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CNN Larry King Live

Interview with Colin Powell, Sharon Stone, Robert Downey Jr.

Aired October 17, 2005 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, an exclusive sit-down with former Secretary of State Colin Powell right after Iraq's historical constitutional vote. We'll also get his thoughts on troubling times for the White House and his life since leaving the Bush administration.
And then, the very sexy, very talented Sharon Stone, wait until you hear what she's doing to help Hurricane Katrina victims.

And then Robert Downey Jr., done time in rehab and jail and now one of Hollywood's most in-demand actors.

This is a trifecta next on LARRY KING LIVE.

Good evening. What a show tonight. Eclectic. Sharon Stone later and Robert Downey Jr., and we begin with an old and dear friend and great American, General Colin Powell, former secretary of state, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs, founding chairman of America's Promise.

What do you make of the apparent acceptance of the Iraqi constitution?

COLIN POWELL, FMR. SECY. OF STATE: Well, I think this is an important step forward. But we should not think that this is end of the game. We're still in for some difficult days ahead, but we needed to get this referendum dealt with now so we can move on to find a permanent government through an election at the end of the year.

But this will not end the insurgency, but hopefully it allows the political process to start getting the momentum it needs so that the people can start turning their faith away from the insurgency, the Sunni people, and toward the political process. But the insurgency is going to continue. The insurgency is going to have to be beaten on the ground as well as politically.

KING: In fact, General, what surprised you about Iraq post-going in?

POWELL: The problem we had after the very successful military campaign is that we didn't impose order, didn't impose our will on all of Iraq quickly enough after the fall of Baghdad. And we had to change personnel. We had to make some other adjustments. And during that period of time, the insurgency got started. And I was surprised, I was surprised at how robust the insurgency became so quickly. And frankly I think we should have done more in the beginning to try to push that to the back and to knock it down before it got started. But we saw institutions burned down. We saw the entire structure of government collapse. And the insurgency took root in that. And now we're fighting a sustained insurgency, a difficult insurgency and terrorists as well. And those are two different things. The terrorists are coming from the outside. But the Sunni insurgency, which is still there and has not been resolved by the referendum on the constitution, because most of the Sunnis who went out to vote voted against the constitution, they didn't vote in sufficient numbers in two of the provinces to stop it from coming into a force.

KING: Miss the job?

POWELL: No, I always look forward. I've never missed any job I have been in because there's no point in it. So I always look forward. And I have got a lot of opportunities now. I'm having great fun back in private life. And looking forward to more opportunities coming along.

KING: And don't miss anything about public life?

POWELL: No. I'm not exactly out of public life. I'm staying involved. I'm doing a number of things that are in the public sector and the private sector. But I don't miss government. It's not that I didn't enjoy government. I do. I enjoyed all of my years in the government, all the assignments I was privileged to have. But I'm always looking forward. And I don't look back and say, I missed that. I didn't miss the Army after I left it even though I loved every one of the days I spent in the Army for over 35 years. I love the Army with all my heart. But missing it is another matter.

KING: You look forward, and politics you're ruling out?

POWELL: Ruling out, no politics.

KING: Do you stay -- when you say you stay involved, does that -- are you a consultant to people? Does government call on you? Industry? Who do you talk with and to?

POWELL: Well, the first thing I did after leaving government was to start my business back up, and that's being on the lecture circuit. And that's great fun, it gets me around the country and I learn so much about the country. I have also undertaken some business interest. I'm now a limited partner with one of the great venture capital firms in Silicon Valley, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. And they're involved in leading energy technology issues and fuel cells and all sorts of things.

KING: Are they buying the baseball team?

POWELL: I'm coming to that too. Yes. So I have got a little Silicon Valley, and it's on the West Coast. And I'm excited about that. On the East Coast, in Washington, I'm working with Steve Case, who used to head AOL, and a new group he has formed, Revolution Health Group. And a number of us have invested with Steve in order to put this company together and to do what we can to push the consumer- driven health care market by giving consumers more choice over the dollars they put into health care and how they use those dollars to provide for their families. And that's exciting. That's my East Coast and West Coast business activities.


KING: ... red states?

POWELL: We're getting there. Who knows? Who knows? It's early, Larry. It's early.

Also in the Washington area, I'm participating in an investment program, an investment team to buy a team. We're bidding on the Washington Nationals. And we hope the team led by Mr. Fred Malek, an old friend of mine, will prevail. We hope that Major League Baseball...

KING: What has held that up? They were supposed to select it in August, they were supposed to select it Labor Day.

POWELL: Larry, it's a very interesting group, Major League Baseball, the owners. And I've spoken to Commissioner Selig a few times and hope they'll make a decision soon. And I'm quite confident they'll do it on the basis not just of price but which team -- which group bidding for it has the strongest connection to the community. And that's where I think we have an edge.

KING: Is it up to $450 million?

POWELL: Minimum, I think, yes.

KING: Would -- if you got the team, would you be an activist?

POWELL: Yes. I intend to be activist...

KING: General manager?

POWELL: I don't think so. We want a winning team.



KING: But you would be active?

