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Robert Downey Jr. Says Mum Was 'Horrified' When He Went Blackface In Tropic Thunder

Robert Downey Jr. Says Mum Was 'Horrified' When He Went Blackface In Tropic Thunder

Over the course of the past decade or so, Robert Downey Jr. has become so well-known and loved as Iron Man - starring in 10 Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) films - that it's easy to forget he was once donned blackface in Tropic Thunder. The 54-year-old received an Oscar nomination for best supporting actor for his role in the 2008 satirical action comedy, however, it turns out his mum was 'horrified' when he took the part.

Looking back on the film with Joe Rogan, the pair discussed whether a move like it could be made today.

When asked by the host if anybody had told him not to take the role, Downey Jr. replied: "My mother was horrified... 'Bobby, I'm telling ya, I have a bad feeling about this'. I was like, 'yeah me too, mom'."

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Discussing why he decided to take the part, he said: "When Ben [Stiller] called and said, 'Hey, I'm doing this thing' - I think maybe Sean Penn had passed on it or something like that, possibly wisely - and I thought yeah, I'll do that after Iron Man, and then I thought, 'this is a terrible idea'.

"And then I thought, 'hold on dude, get real, 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.

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"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."

Robert Downey Jr. says his mum was 'horrified' when he took the role in Tropic Thunder. Credit: DreamWorks Pictures
Robert Downey Jr. says his mum was 'horrified' when he took the role in Tropic Thunder. Credit: DreamWorks Pictures
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He continued: "It was impossible to not have it be an offensive nightmare of a movie and 90 percent of my black friends were like, 'dude, that was great'."

Rob DJ also revealed that his wife shared his mum's concerns about the script, but she believed it could be a great film if done properly.

He said: "It was a really good script. My mrs - who next to my mother, probably more so, was the opinion I was really waiting on - she was reading it in the kitchen laughing her a** off, she goes, 'this is so wrong, this is so wrong'.

"And she goes, 'and it's so true. If you do this right, then you're doing something that's, it's about a bunch of self-involved idiots somehow or another becoming heroes'. And she goes, 'I love that'."

Featured Image Credit: DreamWorks Pictures

Topics: TV and Film, US Entertainment, Robert Downey Jr

Jake Massey

Jake Massey is a journalist at LADbible. He graduated from Newcastle University, where he learnt a bit about media and a lot about living without heating. After spending a few years in Australia and New Zealand, Jake secured a role at an obscure radio station in Norwich, inadvertently becoming a real-life Alan Partridge in the process. From there, Jake became a reporter at the Eastern Daily Press. Jake enjoys playing football, listening to music and writing about himself in the third person.