Robert Downey Jr. isn’t apologizing for his controversial role in “Tropic Thunder” … and he’s using another polarizing show from back in the day to make a nuanced point.
The actor — who just won a Golden Globe for his part in “Oppenheimer” last weekend — recently went on the “Literally! with Rob Lowe” podcast to defend the work he did in the ’08 film, in which he plays a method actor playing a Black man … in full blackface.
RDJ says people should look beyond the surface of his performance — where he was playing a caricature of a person — and consider the larger message the film was trying to convey about his character … namely, highlighting tropes that had been perpetuated for years.
Interestingly enough, he says the show ‘All in the Family’ is a good example of this — telling a quick anecdote about attending Norman Lear’s shiva … and them playing a disclaimer before running a clip from his famous sitcom. Listen — RDJ’s telling us all something here.
The disclaimer read, “The program you are about to see is ‘All in the Family.’ It seeks to throw a humorous spotlight on our frailties, prejudices, and concerns. By making them a source of laughter, we hope to show — in a mature fashion — just how absurd they are.”
Downey says there used to be an understanding between creators and audiences about this type of stuff, and it didn’t have to be handled with kid gloves the way it does nowadays.
Robert’s biggest issue is that he says the modern world is experiencing a “clickbait addiction to grievance” … basically saying it’s so easy to get mad at jokes and film choices without looking at the greater context, or the bigger-picture message. Sadly, times have changed.
Bottom line here … he stands by starring in ‘Tropic Thunder’ — even all these years later.