ShoWest: Get Ready for Tropic Thunder!
by Alex Billington
March 12, 2008
Just last week we were all introduced to another big summer comedy named Tropic Thunder. Directed and starring Ben Stiller and also starring Robert Downey Jr., Jack Black, and Nick Nolte, Tropic Thunder is about a group of actors who are accidentally (maybe) dropped off in a jungle and must become the real people that they were portraying as actors. At ShoWest on Tuesday night, we were treated to an evening of drinks, sushi, and lots of Tropic Thunder. Ben Stiller and Robert Downey Jr. were on hand to introduce the brand new trailer (which you'll see Monday) and a few clips, all of which kicked some serious ass.
In the action comedy Tropic Thunder, a group of actors shooting a war movie includes Kirk Lazarus (Robert Downey Jr.), an over-the-top Australian-born method actor who has gone to extremes to get into character, novice thesp Sandusky (Jay Baruchel), gross-out comedy star Jeff Portnoy (Jack Black), Four Leaf Tayback (Nick Nolte), the real-life inspiration for the film, pampered action superstar Tugg Speedman (Ben Stiller) and rap star Alpa Chino (Brandon T. Jackson).
Paramount has four solid hits and one giant flop this summer. Iron Man, Indiana Jones IV, Kung Fu Panda, and Tropic Thunder are all going to be huge, enjoyable hits, but The Love Guru is going to flop bad. Never in a million years did I think I would be saying that a Ben Stiller comedy looks good. I hate Zoolander, hate it with a fiery passion (don't argue that with me). That was the last movie Stiller directed, so going into Tropic Thunder of course I'm expecting to hate it, too. But damn was I wrong!
First up, the trailer. I'm not going to try and describe it, because you'll see it online here on Monday anyway. However, I will say it was one of the most beautifully edited "blow shit up" and "get you excited" trailers ever. If you watched that short teaser we played last week, you'll know it ends with "shit blows up." And yes, in the trailer, lots and lots of shit blows up. The trailer got me excited as hell, so much so that I may even say Tropic Thunder has nudged out Get Smart as the comedy I'm most looking forward to this summer. I'm not being sold by publicity here folks, this is genuine excitement.
Second, we were shown two awesome clips. The first was a scene where the group of guys is dropped off with their director Damien (played by Steve Coogan). It's the scene where they're finally put out in the real world without knowing exactly what's going on - that this isn't just part of the set, it's real. The other scene was after Stiller's character had been captured and it was the night before they were going to attempt a rescue. The scene involves all of the remaining guys sitting around a fire chatting about life. Jack Black's character is an ex-heroin addict who ends up getting tied to the tree.
While it's hard to get you excited for this without seeing the same clips, what I can say is that this will be very R-rated. Sure the language is R-rated, but there's gore and violence and all of the sort. This isn't a cute little comedy, this is an all-out balls-to-the-wall ridiculous action comedy that feels like their budget was bigger than Spider-Man 3 (although I'm sure it wasn't… I hope?). To give you an idea of how ridiculous it is, a certain person gets blown up in the aforementioned scene when the helicopter drops them off. Stiller thinks it's a joke, so he picks up the head saying things like "it's just a fake head!" and tastes the blood and puts his hand in it. As gross as it is, everyone was laughing their asses off!
I'm not going to try and explain any more, because when you finally see the full trailer on Monday, you'll understand. All I can say, though, is that this truly does look great, no, beyond great! This really is genuine excitement and I really am baffled that even I am looking forward to a Ben Stiller movie. I don't even know how, I can't even explain, I'm just energized. I'm ready to see Platoon meets Full Metal Jacket meets Monty Python meets Last Action Hero and laugh all night long. Stay tuned for our interview with Ben Stiller coming this Sunday night!
Directed by and starring Ben Stiller and written by Etan Cohen ("King of the Hill", Idiocracy) and well-known actor Justin Theroux (who also stars in the film), Tropic Thunder arrives in theaters everywhere this summer on August 15th.