Robert Downey Jr has spoken about the public response to the movie Tropic Thunder in which he wore blackface for his role and stated that he does not regret his decision.
Tropic Thunder is often cited as a film that could not be made today due to its use of blackface by a white actor (Downey Jr) in its parody of war movies.
The character played by Downey Jr in Tropic Thunder is a complex one, as he portrays the pretentious Australian method actor Kirk Lazarus, who in turn is disguised as Sgt Lincoln Osiris, meaning that he is a dude playing a dude disguised as another dude.
Downey Jr wore blackface for his role in Tropic Thunder as the character he portrayed was black, and while the movie itself addresses the controversy, there has still been criticism directed towards the actor for his portrayal.
In Tropic Thunder, the use of blackface is openly criticized by other characters, including Alpa Chino (played by Brandon T Jackson), who argues with Lazarus about his portrayal of the character in several scenes throughout the movie.
During an appearance on The Joe Rogan Experience, Downey Jr discussed his decision to take on the controversial role in the film and acknowledged having some doubts about it at times, but ultimately stated that he does not regret his decision.
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."
Downey Jr continued by expressing that it was challenging to avoid making an offensive film, but he also shared that around 90 percent of his black friends had praised his performance and enjoyed Tropic Thunder.
When asked about those who did not share the same view, the actor stated that he "can't disagree with them but I know where my heart was."
Although the movie is often cited as a movie that would not be made today, there are still many who find it hilarious and do not take issue with Downey Jr's portrayal.
According to Downey Jr's Tropic Thunder co-star Jackson, the movie "would not work right now" due to the increased polarization of opinions. However, he also stated that he was not personally offended by the use of blackface in the film.
During an appearance on The Joe Rogan Experience, Jamie Foxx shared that he had previously told Downey Jr "you played the black dude and you killed that s**t."
Director Ben Stiller of Tropic Thunder recently responded to fans who urged him to stop apologizing for the movie, stating that he has consistently been proud of it and will not make any apologies for the film.
According to Stiller, Tropic Thunder was always intended to parody actors' desperate attempts to win awards, as well as to satirize some of the most iconic films about the Vietnam War.