You know, the fave certainly IS a gift. That becomes clearer to me since I’ve had the privilege of attending several events where he’s been present, from private charity events and public appearances in the L.A. area to Marvel movie red carpets to yesterday’s “Our Town” reading in Atlanta. He has such a good and positive attitude about his fans – whenever he has a chance, he WILL come over and greet the fans and sign autographs. Especially for kids, but really for everyone. Last night in Atlanta, for example: he didn’t gain any extra media attention for coming over to the fans lining the sidewalk and signing autographs. He did it for us. He didn’t have to – no one else did. There was no media – they didn’t credential any press outlets, because it was a charity event and none of the actors wanted publicity for themselves.
The fans had been getting pushed further and further back and away from the stage door all afternoon (I had arrived around 1pm, and found some people there who’d been waiting since early that morning. A crush of fans showed up, too, in the hour or so just before the doors to the theater opened to the public.) So there were possibly around 100 fans there by the time the stars started arriving. ALL the stars went right inside via the stage door – except one. RDJ got out of his car and jogged right over to the fans, talking to everyone as he worked his way down the line signing posters, Funko figures, Iron Man masks and, oh, my LAX -> ATL plane ticket (I was scrounging in my purse for my theater ticket, but the only thing I could come up with was my plane ticket. So.. (”Oh, this is a real plane ticket. At least I THINK IT IS,” he joked.)
Such positive energy radiates off him. I think doing the fan interaction is in some ways his method of giving back – this is a guy who was down for so long, and although he did some great roles at the time, he was in a world of self-inflicted hurt. So he remembers that the fan support for him has never wavered. Even at his lowest, his fans supported him and really prayed for his recovery – no one ever blamed him (because addiction is an illness) and we all had nothing but positive thoughts that somehow he would get better. No one ever expected the magnitude of stardom he would achieve once the spectre of addiction was removed.
But he hasn’t forgotten.