ShoWest: Tropic Thunder!
The most fun thing about doing this job is being able to come to you guys and share with you something I'm really excited about and I'm sure you'll dig (like the 300 or IRON MAN footage at Comic-Con). I'm thrilled to be able to tell you tonight that I've seen the future: and the future is TROPIC THUNDER.
Paramount hosted a special TROPIC THUNDER party at ShoWest today with Ben Stiller and Robert Downey, Jr. on hand to introduce the trailer and two clips from the film. The duo was introduced to the intimate crowd and instead of just going through the motions, they launched into some classic banter I wish I had on tape. Stiller congratulated Downey, Jr. on playing a superhero in IRON MAN but reminded him that he did it first in MYSTERY MEN. Downey, Jr. says "What the hell is MYSTERY MEN?" claiming he had never even heard of it. To which Stiller retorts, "Yeah, you were probably in jail at the time." Classic. This went on for a few more minutes as the two traded verbal barbs and cracked up the crowd. They wondered where co-stars Jack Black and Steve Coogan were (Black was in Louisiana shooting YEAR ONE while Coogan was in Las Vegas, which led Stiller to quip, "he's probably too fucked up." He made clear he was just joking...) Then it was time for the trailer.
TRAILER: It starts off very serious, like a trailer for a Vietnam war movie. Helicopters, explosions, slow tracking shots and then it comes to an abrupt end when we see Robert Downey, Jr. holding Ben Stiller's handless arms. "Can we try that again," says Stiller and we realize we're just watching the making of a movie. We're then introduced to all the characters like Tugg Speedman (Stiller), the action hero who wears a chinchilla coat made of live chinchillas; Fats Portnoy (Jack Black), a drug-addicted comedian not unlike Chris Farley; and Robert Downey, Jr. as Kirk Lazarus, an actor so method he had facial reconstructive surgery to appear black.
After that we get some quick scenes of the film's director (Coogan) getting frustrated with his crew and turning to a military expert (Nick Nolte) for help. Nolte's character suggests dropping them in the middle of a war zone and that's how our film gets started as the actors get mistaken for an actual troop.
CLIP #1 - Here we see Coogan dropping off his actors (which also includes Jay Baruchel and Brandon Jackson) in the middle of the jungle. He collects their Blackberrys and begins to give them a motivational speech on getting their collective shit together. They won't go home, he says, until they finish shooting. Just as he wraps up his speech, he steps on a landmine and is blown to chunks. No one is sure what to think until Stiller laughs it off saying it was just a special FX gag. He picks off Coogan's decapitated head and says "guys I know a fake head when I see one." To prove to them it's fake he sticks a finger in the neck and tastes the blood. "See it's just corn syrup! Blood-flavored corn syrup..." He then puts the head on the tip of his rifle and holds it up doing a perfect Coogan impression of the speech he just gave. Some druglords in the distance see this and say, "they have no fear of death."
CLIP #2 - Black's Jeff Portnoy is trying to kick his heroin addiction so he pleads to Baruchel to tie him up to a tree and not let him down until he's clean no matter how much he begs. It should be noted that Black does the jonesing drug addict bit perfectly. Later the other actors are sitting around a campfire shooting the shit when Baruchel mentions that he thought the role in this film would get him laid. Jackson's character slips and says "Lance" when talking about getting some leading the other characters to wonder whether he's gay. Black, now desperate to get down from the tree, tells Jackson, in explicit terms, how he will give him a blowjob if he cuts him down.
I may have done a piss poor job and translating how funny this is, but trust me it's funny. You have to hear Robert Downey, Jr.'s voice to fully appreciate his character. And Jack Black is hilarious and I only wish I could repeat some of the things he said in that last clip in this article. Let's just say that TROPIC THUNDER will definitely be rated-R.
With all the big action flicks looking to dominate the summer like IRON MAN and THE DARK KNIGHT, look for TROPIC THUNDER to be the surprise hit of the summer. Though you can claim it didn't surprise you at all because you heard about its awesomeness right here on JoBlo.com.... TROPIC THUNDER hits theaters on August 15th.