Posted on Wednesday, March 5th, 2008 by Peter Sciretta
I opened up my email this morning to see a message from my friend Neil at FSR titled “LOL Are you kidding me? This is awesome…”
Turns out that Entertainment Weekly released the first production photo for Ben Stiller‘s summer comedy Tropic Thunder, and it features our first look at Robert Downey Jr.‘s character Kirk Lazarus, who is a black man. That’s right, Robert is in black face, and from what little I can tell from the photo, he doesn’t look that bad as a black man. But even funnier, Robert plays a white man playing a black man. confused?
His character, Lazarus, is a “very serious Oscar-winning actor” who is cast for a role originally written for a black man in the most expensive Vietnam war epic ever filmed. So Lazarus decides to dye his skin and play Osiris as written. A rough cut of the movie was recently screened for an African-American crowd, and Stiller claims he was relieved that the audience “really embrace[d] it”.
When I was younger I use to hate Robert Downey Jr., but now he has now become one of my favorite actors. I trust anything he does, or at very least, that his piece of the pie will be incredible. I had very little interest in seeing this film before today. I don’t know why but I thought Downey had signed on to be part of just another generic summer comedy. But apparently something in Stiller’s material got him interested enough to put on a black face…
According to the article:
“Ben Stiller plays an action hero who has just adopted a baby from Asia but worries that ”all the good ones are gone.” Black portrays a comedian known for performing multiple roles in a single film – his latest is called The Fatties: Fart 2. But when the film’s director (Steve Coogan) and writer (Nick Nolte) get fed up with their prima donna cast, they drop them into the jungle to fend for themselves. The actors think they’re doing some sort of full-immersion filmmaking, but the danger they’re in is very real.”
Aside from the 2001 semi-flop Zoolander, Stiller also directed Reality Bites and the vastly underrated Jim Carrey comedy The Cable Guy. Tropic Thunder hits theaters on August 15th 2008.
Discuss: What do you think about Robert Downey Jr. in Black Face? Funny? Offensive? Stupid?