Robert Downey Jr., Robert Duvall Talk The Judge
10/08/2014 AT 02:45 PM EDT
In the family drama, Duvall, 83, and Downey, 49, play an estranged father and son struggling to reconcile in the midst of a legal crisis.
The actors spoke with PEOPLE about the movie, costar Billy Bob Thornton's surprising talent and why a well-fed set is a happy set.
Robert Downey Jr.: My wife [Susan] produced the movie, and [David] Dobkin directed the movie. And then Bobby and I and the cast were really charged with creating an atmosphere of safety and feeling like you can take a risk. And the rest of the time, we were just figuring out where we were going to have dinner. Bobby has a very, very active social life.
Robert Duvall: You too! I had some of the best sushi I've ever had.
Downey: He was bringing brisket in.
Duvall: I had my contribution, but Downey here, he threw a party on a boat at the end with fireworks.
Downey: There was a lot of laughter. And then by the time Billy Bob showed up, I would say, 'I know we need to roll, but can you just do your Burt Reynolds impression one more time?'
Duvall: Billy Bob does Lee Marvin. He has some great impressions. And Billy Bob never heard of a whitefish spread, so he took all of it from craft service and hoarded it in his dressing room.
Downey: We were having a pretty damn good time … And there's an intelligence, obviously, historically with Mr. Duvall's work. We said for [my character] Hank, the judge has to be this mountain that seems impossible to climb. Bobby, is this the first time you've played a mountain?
Duvall: I was going to say, you talkin' about me?
Downey: I've found this on both sides. It's always daunting until you meet the human being. You know, Bobby, you're a very witty guy, but you're also a very straightforward guy. And I just appreciate that. There is literally not an ounce of B.S.
Duvall: I don't know about that. Maybe there's an ounce and a half! But I try to minimize it. Robert is a unique man, and wonderfully talented, so when somebody calls you with a terrific script, you really look at it hard. I always say, the beginning and the end of it, is talking and listening.