when I visited the IRON MAN set, take one

One thing I’ve been meaning to blog about for months now is when I met Robert Downey Jr. on the set of the movie IRON MAN, which happened, I think, last — May? June? Wow. No one ever uses that cliche, “time flies”, because it isn’t actually true.

It came about in one of those completely out-of-left-field ways which makes living in a city like Los Angeles so…interesting at times, because the city itself seems washed through with a kind of surreality that you finally realize isn’t surreal at all. It’s just what happens when you have a city put together like this one, steeped in everything from ‘wild west’ mythology to the water scandals that made life on the west side even possible, much less one of the most desirable (and thus most expensive) areas in the country, to the hard-sell hucksterism that lured people out here in the first place, so that towns just kind of sprouted pellmell all over the place (‘urban planning’? We laugh in the face of it! hahahahhaha!), to the rise and rise and rise of the film industry, or even to the mass influx of wealthy Persians fleeing Iran during the overthrow of the 1970s (which is why when you go to our local park on a Sunday afternoon, the ‘second language’ you hear being spoken is not Spanish but Farsi), bringing their business sense, ambition, collateral, and a kind of cosmopolitan nostalgia to Beverly Hills, which soon transformed into one of the most elite shopping areas in the world (and a major tourist attraction, the sleek blonde with the three thousand dollar handbag striding in front of a clutch of heavyset tourists in running shoes and fanny packs clucking at how “impatient” everyone is). So what you have, basically, is a reality that just keeps inventing itself as it goes along, and takes you along for the ride. You make a drugstore run and get knocked over by a photographer backpedaling to take a shot of Paris Hilton as she strides serenely out of a jewelry store with her latest BFF in tow. Meanwhile your own BFF kind of slips out of your life when she books a new TV series and gets back together with the international pop star who turns out to live a whole five minutes’ drive from you but rarely likes to leave his house (unless it’s to play soccer or hit the nightlife or do a quick little stint in rehab), and the craziness of her life and the craziness of your life no longer seem to gell. It’s just how it goes. Tra la.

Which is my very long way of saying that one day my husband E gets a call from a friend who said “I’ve been hanging out with this really interesting guy” who of course (of course!) turned out to be RDJ. R. wanted to meet E for ‘research’ into his role as the Iron Man dude, E said sure, and one day R. showed up at the SpaceX building in El Segundo and got the grand tour. At one point they walked into a meeting between some of the SpaceX engineers and NASA folk (SpaceX is rebuilding the space shuttle), after which E got a very bewildered text message from one of the SpaceX guys who was probably speaking on behalf of all of them: “…Was that actually Robert Downey Jr and why was he at that meeting…?” E came home that night and said good things about R. — “He’s very bright, witty, nice guy.” To return the favor, R. had invited E. to visit him on the Iron Man set and so would I by any chance like to tag along. (Naturally my response went along the lines of: well, okay, if you’re going to twist my frigging arm, I suppose I could sacrifice the time if I absolutely must).

I think that was also when E told me that the Tesla — the high-performance, extremely gorgeous, completely electric car* — was going to be in the movie. And not as paid-for product advertising or anything like that: everybody just thinks it would be cool to have the Tesla in the movie (in environmentally-conscious California, the Tesla receives a lot of voluntary support from everybody from George Clooney, who I believe has said he’s going to drive his Tesla to the Oscars, to Arnold Schwarzenegger, who’s hyped up the car and the company so much wherever he goes that some people, including my own father, just assumed he has some kind of financial stake in the company. He doesn’t. Although I do think the crafty man is at least partly trying to deflect attention from the two Hummers he can’t seem to part with. Unless, of course, he’s parted with them already — much like E finally sold off the MacLaren F1 that no magazine article about him could ever not not mention — and I just don’t know it. But I digress).

Anyway. To be continued.

(Off to work on the novel LORD OF BONES, [the BLOODANGEL sequel], which is finally FINALLY approaching the finish line….)

* Some people take up golf in their spare time. Or knitting. Or bonsai-tree making. E plays computer games. And has this electric car company.


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