POWELL: I would be active. I would be more than just a passive investor. I'm not a major investor, but I'm an investor. But I would also be very interested in the foundation that the team is going to create because we have made the pitch that not only do we think we could run a good baseball team. But we think we could make a major contribution to the young people of the Washington, D.C., community -- the greater Washington, D.C., community by investing in the boys and girls activities and getting baseball going again in the inner city with minorities. And I think we have a strong suit there to present to the community.

KING: Did I read somewhere you are were also going to buy a minor league team?




KING: Back to other things, touched a lot of bases.

POWELL: I believe I'll just touch a couple of other bases, if I may.

KING: OK. Sure.

POWELL: A couple of other things I'm interested in.

KING: You're writing a book, I'll bet.

POWELL: Not -- no, not yet.


POWELL: No. I'll put that off for another time. But a couple of other things I'm interested in. There's a Colin Powell Policy Center at City College of New York, my alma mater. And I'm the founder and I'll be a visiting professor there. And what I like about CCNY, it's such a great school.

KING: Lavender, my lavender.

POWELL: Lavender, my lavender. And for over 100 years it has educated the children of the immigrants of New York City. They did it for me 50 years ago. They're still doing it today. And so I'm going to be deeply involved in building up that center not just as another think-tank but as a place where young people from New York City who have come from all over the world can get an education and can contribute to the city and contribute to the broader society.

I'm also taking over chairmanship of the Eisenhower Fellowship Program where we bring in fellows from around the world to study here in the United States. We need more of that kind of activity. I've replaced Henry Kissinger as chairman, and I'll take that over from Henry next year.

And then finally, another activity I'm involved in -- among many others, but another one that is very special to me is the Vietnam Wall is perhaps one of the most magnificent monuments and memorials. And we wanted...

KING: The most visited, I believe.

POWELL: Right. And because it is the most visited, we want to build an educational center nearby, in no way doing anything with the wall itself, which is perfect. But a little distance away, an education center, probably underground so it doesn't disturb that part of our great Mall, so that people can learn more about that conflict and learn more about those who gave their lives in that conflict. And I'm the honorary chairman of that fund-raising effort. And also working the fund-raising effort for the Martin Luther King Memorial in Washington, D.C., so I'm kind of busy.

KING: You fought in that war twice.

POWELL: Two years.

KING: Will this educational building be pro, con, or just here is what happened?

POWELL: It will be all about the soldiers. It will not take positions. It will not have any politics in it. This will be a center that is about those who fought and those who died. And so that we do not forget their sacrifice. And it will have no statement to make about the war itself other than the gallantry and the heroism of those who answered the call of their country and fought and died.

KING: Condi Rice, how is she doing?

POWELL: She's doing fine. Condi has been a friend and a mentee of mine for many, many years. And she's doing a great job as secretary.

KING: Would she do well politically?

POWELL: Well, you know, Larry, I'm not going to speculate. Condi doesn't like speculation about a political future for her. So I don't think I will add to all of the swirling speculation that's taking place now among you and your colleagues.

KING: I wasn't speculating, I was asking, do you think she would do well if she would do it?

POWELL: I think Condi would do well in anything she puts her mind to.


KING: ... just she...

POWELL: She would do well in any endeavor she chooses to involve herself in. She's expressed great interest in sports and maybe taking over one of the leagues, the National Football League commissioner. I don't know. Who knows? She loves that kind of stuff. So I don't know whether her...

KING: Wait a minute.

POWELL: I don't know whether her future is in sports or politics. And I'll let her...

KING: Could be sports.

POWELL: Could be.

KING: Powell owns a baseball team. Condi is commissioner of football. You're after it all, aren't you?

POWELL: We're going to get it all.


POWELL: It's our turn.


KING: (INAUDIBLE) lunch in that building, the food was terrible, isn't it? We have a lot of fun. We're old friends. We'll be right back with General Colin Powell. Don't go away.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bush joined his top defense aids for an hour- long Pentagon briefing on the war against Iraq.

DICK CHENEY, THEN-SECY. OF DEFENSE: Our objective is to get Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait.

POWELL: Duties of the office upon which (INAUDIBLE).


POWELL: So help me God.

We will not tolerate Iraq continuing to have weapons of mass destruction.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Many times over the past four decades, America has called on Colin Powell.



KING: We're back with General Powell, touching a few bases. We hope to have him on quite a bit to talk about a lot of his endeavors.

You publicly broke with the administration earlier this year, supporting Senate amendment 1977, the treatment of detainees. How is that coming along, by the way?

POWELL: Well, I wrote a letter supporting Senator McCain's amendment. And the day the letter hit, the Senate voted on it and they passed that amendment 90-9. And I think that's a pretty strong statement on the part of the Senate. And I hope the House responds accordingly.

All that amendment asks for is for American soldiers to follow the Army Field Manual. The field manual contains our doctrine and the way we're supposed to behave. It's our doctrine.

(CROSSTALK) POWELL: I have no idea why they would be against it, but the president is against it and the administration is against it because they think it will constrain them in some ways with respect to, I guess, interrogation of detainees.

But we have such a problem in this regard that I think it's important that the Congress take a stand on this. Congress, under the Constitution, Article I, Section 8, is the body that makes laws and regulations governing the armed forces. They're not telling the administration what to put in this field manual.

