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“That’s what people were pissed off about”: Robert Downey Jr. Was Relieved After His Tropic Thunder Co-stars Took All the Heat From Fans


Robert Downey Jr. after his successful movie Iron Man starring as Tony Stark, a genius, billionaire, playboy, and philanthropist, was cast for a role in Tropic Thunder as Kirk Lazarus. The movie was a parody based on Vietnam War, where all these big-shot actors were dropped in the jungle portraying as soldiers.

Robert Downey Jr. in a podcast with Joe Rogan shares that his role received some backlash as there were many negative critic reviews. This was because he donned a blackface in the movie which in recent times has been a subject of controversy.

RDJ in Tropic Thunder
Robert Downey Jr. in Tropic Thunder

Also read: “My mother was horrified”: Robert Downey Jr Was Warned by His Mother Before Playing a Black Guy in Tropic Thunder

RDJ’s Co-stars Took the Heat for Him

Robert Downey Jr. played the role of Kirk Lazarus, an Australian actor who had his face transformed by pigmentation alteration, a type of surgery that makes your skin tone darker. Though he played the character up to perfection, he received much backlash but he does not regret playing the role. He adds that after he finished his role, “90 percent” of RDJ’s black friends appreciated him for his role.

While he received heat due to this role, he is thankful to his co-stars Ben Stiller and Jack Black not because they came to support Downey, but because the entire heat was deflected to them. Downey in the podcast said,

“By the way, the funny thing too was all the heat got deflected to Ben and simple Jack, that’s what people were pissed off about and I go – Phew!!! Great!!!”. 

Tropic Thunder also featured Ben Stiller and Jack Black in the lead.
Tropic Thunder also featured Ben Stiller and Jack Black as the lead

Also read: After Starring as a Black Man in ‘Tropic Thunder, Robert Downey Jr. Was Supposed to Play the Role of a Mexican Man in This Now Shelved Jamie Foxx Comedy

He also shared that before he played the role, RDJ’s mother was horrified and they both started cracking down, Robert Downey Jr. and Joe Rogan. Downey impersonated his mother, “Bobby I am telling you, I have a bad feeling about this”. But as we know how troll of a character RDJ is, he simply replied that he knew but still went on to play the role.

Tropic Thunder: A Satirical Movie

Tropic Thunder is a comedy-packed action film based on the Vietnam War. The movie is about a group of egoistic actors who set out to make an expensive war movie. But before their productions could begin, their funding stopped, and the director in a fit of rage dropped the actors in the middle of a jungle, setting them up with cameras and prop guns that shoot blanks. As the actors believed it to be all part of the movie, they were actually in the middle of a jungle, which was the base of a gang that produces heroin from poppy flowers.

The movie was a huge success at the box office as it grossed over $195 million worldwide from a production cost of only $92 million and received multiple award nominations. The movie won the Critics’ Choice Award for Best Comedy Movie and the Golden Trailer Award for Best Comedy along with many other wins and nominations.

Tom Cruise as Les Grossman in Tropic Thunder (2008).
Tom Cruise as Les Grossman in Tropic Thunder 

Also read: “90% of my black friends were like, ‘Dude, that was great”: Robert Downey Jr. Doesn’t Regret Wearing Blackface in Tropic Thunder Despite Mom Saying It’s a ‘Terrible Idea’

RDJ, on the other hand, won the Central Ohio Film Critics Association Award for Actor of the Year and was nominated for Academy Awards, the Screen Actors Guild Award, BAFTA Awards, and many others. Along with his co-star Tom Cruise, both were also nominated for the Golden Globe Award.

There were many famed actors playing in the movie such as Ben Stiller, Robert Downey Jr., Tom Cruise, Jack Black, Bill Hader, Tobie Maguire, Mathew McConaughey, and many others.

Tropic Thunder is available for streaming on Prime Video.

Source: The Joe Rogan Experience

Written by Rajdeep Majumder

Rajdeep Majumder is a maniac for cold coffee besides being an avid CoD enthusiast and a student of Computer Science. On top of a budding investment in music and pop culture, Rajdeep now has an accumulated interest in the world of film and television. As an aspiring content writer, he can now boast of more than 100 published articles on Fandomwire under his byline. Looking ahead, he can envision himself backpacking across Europe within 5 years’ time.