“Dude, that was great!”: Robert Downey Jr.’s Controversial Movie Left “90% of my Black friends” Impressed Due To Ben Stiller

Ben Stiller, the film's director, was instrumental in preventing the film from becoming an offensive disaster

Robert Downey Jr.'s Controversial Movie Left "90% of my Black friends" Impressed Due To Ben Stiller


  • Robert Downey Jr.'s career resurgence was solidified in 2008 with an Oscar-nominated performance in Ben Stiller's Tropic Thunder.
  • The film has been controversial and is regularly brought up on social media platforms as an example of a movie that would face obstacles if produced in the present day.
  • Downey's black friends were impressed by his performance in the film, which was praised for its authenticity.
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The summer of 2008 undoubtedly belonged to a thriving Robert Downey Jr; thanks to the release of the first Iron Man, setting the stage for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The actor, who had once faced employment challenges, solidified his remarkable career resurgence with an Oscar-nominated performance in Ben Stiller’s unapologetic Hollywood satire, Tropic Thunder.

A still from Tropic Thunder
A still from Tropic Thunder

However, the film also embroiled Downey in a storm of controversy that remains relevant even today. Despite its release fifteen years ago, Tropic Thunder is regularly brought up on social media platforms like X (formerly known as Twitter) as a prime example of a movie that would face significant obstacles if produced in the present day. Even as new audiences discover the film, they express astonishment at what Downey’s role specifically entails. Here’s an overview of the ongoing commotion stirred by Tropic Thunder.

Also Read: “I want fat hands”: Ben Stiller Was Pissing Himself Laughing After Tom Cruise Turned into a Bald, Fat Dancing Man For ‘Tropic Thunder’


Robert Downey Jr.’s Black Friends Were Impressed By His Performance

Apart from his roles as co-writer, director, and lead actor, Ben Stiller brought together an exceptionally high-profile cast, featuring the likes of Jack Black, Matthew McConaughey, and Tom Cruise. Their mission was to portray exaggerated renditions of themselves and other archetypal Hollywood figures, ranging from the volatile studio executive to the fame-seeking actor recovering from a regrettable failure.

Tropical Thunder
Tropical Thunder

Stiller entrusted Robert Downey Jr. with the character of Kirk Lazarus, an Australian actor representing the epitome of method acting akin to Daniel Day-Lewis or Jeremy Strong. During an appearance on Joe Rogan’s podcast, Robert Downey Jr. Spoke about Ben Stiller, the director. Downey Jr. emphasizes that Ben’s clear vision for the movie, coupled with his exceptional execution, was instrumental in preventing it from becoming an offensive disaster. 

Downey Jr. told Joe Rogan:


“Ben, who is a masterful artist and director, is probably the closest thing to Charlie Chaplin that I’ve experienced in my lifetime. He writes, he directs, he acts. If you had seen him when he was directing this movie, it’s like I’m watching David Lean, I’m watching Chaplin, I’m watching Coppola. He knew exactly what the vision for this was, he executed it. It was impossible to not have it be an offensive nightmare of a movie and 90% of my black friends were like ‘dude that was great.'”

According to Robert Downey Jr., Ben Stiller, the film’s director, is an exceptionally skilled artist, whom he likens to the likes of Charlie Chaplin, David Lean, and Coppola. 

Also Read: “He beat me up”: Robert Downey Jr Admitted Tom Cruise’s Tropic Thunder Co-Star Humiliated Him in $212M Movie

Robert Downey Jr. Had Panic Called Jamie Foxx After The Offer

Robert Downey Jr.’s depiction of Kirk Lazarus in the film was lauded for its authenticity, particularly in his portrayal of an Australian actor attempting to emulate an African American, navigating the complex themes of racism and discrimination.

Jamie Foxx
Jamie Foxx

Although he delivered an exceptional performance in the movie, he had reservations about taking on the role and even considered asking Jamie Foxx to assume the part. In a segment of the Joe Rogan Experience, Jamie Foxx highlighted how individuals in the entertainment industry often become easy targets for those who harbor animosity towards them.

The actor from Django Unchained reminisced about approaching Robert Downey Jr. for the Mexican character in the film, considering the comedian as a target for criticism. Initially accepting the role, Downey later expressed his nervousness via text to Foxx about portraying a Mexican character. Jamie Foxx, however, reassured Downey that his performance would not cause offense.

Also Read: Before Tropic Thunder, Tom Cruise Displayed His Insane Acting Range in Uncredited Cameo Directed by Indiana Jones Director Steven Spielberg


Written by Vishal

Articles Published: 976

Vishal Kawadkar is a seasoned writer specializing in writing engaging and informative content on various topics. He is a cinephile with a keen interest in sci-fi and thriller movies and TV shows. With an eye for detail, Vishal likes offering readers a fresh perspective on the latest trends and developments.