WTF! | Robert Downey, Jr.

11 03 2008

Forty years ago, Robert Downey, Sr. directed, produced and also dubbed the voice of the lead character – a black man in “Putney Swope.” This summer the Downey family comes full circle as his son, Robert Downey, Jr. plays a . . . Black man in the comedy, “Tropic Thunder.”

In the “Apocalyse Now”-esque satire, the film takes aim at actor’s huge egos. Downey, Jr. stars as Kirk Lazarus (that’s him in the center of the picture) who ends up with a part in the film originally written for a Black man. Instead of recasting the role, Lazarus dyes his skin to play the character Osiris and . . . you know the rest.

The film also stars Ben Stiller (who also directs) and Jack Black in a modern day “Apocalypse Now.” Jack Black plays a comedian known for playing multiple roles in his films (like his last film, “The Fatties: Fart 2”). When the fake film’s director (Steve Coogan) and writer (Nick Nolte) get fed up with their prima donna cast, they drop them into the jungle to fend for themselves. The actors think they’re doing some sort of full-immersion filmmaking, but the danger they’re in is very real.

Downey is very confident that he did not crossed the line:

“At the end of the day, it’s always about how well you commit to the character,” he says. “I dove in with both feet. If I didn’t feel it was morally sound, or that it would be easily misinterpreted that I’m just C. Thomas Howell in [“Soul Man”], I would’ve stayed home.”

For your sake, Downey we hope you’re right. The moment your character does anything stereotypical because you believe that how Black people act, it’s on!

Does Downey in Blackface, even in 2008, offend you?

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4 responses

11 03 2008
Cindy

No it doesn’t offend me. I think it’s a bold choice because he is indeed diving in with both feet to portray this character and you have to admit, whether people like it or don’t like, they are talking about it. Publicity is good. I’m just thrilled to see him in so many new roles and that, so far, he is winning the battle with deadly substances and continues to entertain us!

12 03 2008
Sisterdoc

Filmgordon, I am feeling you on this one…something doesn’t quite feel right. I talk about this at some length at Sisterdoc.blogspot.com. If you are inclined, check it out. Peace and One.

28 03 2008
ff25

I’m not offend either. Looks funny!

3 05 2008
Jasmine

Not worried. More important things in the world are going on. Bob Downey’s character in this movie is not offensive and I am excited to see the film. I agree with the person who made the comment above about him being bold. I appreciate actors that are willing to take risks, not wimpy, conventional, P.C. actors. And why is that blk people are always making a BIG deal about stuff like this. Other cultures are portrayed all the time by people of different races. GET OVER IT! Plus, I get more and more irritated when it is stated that a blk person can portray or as a director/writer suggest that blk people embody everyday roles as pimps, crackheads, or thieves with no problems. But if someone of another race depicts that in a film…it is wrong. Lets not turn into the NAACP people with this bull.

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