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23rd Feb 2023

Robert Downey Jr has no regrets about wearing blackface in Tropic Thunder

Charlie Herbert

’90 percent of my black friends were like ‘dude that was great”

Robert Downey Jr has no regrets about wearing blackface for his role in Tropic Thunder and has spoken about the reaction people had to the movie.

The film, which was released in 2008, stoked controversy over its portrayal of disabled people and minority groups, with Downey Jr appearing in blackface for the film.

Earlier this week, Ben Stiller responded to ‘cancel culture’ claims made in relation to the film, saying that he ‘makes no apologies’ for it and remains “proud of it.”

In the comedy film, which sees Downey Jr star alongside the likes of Stiller and Jack Black as actors shooting a film, he plays pretentious Australian method actor Kirk Lazarus playing Sgt Lincoln Osiris.

So he’s playing the role of an actor who is playing a role in a movie.

The character that Downey’s character is playing in the film is black, so Lazarus has undergone controversial ‘pigmentation alteration’ surgery for the role.

In the film, this is portrayed as controversial and called out by several other characters, such as Alpa Chino (Brandon T Jackson) who slates Lazarus during several scenes where the actors stop to argue about their characters.

But there has still been some backlash to it in the real world.

In an appearance on the Joe Rogan Experience, Downey Jr explained why he took the role and said he doesn’t regret playing the controversial part.

But he admitted that he did have some doubts before filming.

He said: “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’.

“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.”

He did reveal that his mum wasn’t too impressed with the film though…

Downey Jr said it was “impossible to not have it be an offensive nightmare of a movie”, but said that about 90 percent of his black friends had told him ‘dude, that was great’ after seeing Tropic Thunder.

In response to critics who have said Downey was wrong to play the part, he said he “can’t disagree with them but I know where my heart was.”

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