Tropic Thunder co-writer Justin Theroux still stands by his work, and his White House Plumbers co-star Woody Harrelson has the perfect solution for the movie to be made in today’s conditions. The controversial satirical comedy received backlash for Robert Downey Jr. donning blackface and its portrayal of disabled individuals. Harrelson suggests that removing Downey Jr. from the movie would be necessary for the movie to be made today.
Despite the controversies, the film was an instant hit among critics and audiences, with the Iron Man actor receiving immense praise for his character. He was nominated for an Academy Award for the role. Another hit character from the film, Tom Cruise’s Les Grossman, was rumored to be getting a spin-off movie.
Woody Harrelson’s Suggestion On How To Make Tropic Thunder In Today’s Conditions
Woody Harrelson appeared alongside Justin Theroux for an interview with Newsweek to promote their HBO show, White House Plumbers. During the interview, Theroux was asked about Ben Stiller’s 2008 comedy film, Tropic Thunder. Theroux co-wrote the script of the film alongside Stiller and Etan Cohen, while also appearing for a cameo in the film.
He was not happy with the current state of the film industry, where works are canceled without understanding the context behind it. He believed that Tropic Thunder could still be made today but not with the same looks or jokes from 2008. Theroux’s ex-wife Jennifer Aniston had also previously criticized Hollywood’s cancel culture. However, Woody Harrelson interrupted Theroux’s conversation with a possible solution for the movie to be made, stating, “You’d have to cut Downey out.”
Interestingly, Robert Downey Jr. plays an Australian actor, Kirk Lazarus, who undergoes extreme measures, including pigmentation alteration surgery, to play an African-American man. Theroux clarified that the film was not intended to hurt any community’s feelings, sharing that the jokes were aimed at “a bunch of dumb actors”.
The film’s director and lead star, Ben Stiller, noted on X in February that he would not apologize for the film. He shared that he was proud of the film and the crew behind it, despite the controversies.
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
Apart from these controversies, the film also faced accusations of promoting anti-semitic themes. Les Grossman, the Hollywood agent in the film, was played by Tom Cruise, who wore a fat suit, prosthetic hands, and a bald head to portray his character. His costume choices were criticized for allegedly appropriating a Jewface.
Tom Cruise’s Les Grossman May Return In A Spin-Off Movie
Tom Cruise played the ill-tempered studio executive in the film. It was believed that his character was loosely inspired by film producer Scott Rudin and the infamous Harvey Weinstein. Cruise was initially offered the role of Rick Peck, a role that later went to Matthew McConaughey, but Cruise suggested the idea of adding a studio head character.
Cruise developed his character in collaboration with Stiller, contributing to the character’s behavior, mannerisms, and costumes. A spin-off movie for the famous character was initially teased by Paramount, stating that they had “secured the life rights to Grossman” (via EW). Later, Deadline reported that Cruise and producer Christopher McQuarrie are very much interested in the character.
Tom Cruise was nominated for a Golden Globe for his performance in Tropic Thunder. With the potential spin-off, he may have the opportunity to bring home that award. Tropic Thunder is now available for streaming on Hulu.