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Robert Downey Jr doesn't regret Tropic Thunder blackface

Robert Downey Jr doesn't regret Tropic Thunder blackface

He claims "90%" of his Black friends thought that the character was "great."

Robert Downey Jr. has spoken out about Tropic Thunder, the satirical action comedy film from 2008, following its resurgence into conversation regarding its use of ableist jokes and blackface.

Tropic Thunder follows five actors - played by Ben Stiller, Robert Downey Jr., Jack Black, Jay Baruchel and Brandon T. Jackson - who are abandoned in the Golden Triangle in order to produce a film accurately portraying a memoir from a Vietnam veteran. Soon, chaos ensues as the actors realise they are in real danger from death at the hands of a gang hiding in the jungle and their survival skills are shockingly inadequate.

Robert Downey Jr. plays an Australian method actor, Kirk Lazarus, who bags the role of Staff Sergeant Lincoln Osiris. As a dig at those who go to severe extremes for their artistry, Downey Jr. appears in blackface and speaks in African American Vernacular English. Tropic Thunder acknowledges this choice is odd in the negative reactions of the rest of the characters to Lazarus' "immersion" in the role of Osiris.

This isn't the only controversial aspect of the film - Stiller's character plays another character who is disabled and Tropic Thunder frequently features the word "retard" in its script.

Recently, the film has been scrutinised for these moments once more, and Stiller said that he will not apologise for the possible offence as he and the team who worked on it are "proud" of the satire. Two months ago, Downey Jr. responded to the question of whether or not the "offensive nightmare of a movie" could be made today.

"I thought, 'yeah I'll do that, I'll do that after Iron Man,' and then I started thinking, 'this is a terrible idea, wait a minute,'" said Downey Jr. in an episode of The Joe Rogan Experience. "Then I thought, 'Hold on dude, get real here, where is your heart,' and my heart is: A, I get to be black for a summer in my mind, so that's in it for me."

"The other thing is 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," continued the actor. Previously, Jamie Foxx had praised Downey Jr'.s performance in Tropic Thunder and Downey Jr claimed that "90%" of his Black friends thought that the character was "great."

Regarding the remaining 10%, the actor admitted he would not dispute their issues with Kirk Lazarus however he clarified, "I know where my heart was."

Featured Image Credit: Paramount Pictures

Topics: TV And Film