They're saying, if it's a field manual and it's guidance to the troops, what's wrong with the United States Congress also endorsing that? And so I hope that the amendment does pass either in the defense authorization or the appropriation bill.

KING: What was it like to visit post-hurricane?

POWELL: I was only able to get to Dallas, where I visited with a number of the people who were displaced from New Orleans. And what I saw were people who were anxious, but they were so pleased that fellow Americans have taken them in. The people of Dallas had opened their hearts.

The kids had only been there two days and they were already going to school every morning with their school bags. Scrubbed clean. The Salvation Army was in feeding. The Red Cross was feeding. FEMA was getting their handle around who was there and what the needs of the people were.

And it was pretty wonderful to see how Americans will reach out to help others Americans in time of need. The real challenge of course is the rebuilding of the Gulf area, not just New Orleans, but all of the cities and communities and towns and villages that were effected by both Katrina and Rita. And that will be a long-term effort and will require work at all levels of government.

KING: What do you make of all of this Karl Rove leak story?

POWELL: I only know right now what I read in the paper. I appeared before the grand jury, the State Department. And some of us in the State Department had some knowledge of this matter. And we all immediately made ourselves available to the Justice Department and the FBI even before the prosecutor was...

KING: Was it an involved, interested grand jury?



KING: I mean, were they on tops of things?

POWELL: They were following what was going on. And I think we have been forthcoming in what was known within the department about it, the famous State Department memo that I was given by one of my staffers, which, by the way, never had the name Plame anywhere in the memo.


POWELL: No. A lot of press reports suggest the name was in the memo. It was not.

KING: What do you make of the poll that 2 percent of blacks support the president?

POWELL: I think it's unfortunate but there it is. And it's a single poll, I don't know what other polls show, but I think the administration took a real hit on Katrina. There was no way to avoid the images, at least, once it hit, and preparations hadn't been made adequately. And what you saw was a poor population that seemed to have been left behind and not been provided for.

KING: Did that surprise you as a former member of that administration?

POWELL: Well, it seemed to me that there was enough warning about this hurricane that was coming, and remember, until it was downgraded to a 4, everybody thought it was a 5. For days, we were being told it was a 5. And then it went to 4, 3, and then back to 4, and you know what happened after that. So I was a little taken aback as I watched it since I have been in a lot of hurricane situations as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and national security adviser and secretary of state, I've dealt with tsunamis and things like that. I was surprised that if they were expecting a 5, a better and more involved preparation did not take place at every level.

KING: And should the military be part of it?

POWELL: The military is always available to be part of it. But under our law and under our Constitution, you first have to let local authorities try to take care of it. But that's no reason that the military shouldn't be leaning forward and ready to go as soon as local authorities were overwhelmed.

KING: A couple of other things. You drove the pace car at the Indianapolis 500, what was that like?

POWELL: It was great.

KING: How fast do you go in the pace car?

POWELL: During the race I got it up to 125. You're being controlled from the tower, so there's a limit in what you can do.

KING: I know you're a big Volvo man.

POWELL: Yes. But before the race, before the race, the night before they let me have the track to myself.

KING: You're kidding.

POWELL: Right. And I put... KING: With the helmet and whole -- you got...

POWELL: No, wait, who needs a helmet?

KING: How fast did you go?

POWELL: With my son sitting next to me, I got it up to 148.

KING: What does that feel like?

POWELL: Great. It's a convertible.


POWELL: No roll bar, no helmet.

KING: Young Colin would have done well with that in the Bronx.

POWELL: And after taking my son Michael around, I took my good friend Ken Duberstein around.

KING: Good old Ken. Is he still working with you?

POWELL: We're dear friends and we do a lot together.

KING: Good man. You were recently named by TIME magazine as one of those men aging gracefully. How did react to that?

POWELL: Well, remember, the operative word, the verb, is "aging."


KING: Gracefully.

POWELL: Gracefully. I'm glad to hear that. But it was amusing and then when I realized that the others -- among the others listed were Paul Newman and Robert Redford....

KING: Not bad.

POWELL: Yes, I'd been tough in that one.

KING: I know you don't look back, but don't you miss youth?

POWELL: You know, Larry, as I said to you earlier, maybe I do, but what's the point in missing anything? You don't get any reruns in life. You don't get to play the tape back.

KING: There's no act four.

POWELL: There's no act four, so I'm always trying to figure out, what am I going to do next, not what did I do last?

KING: And you're going to be a grandfather again.

POWELL: Yes, my daughter, Anne Marie (ph), who used to work for you some years ago...

KING: She sure did, she was a terrific intern.

POWELL: Thank you. She is going to have a baby in the next couple of weeks. We're very excited about that.

KING: How's the actress doing?

POWELL: The actress, Linda, had a great run on Broadway early this in "On Golden Pond," with James Earl Jones and Leslie Uggams, and quite a successful play. And so all of the kids are doing well.

KING: Were you nervous there for that opening night?

POWELL: I am nervous on opening night for her. Yes, you know, a father, it's not so much the performance, I know she'll be great. But if anybody says something bad about her in review, I don't like that.

