In 2003, Robert Downey Jr. was still suffering from addictions when he started filming the fantasy thriller “Gothika”. A feature film that changes the life of the actor, since it allows him to meet his future wife Susan.
Gothika : a psychologist who finds herself interned
For his fifth feature film released in 2004, Mathieu Kassovitz crosses the Atlantic to work with producers Joel Silver and Robert Zemeckis on Gothika. A fantastic thriller in which Halle Berry lends her features to Miranda Grey, a psychologist who deals with women who have killed or injured other people. Following a car accident marked by a disturbing encounter, the heroine wakes up in a cell.
Her colleague Pete Graham (Robert Downey Jr.) reveals to her that she is accused of the murder of her husband Douglas (Charles S. Dutton). While all the elements suggest that she is guilty, Miranda seeks to prove her innocence, convinced that she was possessed by a spirit at the time of the events. At the same time, increasingly terrifying events occur within the psychiatric hospital. In particular, she witnesses the attack on a patient, Chloe Sava (Penélope Cruz), by a man with an imposing tattoo of a woman on fire.
John Carroll Lynch and Bernard Hill complete the cast of this film, with which Robert Downey Jr. begins to climb the slope after a complicated period. Between 1996 and 2002, the drug and alcoholic actor was arrested several times in possession of drugs and goes so far as to serve a six-month prison sentence in Los Angeles. Antics that earned him to be fired from the series Ally McBeal.
An essential meeting for Robert Downey Jr.
At the bottom of the hole in the early 2000s, the actor can count on the support of Mel Gibson, who pays his insurance deposit for the film The Singing Detectivereleased in 2003. In addition, a decisive meeting will help Robert Downey Jr. to regain sobriety and to regain a place in the Hollywood elite by filming for Shane Black (kiss kiss bang bang), Richard Linklater (A Scanner Darkly) or even David Fincher (Zodiac) before landing the now-iconic roles of Tony Stark and Sherlock Holmes.
Robert Downey Jr. believes to be returned from shadow to light thanks to his partner Susan Levin. However, when she met him during the filming of Gothikathe producer and collaborator of Joel Silver for the company Dark Castle Entertainment has no plans to come to the rescue of the fallen star. Asked by the Harper’s Bazaar in 2009, she quips:
Not even a little bit.
She adds :
The only thing I remember about our meeting is thinking he was very strange. (…) I saw him as a brilliant actor, but that didn’t go any further. I saw him more as a teacher or a big brother.
“Susan simply saved my life”
Their relationship takes a romantic turn when Robert Downey Jr. invites Susan Levin over for dinner a few weeks after filming begins. At the time, the actor’s demons were not yet completely behind him. The producer therefore gives him an ultimatumstating in this regard:
I met Darth Vader for a minute. I told her it wasn’t going to work out between us and made it clear to her that to be with me, nothing like that could happen.
On July 4, 2003, the comedian stopped on the Pacific Coast Highway and throw what’s left of his drugs into the ocean. Three years later, the couple married in the Hamptons. In 2010, the star told the Morning that “Susan (him) simply saved his life”.