"Tropic Thunder Interview - Ben Stiller dishes about how he made the Thunder happen."
ORIGINAL AIR DATE: August 12, 2008
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Mike Richards: Now before the protests at the Tropic Thunder premiere that we showed you at the top of the show, Ben Stiller who also wrote, produced, and directed the movie, talked to Dailies. Gerrad Hall is back with that story.
Gerrard Hall: Ben Stiller was slightly busy on this one. Ben Stiller had the idea for Tropic Thunder many years ago when friends of his went to boot camp to prepare for their movie roles. Now after talking to a major war movie director, he took that idea and added a major twist to come up with his movie.
Gerrad Hall: It was the 1987 movie Hamburger Hill that gave Ben Stiller the idea for Tropic Thunder.
Ben Stiller: It was funny just to hear the actors all of a sudden everybody's going off and doing boot camp and coming back and talking about doing this incredible experience.
Gerrad Hall: After a face-to-face meeting with Platoon director Oliver Stone, Stiller was smitten with the idea of a war movie.
Ben Stiller: I definitely wanted to be in one of those movies, I thought it would be cool, you know. The closest I got was Empire of the Sun I got to play a POW.
Gerrad Hall: Twenty-something years later, Stiller got his wish... but he Stiller-ized it.
Ben Stiller: "The way that we looked at it in the movie it was always through the lens of the actors, you know we are making fun of, it's something we make fun of, satirizing the actors. Because we do take ourselves seriously a lot of the time, even if we're trying not to. It's just a crazy world that we live in.
Gerrad Hall: The plot of Tropic Thunder revolves around a group of actors who go off into the jungle to shoot their movie but end up being caught in real-life dangerous conditions. The movie plays on the vanity of actors who go into dramatic roles.
Ben Stiller: The idea is actors who, for whatever reason, sometimes they're entering into it just for, you know, a pure altruistic reason. And other times actors want to win awards or to be taken seriously.
Gerrad Hall: The actor making the biggest splash in reviews is Robert Downey, Jr. He plays an Oscar-winning Australian actor who will go to any length for his role...in this case, becoming a black man.
Ben Stiller: Rarely have I seen someone who is that good, who is as generous with other actors and includes everybody in the process, which I think always ends up bringing everybody around him up.
Gerrad Hall: That the actors are having fun is evident in the movie, but the core idea of awards is still true for Stiller.
Ben Stiller: I mean every actor would love to win awards. Of course, yeah.
Gerrad Hall: We'll see what this one will be up for. On the next Dailies we'll have more on Tropic Thunder as Jack Black tells about his character who undergoes a transformation of his own.
Mike Richards: Every one of these characters in this movie gets some really funny moments. Jack Black's character gets one of the best ones.
Gerrad Hall: Ah, yes. When you're least expecting it they throw some good jokes at ya.
Mike Richards: Yes, looking forward to that tomorrow. Thanks Gerrad.