As Eric Roberts told the hosts of the podcast Eric Roberts Is The Fucking Man at a live taping here in Chicago last fall, “You obviously don’t pay attention. I turn down nothing.” The extremely prolific Roberts is known for, well, taking any role that’s offered to him, and, as a new profile in Vanity Fair posits, there’s nothing wrong with that. Well, the profile still seems skeptical about Roberts’ approach to his career, attributing Roberts’ ultimate failure to break into the A-list to a toxic combination of his cocaine addiction and a disfiguring car crash, both in the early ‘80s.
Roberts, meanwhile, doesn’t mourn what could have been. He’s proud of every one of his 488 roles and counting on iMDB, even the ones other actors with his name recognition wouldn’t touch. As he tells Vanity Fair, after the big-name directors stopped calling in the mid-’80s:
I start making a bunch of B movies—bam bam bam bam bam bam—one after the other, and then suddenly two, three years have passed, and I made like 30 films in two, three years. Now, in the past two years, I’ve made around 70 movies ... I started having fun at the craft. I’m a fucking groupie for it! I can do it every day, all day. But then everybody started making fun of me, and I turned to [my wife] Eliza with the question ‘Why?’ ... And so suddenly it’s like 250 movies, and I realize, I went from being a joke that’ll do anything to being, ‘Is there anything he can’t do?’
Now it should be pointed out here that Roberts is being modest: According to Vanity Fair’s calculations, he appeared in 74 movies last year alone.
In short: Eric Roberts just wants to work. He loves what he does, and he’ll persist at it for the rest of his life. And if the world comes around to give him accolades along the way, great. But he doesn’t need external validation to know what makes him happy. We could all stand to be a little more like Eric Roberts, honestly.