KING: Dealing with the wrong guy.

POWELL: You're dealing with wrong guy. I can do a Truman on you.


KING: Always good to see you, Colin.

POWELL: Good to see you, Larry.

KING: General Colin Powell.

When we come back, this is act two. Sharon Stone. This ain't a bad job.

POWELL: Not a bad job.


KING: We'll be right back.


KING: She's back. Another old and dear friend. Sharon Stone returns. The actress and activist and co-writer and producer of "Come Together Now," an all-star single to aid hurricane disaster victors -- or victims, rather.

You are a song writer now?

SHARON STONE, ACTOR: I am, but you know, I think what you said is true. I think they're victors. I think those people, the way they help each other, I think of them as victors.

KING: Now how did you come up with this project? Give me the history. STONE: It was an amazing thing. I had been writing music together with these guys, Mark Feist and Damon Sharpe, who are amazing young songwriters. And I've been working together with them for about a year. And they called me one day and said, we really want to talk to you. We have an idea. And I said, great, come up tomorrow. And they came over to the house and they said that they were so moved by what had happened with the tsunami and that they wanted today write a song.

And they were very inspired when they were young kids by "We Are the World." And they had this feeling that they wanted to write a song that would be a legacy for their generation. And I love that. I just love that thing. And just the night before, I had been at a party and talking to a young guy, like 28 years old. We were watching a basketball game.

And I said to him, you know, when I was a kid, my brother and I used to -- we had breakfast and we would look at the guy on the Wheaties box, and we would talk about this guy who was a hero. And it meant so much to us.

And I was trying to explain this to him. And he had no idea what I was talking about. No idea of that thing like when we were kids and there was an assignment in the fourth grade, say, write about your local hero.

KING: Yes. Hero is a big word.

STONE: Big word. And I said, let's write a song like that, that tells how an individual, a regular person can be a hero. And I had to explain really what this meant to me, and what this meant, and we wrote the song.

KING: And the song is "Come Together Now." The proceeds are contributed to benefit hurricane disaster victims. The song is the title track for an industry-wide celebrity-studded album to aid hurricane victims, the two-part CD album will be released in mid- November. You can get it now as, what, it's an -- through AOL download or something?

STONE: Yes. It comes out tonight at midnight on iTunes where you can get the single which we're really excited about, and then the DVD is coming out on AOL. And we're really, really, really proud of it because all of these artists came together and did it for us.

KING: Who?

STONE: Well, Celine Dion came over, Natalie Cole, Nick Carter, Joss Stone, Jesse McCartney, Patti Labelle, Wyclef Jean, Chingy, Gavin DeGraw, Anthony Hamilton, The Game, JoJo, John Legend, Kimberly Lock, Brian McKnight, A.J. McLean...

KING: All together on the same..

STONE: ... Mya. No, we went all over to get them. And I mean, everybody. I mean, we have got Ruben Studdard. We have got everybody. I mean, we called these people. We went from Montreal to Las Vegas to New York to New Orleans. And these guys use the most modern technology now that Apple and all these people have. We have 200 tracks. This is the biggest thing that I think has ever been done to put this many tracks together and get these people together from everywhere.

And that's why the video is so amazing, because these people just came in, not like big stars, not, oh, I need my hair and make-up, they came in their T-shirts and their parkas and just threw themselves at this with so much compassion and tenderness and learned their parts so humbly and tenderly and did this thing so generously.

KING: And it starts at midnight. We're going to see a little clip of it I think going to break. So are you now a songwriter? Will you now be inducted into the songwriter's hall of fame? Didn't Denise Rich help on this, too? Because she's going to be with us...


STONE: She helped us so much. We -- actually, we were writing the song, and we thought, you know what, we need somebody who really has this huge experience, and someone who is so philanthropic and kind and generous, nobody like her. And we called her. And one of the guys had written together with her before on the "Chicago" soundtrack.

And she -- who obviously didn't know me at all, she flew out the next day. And she godmothered this whole thing for us and guided us through this whole thing and helped us so much. But it's mind-blowing what she did for us. And the writing and the organizing and the -- she contributed so much financially. She called all these stars she knew.

KING: She can do it.


KING: I want to meet the other writers, but I want to cover a couple of bases with you. You're the new face of Dior?


KING: Capture Totale, what is that?

STONE: It's a skincare product for Dior. And they've asked me to be for several years the new face of Dior skincare worldwide.

KING: You're also going to star in "Bobby," about the assassination of RFK?

STONE: I am. And I'm really excited to be not really the star, but a member of a gigantic ensemble cast of amazing, amazing artists.

KING: Who do you play?

STONE: We all played people who worked in the Ambassador Hotel. And it's that week and that day that Bobby Kennedy came to speak at the Ambassador Hotel, and how intrinsically our lives and his life intertwined and the impact of him in the world and what happened that night that he was killed at the Ambassador Hotel. Emilio Estevez wrote and is directing.

KING: And you're in another one you were telling me about, it's going to be sensational.

STONE: I have a movie called "Alpha Dog" that I did with Nick Cassavetes, also an amazing ensemble cast coming out.

KING: True story, right?

