Hot ’80s faces to watch: Young actor Robert Downey, Jr

Robert Downey Jr in Less Than Zero - 1987
Back in the late ’80s, who would have thought that the kid who acted in a random handful of films would, a couple decades later, be one of America’s biggest movie stars? Of course, Robert Downey Jr has since gone on to play the lead in several films, including the title characters in both Sherlock Holmes and Iron Man.

robert downey jr profile jan 1988

Faces to watch

Robert Downey, Jr

“Everything changes my ideas about acting,” admits 22-year-old Robert Downey, Jr. “I feel like I’m raking up a lawn wherever I go, and I’m just now starting to get a pile together. Maybe a wind will come along and blow it all away.”

Currently starring in the film version of the bleak 1985 bestseller Less Than Zero, with Andrew McCarthy and Jami Gertz, the handsome ex-Saturday Night Live star has no reason to worry about the pile of movie credits that he’s accumulated.

Besides The Pick-Up Artist with Molly Ringwald, Robert has two other projects lined up for release in early ’88: Johnny Be Good, with Anthony Michael Hall, and Rented Lips, with Martin Mull and Jennifer Tilly.

Despite its glitzy wrapping, Less Than Zero seems far from the usual upbeat, mindless teen fare. It deals with the lifestyles of the rich, young, and burned-out of Beverly Hills.

“We just wanted to make it as hard core as possible,” Robert tells SPLICE. “I think we just tried to make it not quite as dark as the book. We show the other side of these people: their laughter, enjoyment, and satisfaction. I think without that, it would just be an hour and a half of somber depression.”

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Robert Downey Jr in Less Than Zero - 1987

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