Less than a week before Robert Downey Jr.’s Nov. 25 arrest, the Oscar nominated actor was offered a supporting role opposite Russell Crowe in Ron Howard’s ”A Beautiful Mind.” But after hearing the news of that fateful night in Palm Springs, producer Brian Grazer (Howard’s partner on many projects, including ”Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas”) says the possibility of Downey getting the role now is ”an immediate no.” (”Nobody has pulled the offer,” says Downey’s spokeman Alan Neirob.)
”I was devastated,” Grazer tells EW.com about hearing the news. ”When he got out [of prison], I went on record saying that I would hire him again. Then there was this wonderful opportunity.” The much talked about script, which is based on the biography of John Forbes Nash Jr. (a leading mathematician who developed schizophrenia), grabbed the attention of Tom Cruise and Jim Carrey, who were both reportedly in talks to star before Crowe signed on.
Grazer’s gone to the mat for Downey before. When he hired the actor for a supporting role in last year’s ”Bowfinger” (starring Eddie Murphy and Steve Martin), Grazer says he personally put up the money for Downey’s insurance ”against the will of the studio.” (It’s customary for studios to secure insurance for films in production, including bonds for each of the main actors.) ”Movies take 60 days to make, whereas [the schedule for] a TV show is shorter,” Grazer says, explaining why he can’t justify having a project this big depend on Downey. ”It would just be too hard.”