“He actually left mason jars of urine on the set”: Robert Downey Jr. Had Enough of 1 Legendary Director That He Started Protesting in His Own Unique Way

Robert Downey Jr. actually rebelled in the most unique way against one incredibly laid-back legendary director.

robert downey jr.


  • Robert Downey Jr. had a clash with director David Fincher on the set of Zodiac due to Fincher's demanding style, leading RDJ to protest by leaving jars of urine.
  • Downey Jr. expressed frustration about the director's methods but acknowledged Fincher's intelligence, adapting to the demanding environment to deliver.
  • Despite the challenges, Zodiac received critical acclaim, showcasing the effectiveness of Fincher's meticulous approach to filmmaking.
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There have been multiple instances in Hollywood’s filmmaking industry where actors and directors didn’t quite see eye to eye and the situations ended up in behind-the-scenes fiascos. Well, it seems like Robert Downey Jr. had been in one of those situations, considering how he was reportedly so fed up with his film’s director that he started protesting in his own hilariously genius ways.

Robert Downey Jr. in a still from Iron Man 2
Robert Downey Jr. in Iron Man 2. | Credit: Marvel Studios.

For the record, this happened years ago in the late 2000s, before RDJ had even starred in his first superhero movie (Iron Man) but after he had somewhat retraced his steps back into the industry after pretty much falling out due to drug abuse. And, surprisingly enough, the director he reportedly had beef with was the legendary director behind masterpieces like Fight Club: David Fincher.

How Robert Downey Jr. Dealt With David Fincher On Set

Although David Fincher is indeed one of the biggest masterminds in the entire entertainment industry, having created magnificent pieces like Gone Girl and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, there is still a drawback that especially fast-paced actors would feel while working with him: He takes his time to do things and demands a lot of takes irrespective of however long it takes.

David Fincher. | Credit: Raffi Asdourian/Wikimedia Commons.
David Fincher. | Credit: Raffi Asdourian/Wikimedia Commons.

That said, Robert Downey Jr. reportedly faced a lot of problems while working with him on his 2007 critically acclaimed masterpiece, Zodiac, considering how the genius is more like a lighting-in-a-bottle kind of person as compared to Fincher.

And he didn’t hesitate to let him know how much it bothered him either.

According to what The Killer helmer shared in Keanu Reeves‘ 2012 documentary Side By Side:


[RDJ] came up to me and said, ‘I can’t work like this, I never get to go to my trailer, I can never get my shit together. I’m on my feet 14 hours a day.’

RDJ in a still from Zodiac. | Credit: Paramount Pictures.
RDJ in a still from Zodiac. | Credit: Paramount Pictures.

However, that’s not all. While letting the director know about his disapproval of his techniques was one thing, the Sherlock Holmes actor took it to a whole another level as he started protesting about it in his own unique way.

As per what Fincher revealed in the same documentary:

He actually left mason jars of urine on the set, like over in the corner. He’d pee and bring it back as a form of protest.

A still from the movie. | Credit: Paramount Pictures.
A still from the movie. | Credit: Paramount Pictures.

If it were any other actor, this would have most certainly been surprising and unbelievable. But with the brains and brawns of RDJ, it doesn’t quite come about that way, for the genius actor most certainly has his own unique way of dealing with his problems.


That said, Downey Jr. had something to say on this matter too.

Robert Downey Jr. Had the Wittiest Response to the Way David Fincher Works

According to what the Oppenheimer actor said during an interview with the New York Times, working with Fincher was unbearable at times. However, he also admitted that the director was “always the smartest guy in the room.”

A still from Zodiac. | Credit: Paramount Pictures.
A still from Zodiac. | Credit: Paramount Pictures.

Reflecting on the ups and downs, Downey Jr. said:


Sometimes it’s really hard because it might not feel collaborative, but ultimately filmmaking is a director’s medium.

Continuing, he then wittily expressed how he still managed to get the work done at the end of the day, saying:

I just decided, aside from several times I wanted to garrote him, that I was going to give him what he wanted. I think I’m a perfect person to work for him, because I understand gulags.

Downey Jr. in a still from Iron Man. | Credit: Paramount Pictures.
Downey Jr. in a still from Iron Man. | Credit: Paramount Pictures.

All of this being said, it must truly be hard work to work with even a legendary director like David Fincher. At the same time, it seems like all that tough work most certainly paid off, considering the 90% critically approved rating the film holds on Rotten Tomatoes.

You can watch Zodiac on Paramount Plus.


Written by Mahin Sultan

Articles Published: 1230

Mahin Sultan is a News Content Writer at FandomWire. With almost one year's worth of experience in her field, she has explored and attained a deep understanding of numerous topics in various niches, mostly entertainment.

An all-things-good enthusiast, Mahin is currently pursuing her Bachelor's degree in Commerce, and her love for entertainment has given her a solid foundation of reporting in the same field. Besides being a foodie, she loves to write and spends her free time either with her nose buried in a good book or binging on COD or K-dramas, anime, new movies, and TV serials (the awesome ones, obviously).

So far, Mahin's professional portfolio has more than 500 articles written on various niches, including Entertainment, Health and wellbeing, and Fashion and trends, among others.