Robert Downey Jr. is known and loved worldwide for bringing to life iconic characters in films such as Iron Man and Sherlock Holmes. However, none has been more controversial than his classic role as Kirk Lazarus/Father O’Malley in the 2008 comedy Tropic Thunder.
Recently Downey sat down with Joe Rogan for an interview to promote his latest film Dolittle and they even discussed whether or not he would return as Iron Man in the future, but it didn’t take long for the host to ask him about his thoughts on portraying an actor portraying an African-American man in Tropic Thunder (complete with make-up and all).
Downey acknowledges the film was an “offensive nightmare” but hopes audiences understand where his heart was when he helped make the film. He also admitted he had his doubts before agreeing to do the film.
“I just started thinking ‘this is a terrible idea, wait a minute‘, and then I thought ‘well, hold on, dude. Get real here. Where is your heart?‘”, going on to add that, “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.”
Concerning critics of his involvement with the film, he said “I can’t disagree with them, but I know where my heart was.”
He also had high praise for Ben Stiller, the director, writer, and co-star of the film, lauding him as a “masterful artists and director, probably the closest thing to a Charlie Chaplin”.
He was even grateful to Stiller, saying “All the heat got deflected to Ben and Simple Jack.”
Moreover, the Marvel star said “Not in my defense, but Tropic Thunder was about how wrong that is. So, I take exception.”
When asked if anyone advised him against starring in the film, Downey recalled “My mother was horrified. ‘Bobby, I’m telling you, I have a bad feeling about this’“
Fans of the comedy might be interested to learn that Downey was inspired by the 1969 film Putney Swope before taking on the role of Kirk Lazarus/Father O’Malley.
To hear Downey’s complete take on the film, check out the clip below: