Twelve years after he portrayed the iconic role of 'Kirk Lazarus' in Tropic Thunder, Robert Downey Jr is facing a public backlash over his 'blackface' in the movie. Downey and Tropic Thunder started trending on Twitter after being criticized for knowingly darkening the colour of his skin for the film. Released in 2008, Tropic Thunder, directed by Ben Stiller is a satirical action comedy film which revolved around the making of a Vietnam war movie.
Downey essays the role of Kirk Lazarus, a white Australian actor who is a method actor. In the film, Lazarus undergoes a pigmentation alterations surgery to play the role of a black soldier, Staff Sgt Lincoln Osiris.
Twitter users demand an apology from Downey
Tropic Thunder was trending again on Twitter with several young users expressing disbelief over Downey's blackface in the movie. "Remember that time Robert Downey jr did full blackface and nobody said ANYTHING," wrote a user.
Defending the actor, a user was quick to tweet: "I see we're at that magical time of the year again when someone on here clearly doesn't understand the jokes in Tropic Thunder, so now we all have to take time out of our day to explain it to them. Don't worry, we can all get through it together."
"No i didn't see tropic thunder will someone please tell me what about the movie could possibly make robert downey jr's blackface acceptable," wrote another.
Downey defends his 'blackface' character in the movie
Speaking to comedian and podcast host Joe Rogan, Downey spoke at length about Tropic Thunder. Revealing about how he landed for the Lazarus' role, Downey said: "And so when Ben [Stiller] called and said "Hey, I'm doing this thing and you know, I think maybe Sean Pean had passed on it or something like that, possibly wisely, and I thought, 'Yeah I'll do that and I'll do that after Iron Man.'"
"And then I started thinking this is a terrible idea. Wait a minute. And 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 there's something in it for me."
Explaining how his black friends reacted to his 'blackface' in the movie, the Iron Man said: "It was impossible to not have it be an offensive nightmare of a movie. And 90% of my black friends were like 'Dude that was great.'"
On being asked about those who were not happy about his portrayal as a black man, he said: "You know, I can't disagree with them. But I know where my heart was. And I think that it's never an excuse to do something that is out of place and nut of its time. But to me, it was a blasting cap on... and by the way I think White Chicks came out pretty soon after that and I was like 'I love that,' I was like, 'That was great.'