There have been tons of movies that have been deemed controversial over the years. The subject matter is always the bone of contention, and you usually won’t be seeing any well-known actor make their mark in such movies. Tropic Thunder, however, seems to have both and that’s what confuses newcomers to the movie every day.
If there’s any movie that one could quote as being wrongly accused of being problematic and controversial, it would be Ben Stiller’s 2008 spoof satire action movie… about the movie industry! There’s a lot that many found wrong about the movie, but Stiller takes a firm stand on the donning of blackface in particular.
Ben Stiller Won’t Apologize For Blackface Controversy In Tropic Thunder
Ben Stiller‘s 2008 movie is nothing short of an amazing blockbuster, with a plotline that is bound to make newcomers and people who are devoted to the movie, laugh their brains out. But, as many have pointed out ever since its release, the movie is not short of any controversy either.
It’s almost a miracle that Tropic Thunder did relatively well at the box office considering all the wildly problematic characters and depictions shown in the movie. The movie was slanted for being insensitive to people with disabilities and shots were fired even at Tom Cruise’s portrayal of the Jewish character Les Grossman, which many deemed to be anti-semitic.
But one of the biggest, and the most visually clear PR offense that Ben Stiller committed was him okay-ing Robert Downey Jr.’s character, Kirk Lazarus, to go on and don blackface. The argument for that decision comes under the guise of performing with the blackface on in order to “show how wrong it is”.
There are still many shocked people pointing out Downey Jr’s character as being offensive, and it seems like Ben Stiller is tired of hearing about it. Many fans of Tropic Thunder believed that he had apologized for it, but he clears it out with a stern statement about the whole thing on Twitter-
I make no apologies for Tropic Thunder. Don’t know who told you that. It’s always been a controversial movie since when we opened. Proud of it and the work everyone did on it. 🙏✊😊
— Ben Stiller (@BenStiller) February 21, 2023
Would you believe that Ben Stiller is in the right for this? Or are people rightfully angry at the director for having taken such a controversial creative decision?
Robert Downey Jr. Has No Regrets Over Tropic Thunder Role Despite Controversy
As Ben Stiller said, Tropic Thunder has always been a controversial movie. It’s almost impossible to go around and apologize to every new audience that initially gets shocked by the blackface aspect of the movie.
This is why the actor who plays the controversial Kirk Lazarus character, i.e Marvel Cinematic Universe star Robert Downey Jr., has no regrets over his work on the movie. During an appearance on The Joe Rogan Experience back in 2021, the 57-year-old actor rationalized his thought process when he decided on playing the character-
“When Ben called and said, ‘Hey, I’m doing this thing,’ — and, you know, I think Sean Penn may have passed on it or something like that, possibly wisely — and I thought, ‘Yeah, I’ll do that, and I’ll do that after ‘Iron Man'”
“And then I started thinking, ‘This is a terrible idea.’”
He gives his reason for why he went through with the movie-
“I thought, ‘Hold on, dude. Get real here. Where is your heart?’ And my heart is… I get to be black for a summer, you now, in my mind, so there’s something in it for me. The other thing is that I get to hold up to nature the insane self-involved hypocrisy of artists and what they think they’re allowed to do on occasion. Just my opinion.”
It’s all about exposing the actors in Hollywood who take it too far in certain roles, and a satirical character like Kirk Lazarus is one way to do so!
Tropic Thunder is available for rent on Apple TV.