documentary Tyson, among other things, who’s one of the all-time windiest Hollywood blowhards, recently made a documentary with Alec Baldwin called Seduced and Abandoned. The idea of the film was that he and Alec Baldwin would pitch a film to financiers at Cannes, purportedly a riff on Last Tango in Paris called Last Tango in Tikrit, a freaky sex comedy starring Alec Baldwin and some to-be-named Hollywood starlet (at one point Neve Campbell) romping around Iraq doing unspeakable things to each other. They would film these pitch meetings to document “the ups and downs of trying to get a movie made in the age of the blockbuster,” as ThePlaylist describes it.
Basically, Toback expects you to be shocked at the venal shallowness of the movie business based on it not wanting to give him $40 million to make a gross sex movie. Ever the charmer, Toback recently did an interview with ThePlaylist in which he basically says that Robert Downey Jr. is more interesting now that he’s sucked dicks for crack. I mean, I think? You figure it out:
Right. Several times during the movie you’re seen pitching new more commercially viable leads, changing the plot and basically making any compromise to get the movie made.
Let me tell you a story. “Two Girls And A Guy” [Toback’s 1997 film starring starring Robert Downey Jr., Heather Graham and Natasha Gregson Wagner] grew out of very specific circumstances. I wanted to make a movie. I hadn’t made a movie in a while and was getting restless. Downey [was just] getting out of prison and knowing most of those guys—it’s true of Mike Tyson too—when they’re getting out of prison is the best time to get them.
In the case of someone like Downey, who was filled with these sort of precious cute fake mannerisms, they’re purged of them. You know now Downey can’t have an authentic moment if you f*cking sit there for three weeks. He’s not capable of it. He goes on Jimmy Kimmel, everything’s f*cking air, it’s all, “Yes maybe that could be. I was with the Mrs. the other day…” I mean everything is just completely phony bullshit from beginning to end. But right after 11 months of prison with about 200 dicks sucked in return for a lot of crack, you know there’s a totally different reality and that Downey is fascinating to watch. [ThePlaylist]
Speaking of different realities, I’d be interested to experience the reality where Robert Downey Jr. is all inauthentic air and James Toback is a candid straightshooter, just to see what it’s like in that guy’s brain for a few minutes. It’s the same kind of brain that thinks, “Can you believe these proles only want to see comic books and superhero movies while my awesome pitch about Alec Baldwin fisting Neve Campbell on the Tigris languishes on the vine?!”
I’ve re-read the question and answer ten times or so now trying to figure out how Toback got from the challenges of movie-making to Robert Downey Jr. sucking dick for crack, and the sucking-dick-for-crack thing just seems to be an out growth of Toback’s tendency to take any relatively straightforward question and turn it into a long, self-serving story with at least three random name drops that prove what a genius he is. The twist ending of Seduced and Abandoned is that James Toback had conversations with at least 10 people and none of them ended up stabbing themselves in the eye with a shrimp fork.