STONE: True story about this guy who was -- is a gang of young people in Hollywood who kidnapped and really didn't know what they were doing, and ended up killing a young boy in the Hollywood Hills here over a whole drug situation, young people involved in drugs.

KING: That's completed?

STONE: That's completed and will be coming out.

KING: And now, of course, "Basic Instinct 2."

STONE: Right. That's coming out in March of next year.

KING: Who do you kill in this?


STONE: Well, you know, we never really know for sure.

KING: You never know that she was the murderer.

STONE: For sure.

KING: Did you have fun doing this? Is it hard to do...

STONE: Oh my God.

KING: Sequels are hard.

STONE: You know what, it was hard, because we wanted it to be so thrilling and so exciting for the audience that we really went off the deep end trying to make it, of course, as exciting or more exciting than the first one.

KING: Are you going to do outlandish things in this, too?

STONE: We do lots and lots of...

KING: Do you cross your legs again and...

STONE: ... outlandish things -- why, Larry, I'm shocked. I'm shocked by your -- get over here.

KING: That's a fair question to ask. STONE: Get over here. Stop it.

KING: It's one of the most-viewed scenes in the world.

STONE: Yes. And I find myself just crossing my legs thinking about it. And, yes, we do crazy things. We do wild things.

KING: Don't do that to me.

STONE: We do wild stunts. We do very thrilling things. And we worked with some of the greatest actors in the world and greatest cinematographers, greatest costumers because we shot it in...

KING: And when does that come out?

STONE: ... London.

KING: And when does that come?

STONE: It comes on my birthday, March 10th.

KING: We take a break, and when we -- oh my son Chance is March 9th.

STONE: You know, our whole family is linked up in our birthdays. We're a little bizarrely intertwined

KING: And the other two boys are the same day, May 22.

When we come back, Mark Feist, Damon Sharp and Denise Rich join us. And as we go to break, here is a little bit of "Come Together Now."



KING: Sharon Stone remains. Joining us now here in Los Angeles, Mark Feist and Damon Sharp, the co-writers and producers of "Come Together Now." And Denise Rich, the Grammy nominated songwriter and philanthropist, co-writer and producer of "Come Together Now." They're all together. What are you holding?

DENISE RICH, SONGWRITER: I'm holding a doll that -- when we raise the money, and God willing, we're going to raise a lot of money through "Come Together Now," for the song -- it's a doll that was given to us by -- there are two organizations that we're going to give the money to. One is Habitat for Humanity, which Aaron can talk about. And the other is also Angel's Place. It's a home started by Anita Gilford. And it's for terminally ill children and their parents. And the home was destroyed in the hurricane. And so -- they desperately need a home to be rebuilt. And we're hoping that the song will raise a lot of money so that we can do that.

KING: What part did you play in this project? DAMON SHARP, CO-WRITER: I'm one of the cowriters, and one of the coproducers. And I just have to reiterate it's been a pleasure to work with these three. Sharon has been so giving with her talents and her time and her celebrity influence, and the same with Denise. My partner Mark Feist, of course, but...

KING: What was it like to put together, Mark?

MARK FEIST, CO-WRITER: It was a real challenge. It was amazing. Getting Celine and these artists that we -- some of these artists we had never met before. They turn up to the studio. They hear the song for the first time. We teach them their line, they're in there recording. And they're just so giving. And it was such so humbling, just an amazing experience from the get-go.

RICH: When Damon called me, because I had co-written a song with Damon for -- it's called "Low is to Crime (ph)," for Anastasia. Anastasia recorded it. And it was for the Chicago soundtrack, Grammy winning soundtrack.

And so when Damon called me with Mark and Sharon and said, come and write this song together. And we're going to write this song called "Come Together Now." And I wondered what would that experience be like. And I have to tell you, it was an amazing experience. An amazing experience because...

STONE: Well these boys, for them to come up with this concept, for them to have this idea, which they said they had in a coffee shop, and have the guts to say, I want to do this really big thing. For me, as a grown woman with children, is something you want to hear from a young person today. You want to hear, I want to change the world. I want to make a difference.

KING: Let me get it straight, because we're close on time. Tonight at midnight.

STONE: iTunes.

FEIST: You can buy the single on iTunes.

STONE: And this t-shirt which we brought for you, Larry, is our "Come Together Now" t-shirt.

KING: Come together t-shirt.

STONE: Which we want to see you wearing down there at the coffee shop down at Nate and Al's with your buddies.

KING: Nate and Al's, I'll wear it tomorrow.

STONE: And that t-shirt you can get on our Web site which is

KING: And then what happens on AOL?

FEIST: Tomorrow on AOL, the debut of the video. The full video starts tomorrow.

KING: Great having all of these talents together.

RICH: It's coming out on a Grammy album. And also coming out on album for tsunami in the future that Jeffrey Yapp (ph) is working for on southeast Asia.

KING; We're going to do more on this when it all comes together.

RICH: Thank you for your support.


KING: November 13, her big event.

RICH: November 14.

KING: November 14.

RICH: And we're going to come with Shawn (ph), yes.

KING: Thank you very much, all of you. We'll be right back. There's a wild new movie -- you've got to see this movie, it's called "Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang." It stars Robert Downey Jr. It is something else. He's next. Don't go away.


KING: There is a terrific, funny, hell of a new movie going to open. It's called "Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang." It stars Robert Downey, Jr. Its director and screenwriter is Shane Black, considered one of the pioneer writers of the blockbuster action genre film. His credits include "Lethal Weapon." But "Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang" is not like "Lethal Weapon."

How did you get this project, Robert?

ROBERT DOWNEY, JR., ACTOR: Well, the now Mrs. Downey was reading script, and she was laughing her tuchus off in fact, and I said, what is that? She goes -- I go, what is that scene? She goes, it's hard to explain, the guy's just...

KING: Can't explain it.

DOWNEY, JR.: His finger is in ice and this and that, but he just killed this guy. Why is his finger in ice? She goes, well, it got cut off, but he got it sawn back on. Sawn back on? Why is it on ice? She goes, you just got to read it. And ...

KING: From that, get-go.

DOWNEY, JR.: Well, you know, I saw Shane Black wrote it, and I was like, oh, this is going to be fantastic.

KING: This is like "Pulp Fiction" 2006. I mean, how would you describe this?

SHANE BLACK, SCREENWRITER: I mean, I would probably, if you ask me, say it's a romantic thriller, you know, but that wouldn't quite get it, because it's more of just a chance to conjure up all the things, the shape that I love so much about these sorts of tough-guy stories. It's the anti-action action movie.

KING: What isn't in it?

BLACK: What isn't in it are a lot of very cool, tough, slick, mythic archetypes that just go about their business and they're the best in the world at what they do. What is in it is a bunch of normal people trying to be much tougher.

KING: Opposite of "Lethal Weapon."

BLACK: Yes, very much so.

KING: And you're giving out as a giveaway with this a Shane Black thriller, "Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang." We used to -- that's what I meant by pulp fiction. We used to buy these kind of things as kids...

BLACK: Absolutely.

KING: ... and read them. And you have the whole screenplay in here.

BLACK: That's right.

KING: Was it tough to do, Harry? I was calling you Harry...

DOWNEY, JR.: Please don't hesitate.

KING: Harry is the character.

DOWNEY, JR.: Well, again, and you know, so often you're talking about films that almost worked, and so you still get partial credit because it's so hard when one really goes right. But it was all there on the page, and then, you know, once in a while, we would deviate a little bit and enhance it. But it's just a great story.

BLACK: There's also the thing that he doesn't say, which is when I heard him read the lines for the first time in Joel Silver's office, it was like I typed them right into his mouth. I mean, he just -- we locked it the same day. And then we decided to find someone else.

KING: But he's one of our greatest film actors, right?

BLACK: Absolutely.

KING: When you say -- I mean, no doubt about it.

BLACK: Without question.

KING: How did you get Val Kilmer to play gay?

BLACK: Reluctantly.

KING: Being gay?

BLACK: No, he's not gay. I think that he just wanted to do something funny. He wanted to do a comedy. He kept saying, don't people remember that I did "Real Genius?" You know, I did "Top Secret." I'm funny. I said, OK, we know, we know. And I had no idea -- there's some performers you know what you're buying. You get the performance you pay for. With those two guys, I had no idea what we were going to get. I just knew that whatever it was, it was going to be something that you just wanted to look at. It was going to be amazing.

KING: How well was your symmetry with him? Have you ever worked with him?

DOWNEY, JR.: No, but a couple of weeks before we started shooting, he had a party, you know, like Hollywood Hills party, like the same place where gay Perry and Harry meet in the movie. Except he looked like Dan Haggerty in (INAUDIBLE). He just got back from doing "Alexander." He was still, you know, not quite out of character. But you know, it was just a joy. Because it's so rare that you have something and you go, this is the type of movie that I want to be in, type of movie I want to see, the type of movie that when I see it, even if I'm not in it, I'm glad that it was made.

KING: You have to enjoy this movie. I mean, you'd have to be dead not to enjoy this movie.

How did you come up with this?

BLACK: I've been out of the business for a couple of years, and I guess the idea I had was to -- basically, you walk into the theater, you sit down. And two hours later, you walk out. And the idea was, in that time, I've steeped you in. You know, you have been immersed in the shape of it that I put there, that's my view on everything I love about pulp and everything I love about L.A., fiction and detective stories and tough guys. And you come out and...

KING: It's all in here?

BLACK: Yeah, and you say, we should make more of these kinds of movies. They don't make detective movies that much anymore.

KING: That's right, they don't. The narrator.

BLACK: Well, in this case...

DOWNEY, JR.: The narrator is a little bit stupid. He's apologizing in fact...

KING: (INAUDIBLE) he's a stupid narrator, but it made me feel good that he's going to live, at least. Maybe died and narrated from -- you never know in this movie.k

The girls are terrific. DOWNEY, JR.: Michelle Monaghan is amazing.

KING: She is. She is.

DOWNEY, JR.: And again, everyone came to the table with this knowing, you know, this is risky, because if you get the tone 2 percent off, it's going to say, oh, it's too tongue-in-cheek, oh, that's a bad version of "The Player."

