Friday, December 4, 2009

Genius is Next to Insanity

So a few nights ago my friend Tony Sago invited me to an advanced screening of Sherlock Holmes with a Q&A afterwards with Robert Downey Jr. This is one of the many "perks" of living in LA and working in the film industry. But as a writer it is also extremely advantageous because it allowed me a small glimpse at an actor, who I believe to be an utter genius on screen.

Now that is a huge statement to make and I know that there are people who will both agree and disagree with me but, to me, it really is hard to deny his talent. Just for the record, I'm a huge Sherlock Holmes fan. My mother introduced me to the stories when I was kid. I'm actually half way through the second book of collected stories (which I highly recommend to anyone who hasn't read them.)

I found the movie amazing. I really did. It was funny, clever, well performed, and beautifully shot. It is one of my favorite films thus far for 2009. However, afterwards, was where the real inspiration for me happened: the interview with Robert Downy Jr. Now, I won't say that it was life altering or anything like that. But I did find it inspiring in many ways. None of us are strangers to his past. His drug and alcohol abuse, the arrests. It was hard to see someone we loved on screen for so many years fall so low. But he did the unthinkable...he recovered, became sober, and began acting again and came back with such force. It was like he needed that period of his life to regain confidance or, perhaps, a better perspective on life.

Listening to Robert talk the other night was one of the few moments in life that I will always treasure. He was very witty, charming, and most engaging. He literally took over the interview with fun stories and quips of being on the set while filming the movie, what it took to prepare, how he got the role. There is no doubt that Robert Downey, Jr is zany in real life. It may possibly explain why is presence on screen is so larger than life. And I've just often wondered if Genius is next to insanity.

I suppose that could be so. I mean, look at the late Michael Jackson. He was in scandal after scandal after scandal. Near the end it seemed as if he had become just a caricature of himself. He lived an extravagant life; living in a mansion that he had turned into an amusement park. Strange as it was, we as fans were always intrigued by the way he lived his life. It was, dare I say, almost surreal. But his music, it seemed to speak to so many across the globe. There isn't a Michael Jackson song that no one doesn't know. He was an icon who had reason beyond the stratosphere when he died.

I suppose that you can still be extremely creative as an artist and NOT have to be insane. In fact, I know that you can. But I wonder if there is a fine line between the two and I wonder just exactly how they both truly affect one another.


judy said...

I really enjoyed your comments about seeing Sherlock Holmes and Robert Downey jr. Is there any way I can email you privately? thanks!

Michael Coulombe said...

Well the email for the blog is:

Feel free to email me there.

Sheila Marie said...

I think you can be creative without the insanity but not necssarily genius. There has to be an all-consuming process to your thinking that looks a little crazy to the rest of the world who need security and balance and boundaries. Every innovation in both science, math or the arts takes some crazy!

Darryl said...

What a fortunate opportunity to have. To be able to get that close in such an intimate setting is definitely a dream come true.