After last week’s well-received presentation of some hilarious Tropic Thunder footage at ShoWest, Total Film got a chance to chat with director/star Ben Stiller about the movie. He talked about Robert Downey Jr, controversy and war. What is it good for? Satirising actors’ OTT habits, apparently…
Was it a tough shoot?
It was a four month, 90-day shoot, but I was having so much fun because it's a program I've been wanting to do for 10 years, so to actually be directing and working with the crew, I enjoyed the whole thing. For the first five weeks there were no scenes that had less than 150 people in them. It got a little bit crazy.
And you’re poking fun at your profession?
This movie is about people who take themselves too seriously. Actors tend to think the world revolves around us and always struggle with that, and it's very easy to get deluded and lost.
How was it working with Robert Downey Jr?
It was incredible. I'd never worked with him before and I was just a fan. In the movie, my character is a guy who's intimidated by this award-winning actor and I felt the same way because he's one of the greats. And he has this incredibly quick mind matched to a great sense of humour and he took this role that very few people could pull off.
Do you worry people will object to his white-method-actor-turns black appearance?
I'm sure people, once they see in context what we're doing with the movie, will embrace the whole idea of this actor who is so into character and the lengths that a method actor will go into. And there are plenty of other things in the movie where people are going to go, "Wow... I can't believe they did that!" Wait 'till they see the movie itself.
Oh, and the full trailer has just gone live at yahoo. It reminded us that Tropic Thunder is essentially Galaxy Quest in camouflage make-up - but, you know, funnier.