BLACK: Too smug, yeah, exactly. And so...

KING: You can't be a little off.

BLACK: Well, here is the thing about it I think that I would stress, is that you have to feel -- and if I have done my job, and everyone has, underneath all of this poking fun at the pulp and the tough guys is a genuine fondness for that material, genuine love for it. And the movie itself is I think very good-hearted at its core.

KING: The movie is "Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang." It will open the 9th Annul Hollywood Film Festival tomorrow night, and it will open wide on Friday, right? This Friday?

DOWNEY, JR.: The 21st.

KING: 21st. We'll be right back with more of Robert Downey and Shane Black. Don't go away.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you have any idea what time it is?

DOWNEY, JR.: Yeah, I know, I know, I'm really sorry. God, you really -- you still look great. You're just stunning, and I like the way this...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What are you doing here?

DOWNEY, JR.: Good question. Now, this is going to sound crazy, but I don't remember precisely what occurred between hours of 2:00 and 5:00, so that's kind of a blur.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Where was Malea (ph)?

DOWNEY, JR.: Malea (ph)?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Malea (ph), the girl you...

DOWNEY, JR.: Oh, no, Malea (ph) fell asleep at my place, and I didn't see you leave.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I left when you still had your tongue down her throat, Harry.

DOWNEY, JR.: I did?


DOWNEY, JR.: Oh. God, no, wrong throat, wrong one. That's bad.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yeah, that's bad. You got 10 seconds, Harry.

DOWNEY, JR.: Oh, boy, pressure, pressure, pressure. OK, I came here because I just -- I think you're so intelligent and attractive, and I know that this is outrageous and it's not normal. I'm not pretending that I'm normal, I just...




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi, we are so incredible lost.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You look chilly. Come back inside.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Actually, I'm from back east. I'm kind of digging the cold.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's the one who said it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Or I can kill you here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Harry, I was thinking some more about this reality versus fiction.

DOWNEY, JR.: Oh, is that a fact?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, like in the movies, when a guy comes up and sticks a gun in some schmuck's back and says, let's take a walk -- all of a sudden, he's got a hostage.

DOWNEY, JR.: Oh, yeah, I've seen that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, in reality, the pros like about five feet of separation. Yeah. That's so the schmuck doesn't take the gun back and make him eat it.

DOWNEY, JR.: Doesn't that suck? I just hit you for no reason. I don't even know why.


KING: A loud flat crack, the smell of cordite! The girl strikes the floor, her head lulls to the side! Eyes wide and shut! She sees Harry. He is the strange man under her bed. Pink hair, who are you?

"Kiss Kiss, Bang, Bang."

What's it like being back, Robert, back in the civilization? DOWNEY, JR.: That's really, you know, it's fun. I got a lot more gratitude than I did before. You know, I think I was a little burned out or kind of feigning being jaded and too cool for high school. And you know, it's a great life, a great job.

KING: Were you worried about working?

BLACK: With Robert? No.

KING: Not at all?

BLACK: Not at all. First off, I love actors. I mean, I, just, you know, what concerns them concerns me. I think I get it a little bit, you know. And secondly, I like him. And when people were expressing concerns about Kilmer and Downey in the same movie -- I'm a first-time director,you know, what's my ability to deal with these two vivid personalities, you know.

KING: You were going to say loonies.


DOWNEY: That was so diplomatic. He's got a way with words, doesn't he?

BLACK: But, look what we -- we got the bargain of the century. These guys came to me, they cut their price. They did this movie for me, my first director -- this is luck you get once in a life.

KING: What was the toughest -- Bob Shapiro is going to be our guest on Thursday night with his wife. And his son died last week of an overdose.


KING: He's going to come on to talk about it as a parent, as a -- and to talk about what is addiction as opposed to disease. Have you come to an understanding of what it was all about?

DOWNEY: Well, I mean, there are certainly aspects of it that -- you know, there's a reason it's listed in American Medical, you know, in the book as a disease.

There's a part of it that's largely a moral issue. But, I think once you have an opportunity to get the help you need to get out of it, you just have to remember that sometimes that train doesn't come back around for seven years. It's very specific how many chances you get.

KING: Is it is a daily struggle?

DOWNEY: Not right now, no. And it's been a good long while, but it's like, well, who figured out what makes the souffle not drop in the oven. But, once you figure it out you don't throw away the recipe. So, I'm just really fortunate right now. They say good friends and good work, you know. I made friends and I'm great friends with Val Kilmer now. I adore Shane Black, and also now got to work for him and we got to do this thing.

KING: How about this marriage? Has that helped?

DOWNEY: Well, yes.

KING: No, has that helped?

DOWNEY: It's central, yes. I got a great gal who genuinely, unlike so many of the girls we make fun of in this movie, you know, just it...

BLACK: She's got it going on. Smart cookie.

DOWNEY: And in the heart it's all about doing the right thing and taking care of each other, you know.

KING: Your son from the first marriage is in the movie.

DOWNEY: Yes, he plays the young me.

BLACK: Oh, God. What a heart breaker. I saw girls at the wedding flinging themselves at his 12-year-old son. Beautiful child.

