Robert Downey Jr. Reflects on Controversial ‘Tropic Thunder' Role During a recent interview on ‘The Joe Rogan Experience,’ Downey discussed his role in the movie, ‘Tropic Thunder.’ In the satirical film, Downey portrayed an Australian actor who undergoes “pigmentation alteration” surgery in order to darken his skin. According to Downey, he initially thought accepting the role from director Ben Stiller was a “terrible idea.” He ultimately decided to take on the role because he knew where his “heart” was. Robert Downey Jr., to 'TJRE' Downey also said that he thought his portrayal put a “blasting cap” on the issue of blackface. Robert Downey Jr., to 'TJRE' Although he knows he “effed up,” Downey believes ‘Tropic Thunder’ as a whole provided commentary on how offensive actors can be. Robert Downey Jr., to 'TJRE'