"Nobody’s wearing any underwear at table 23,” joked Robert Downey Jr. from the lobster-shaped podium at the Americans for the Arts’ National Arts Awards Monday night at Cipriani 42nd Street. He was presenting the Young Artist Award for Artistic Excellence to Jake Gyllenhaal, who was sitting along with his friend Lance Armstrong at table 23.
“He’s just the real deal,” Mr. Downey said later of Mr. Gyllenhaal. The two had become close on a recent project. “What I respect about him is his process. The people that I hang out with, the people that I hang with that I’m close with, the people I respect—sometimes it’s an external thing, but largely it’s his character. Are you living by a set of principles that you really adhere to? And I see him doin’ it, and that’s why I got his back forever.”
Ditto for Mr. Gyllenhaal. “I love Robert,” he said, gesturing to the man across the table. “We worked together on a movie and we became really close after that. It’s very rare that you have an experience like that and you keep a real friendship. When you keep that connection and it means something and it’s deep to you, that’s awesome—and that’s what Robert and I have.”
The Brokeback Mountain star was also pleased to have his good buddy Lance Armstrong there for support in the seat next to him. “Our friendship was born out of a mutual appreciation for a lot of things—mostly just staying in shape. But we’ve become good friends, and he’s an awesome guy. He’s the personification of courage for most of the world, and it’s a real honor to be his friend.”
To complete the circle of love, Mr. Downey has also become close with Mr. Armstrong. “He’s an awesome guy. He’s been giving me guff ’cause I still smoke. He’s inspired me to quit—I mean, if he can beat cancer, I think I can beat cigarettes.” Pics via IHJ. Source: Observer.com