Film: Rushes from the london film festival

Click to follow
The Independent Culture
IF NOTHING else, director James Toback practises what he preaches. His 1989 feature, The Big Bang, rested upon its interviewees' willingness to tell all, and that's exactly what Toback did when, at an LFF masterclass at the weekend, he dished the dirt on Robert Downey Jr. The troublesome ex-brat-packer stars in Toback's latest release, Two Girls and a Guy, and in a forthcoming Toback film, Black and White.

Toback cast Downey Jr in Two Girls when getting arrested was just about all he could manage. Unfazed, so Toback told the class, by the prospect of handling Downey Jr, the director nevertheless offered a glimpse of what he'd taken on. Downey, it seems, is extremely self-conscious about what he believes is his huge mouth, a fixation which crops up repeatedly in the film's mirror scene. He then riled his co-star, Heather Graham, by rewriting the bathroom scene to become "the most self-serving opening imaginable".

Toback obviously likes a challenge because, as he recounted, Downey Jr's behaviour on the shoot for Black and White grew yet stranger. Playing a gay man married to Brooke Shields, Downey Jr was required to chat up Mike Tyson (as himself) in a nightclub scene. Tyson decked Downey Jr and then proceeded to flirt with Shields. At this point Toback's improvisatory methods went to Downey Jr's head - the wayward star was spotted apparently masturbating while eyeing up Shields's and Tyson's tete-a-tete.