In Memoriam 1942 – 2013 “Roger Ebert loved movies.”

RogerEbert.com

Thumb_large_apkha6kdkbi8fa6wr72xhyqsif7

Mother's Day

A film so awful that if one were to put up a list of the great movies celebrating motherhood, it would rank considerably lower than…

Thumb_lxlekycuhbq08r626lsvo7jtq7y

The Man Who Knew Infinity

An account of a remarkable person should strive to be as equally remarkable as its subject, not the timid and tidy boilerplate special of a…

Other Reviews
Review Archives
Thumb_xbepftvyieurxopaxyzgtgtkwgw

Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

Thumb_jrluxpegcv11ostmz1fqha1bkxq

Monsieur Hire

Patrice Leconte's "Monsieur Hire" is a tragedy about loneliness and erotomania, told about two solitary people who have nothing else in common. It involves a…

Other Reviews
Great Movie Archives
Other Articles
Chaz's Blog Archives

Robert Downey Jr. plays it black

thth.jpg

Who's that black guy in between the blonde Jack Black and the tattooed Ben Stiller? It's Robert Downey, Jr.

One of these days I'm gonna play it black Play it black One of these days... -- misquoted Elvis Costello song from "My Aim is True"

What will the Jim Crow "one-droppers" who didn't think Angelina Jolie was "African enough" to play Dutch-Jewish / Cuban-black-Hispanic-Chinese Mariane Pearl make of this? The actor in the center of the accompanying image is Robert Downey Jr., a white German-Scottish / Irish-Jewish actor. He's playing a white actor who is cast in a part originally written for a black actor, so he decides to play it black. The movie, "Tropic Thunder," is a satire of Hollywood actors making an epic war movie. It's directed by Stiller, co-written by Etan Cohen ("Idiocracy," "My Wife is Retarded" -- note that the "h" is not in the first name but the last; he's no relation to Joel) and Justin Theroux (who played a director in "Mulholland Drive" and an actor in "Inland Empire"). Nick Nolte, Jay Baruchel and Steve Coogan also star -- along with some big names in cameo appearances.

As Downey told Entertainment Weekly, "If it's done right, it could be the type of role you called Peter Sellers to do 35 years ago. If you don't do it right, we're going to hell." [...]

''At the end of the day, it's always about how well you commit to the character,'' he says. ''I dove in with both feet. If I didn't feel it was morally sound, or that it would be easily misinterpreted that I'm just C. Thomas Howell in ["Soul Man"], I would've stayed home.''

Trivia: Downey's father, the writer-director of "Putney Swope," the satirical 1969 comedy about a black advertising executive, looped his own voice for the black actor in the leading role.

OK, we've also seen a black actor playing a racist white man who turns black overnight (Godfrey Cambridge in Melvin Van Peebles' 1970 "Watermelon Man"); a white male actor playing a white female actor (Dustin Hoffman in "Tootsie"); a white female American actor playing a male Chinese-Australian "dwarf" (Linda Hunt, "The Year of Living Dangerously"); a black male actor playing various white, female, Chinese and other characters (Eddie Murphy, "Coming to America," "Norbit"); Chinese actors playing Japanese geishas (Gong Li, Ziyi Zhang, "Memoirs of a Geisha"; a white woman playing a white male pre-op transsexual passing as a white woman (Felicity Huffman, "Transamerica"); a straight white woman playing a gay white female-impersonator (Julie Andrews, "Victor/Victoria"); a German- Japanese-Venezuelan male actor playing a Kenyan-white male American senator and presidential candidate (Fred Armisen on "Saturday Night Live" as Barack Obama); A-- C------ playing itself; a Catholic Italian-American / French-Canadian man playing a Kabbalist Englishwoman (Madonna); various straight actors playing gay roles and gay actors playing straight roles and gay male actors playing straight actors playing straight women and straight men and gay men and... what else?

Popular Blog Posts

Who do you read? Good Roger, or Bad Roger?

This message came to me from a reader named Peter Svensland. He and a fr...

427: Ten years without Jen, twenty-six with

Reflections on a marriage, and what came after.

A Deeper Look into Sam Mendes' "Spectre"

FFC Gerardo Valero reexamines the 2015 James Bond film "Spectre" after the dust has settled.

Dario Argento's "Deep Red" and "Tenebrae" Get Massive Blu-ray Re-releases

A piece on two recent Dario Argento re-releases, "Deep Red" and "Tenebrae."

Reveal Comments
comments powered by Disqus