This is the first shot from Ben Stiller’s Tropic Thunder and if you think the black guy looks familiar, that’s probably because you’ve seen him before. It’s Robert Downey Jr. But Don’t worry NAACP. He’s not a white guy playing a black guy. He’s a white guy playing an actor playing a black guy.
Stiller says that he and Downey always stayed focused on the fact that they were skewering insufferable actors, not African-Americans. ”I was trying to push it as far as you can within reality,” Stiller explains. ”I had no idea how people would respond to it.” He recently screened a rough cut of the film and it scored high with African-Americans. He was relieved at the reaction. ”It seems people really embrace it,” he says.
Okay. I think I know why I ended up with three broken ribs and a shattered cheekbone on Halloween. I explained my costume all wrong. I wasn’t dressed as a black guy. I was dressed as an actor dressed as a black guy. You know. Satire.