DOWNEY: He actually notified me that I might want to check in on some of those girls were like grinding on him on the dance floor.

KING: What's with the beard?

DOWNEY: The beard is for David Fincher's "Zodiac" movie. About...

KING: A journalist.

DOWNEY: ...a journalist, yes. About the killings in the Bay Area in the late 60's, a journalist and a cop and Mark Ruffalo and I and Jake Gyllenhal.

KING: You said you thought this work is his best. Better than "Chaplin" (ph)?

BLACK: That is kind of apples and oranges. Because "Chaplin"...

KING: Such two different kind of movies.

BLACK: Two very different kind of movies to be appreciated hopefully in different ways, but, you know, you'll get just as many belly laughs, I think, out of this.

I would write a line that I would thing a chuckle, you know. And I'd go to see it with an audience and there's this huge belly laugh because Downey said it, because Kilmer said it. And so they enhance, they elevate this material. DOWNEY: Well, there's something to be said too for it. I mean, like in the old days, you know, the Chaplin movies was very spontaneous because they couldn't be bothered to rehearse. They shoot the rehearsal.

And, you know, we had 36 days and nights, in fact, to do this, and very little rehearsal time. So, we had to really, kind of, know what we were doing, but it's all there.

I mean, you have seen it and you said you enjoyed it.

KING: It's all on the page right.

DOWNEY: Yes, and so you fall into that rhythm and it just kind of works.

KING: How did you like directing?

BLACK: It's a very social experience. It's not the solitary -- like sitting in your room at midnight, kind of, for me it was a question of -- I had been giving away my scripts for long enough. And anything I had to say was filtered through whatever director I would interpret the work.

And it just felt old to me, I didn't want to do that. I'm 43, I'm in midlife, I needed to make a change. So, essentially, directing, to me, is the reward for having written, that's the hard work, you know.

KING: Hard work is writing.

BLACK: Yes, you eat the vegetables now you get the desert. To me, the desert is the directing.

KING: The book, the book, the book-- the film-- they do give away this book -- I said it was opening wide. It opens in five cities on Friday 21st and then opens, they call it platform, until they reach mid-November when it will be everywhere.

And you should not miss "Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang." We'll be right back.



KING: You're also in "Good Night and Good Luck."

DOWNEY: Yes sir.

KING: I haven't seen that yet. Who do you play, which one of those multitude of characters?

DOWNEY: Joe Worshpa (ph), a very hard working and renowned employee of Merril (ph).

KING: Doing well, that film.

DOWNEY: It sure is.

KING: What's next for you, director?

BLACK: I don't know, I think -- I attempted to try to recruit this guy to do something unusual in the horror genre. I hate slasher films but I'd love to do something...

KING: You want to do a horror movie now?

BLACK: I think so, yes.

KING: And he'll be like a villain.

BLACK: No, I think he's just a normal guy.

DOWNEY: Don't let the beard throw you. Yes, but you know, you know Larry, like you're saying when -- if an actor and a director lock into something that works, then it's kind of like, why not? I don't know, I haven't really ever had that where I had like, you know, a continuity with the director, who it'd be fun to do other stuff with.

So, are you done writing it yet? He's slow in the process though.

KING: Oh, he is.


BLACK: Yes, well I do things in my own time. I mean, I just admitted I never saw "Chaplin."

DOWNEY: Oh, that's true.

KING: He just admitted it, he never saw "Chaplin."

DOWNEY: You were very busy.

BLACK: That was a big year.

DOWNEY: He said it was a long movie. He knew it was long.

KING: Do you prepare a lot before you do a film, like are you one of those...

BLACK: Method actors?

DOWNEY: I like...Oh gheez.

KING: No, I don't mean method. I mean...

DOWNEY: Well, you know I like to be, and I have to admit, things have been a little back to back lately. I'm looking forward to a period of time when I can be a little more diligent in that area.

KING: Doesn't it feel good to be in demand?

DOWNEY: Yes, it does.

BLACK: Can I just -- this is something. He's in every damn movie.

KING: No, but isn't it great to be back in a sense? You were gone.

DOWNEY: Yes, but mostly it's great to be back in something that I feel really has merit and is original and that, you know, you didn't have to say, interesting, but we're talking about and, you know, we liked it, I like it.

BLACK: It's his best work in years and...

KING: It is, it's funny. Let's put it this way I've never seen a movie like it, you can say that. You have never seen a movie like "Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang." Thank you so much.

DOWNEY: Oh, thank you, that's so flattering.

KING: So glad to have you both, Robert Downey Jr. and Shane Black. Before we go tonight I want to send my sincere condolences to Daniel Horowitz, the high profile defense attorney has been a guest on this program, who found his wife's dead body at their Bay Area home Saturday night.

A murder investigation is now underway and we'll cover this shocking and tragic story tomorrow night. One of our guests will be attorney Michael Cardoza, who is in the middle of trying a case with Daniel right now.

And right now we turn it over to "News Night" in New York, Aaron Brown and Anderson Cooper, there they are. Just the boys, take it away.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Larry, thanks for very much. Good evening everyone. Is one of the biggest White House mysteries since Watergate about to be solved?