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Tropic Thunder - "Full Retard" Scene

by Nicholas Sammond

This scene features Ben Stiller and a Robert Downey Jr. in blackface, playing an actor who is a fully immersed, stereotypical "method actor". Kirk Lazarus played by Downey and Stiller's Tugg Speedman walk in the jungle together, discussing Speedman's role playing a mentally disabled person, and the preparations he had to make to play the character of Jack. Downey's character subtly hints at the incompatibility of playing someone "who's stupid and thinks he's smart", and eventually explains to Speedman the rules of playing disabled characters in Hollywood. As a wink to the camera - the very mechanism of Hollywood cinematic production - Lazarus says offhandedly to Speedman "and you know how the Academy is about that shit" - hinting at the Academy's complicity in the very notion of "Oscar bait". In this strange discourse between two actors, Lazarus lays down the law that you never go "full retard" - listing Rain Man, Forrest Gump as examples of characters whom still possess other qualities other than their mental disabilities, and listing down Sean Penn's performance in "I Am Sam" as the indicator of this rule to never go "full retard".

Tropic Thunder - "Full Retard" Scene

In this scene with Ben Stiller and a Robert Downey Jr. in blackface, the latter's character who is a full-immersive, "method actor" explains to the former the rules of playing disabled characters in Hollywood.

from Tropic Thunder (2008 )
Creator: Ben Stiller
Distributor: DreamWorks Pictures
Posted by Nicholas Sammond
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