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With Robert Downey, Jr. currently starring in potentially the biggest box-office stinker of his career (ahem, Dolittle ), it seems an appropriate time for him to stick his foot in his mouth — since, you know, what does it matter?
The 2008 comedy Tropic Thunder, directed by Ben Stiller, rather infamously featured Downey, Jr. as a method actor named Kirk Lazarus who has his skin darkened in order to play the role of a black soldier in a film.
During a recent appearance on The Joe Rogan Experience , the actor elaborated on his controversial choice to don blackface.
He said, “My mother was horrified. ‘Bobby, I’m telling ya, I have a bad feeling about this.’ I was like, ‘Yeah me too, mom.’ When Ben called and said, ‘Hey I’m doing this thing’ – you know I think Sean Penn had passed on it or something. Possibly wisely. And I thought, ‘Yeah, I’ll do that and I’ll do that after Iron Man .’ Then I started thinking, ‘This is a terrible idea, wait a minute.’ Then I thought, ‘Well hold on dude, get real here, where is your heart?’ My heart is…I get to be black for a summer in my mind, so there’s something 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.”
While Downey, Jr. did say that “it’s never an excuse to do something that’s out of place and out of its time,” he feels because Tropic Thunder was a satire poking fun at narcissistic actors who take things too far, it isn’t so bad at all. In fact, it might even be educational?
Hmmmmmm. Let’s highlight that one quote again: “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.”
Speaking of narcissistic actors taking things too far.
He continued to dig his hole, adding, “(Ben) 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 per cent of my black friends were like, ‘Dude, that was great.’ I can’t disagree with (the other 10 per cent), but I know where my heart lies. I think that it’s never an excuse to do something that’s out of place and out of its time, but to me it blasted the cap on (the issue). I think having a moral psychology is job one. Sometimes, you just gotta go, ‘Yeah I effed up.’ In my defence, Tropic Thunder is about how wrong (blackface) is, so I take exception.”
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