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Tropic Thunder on DVD

Sunday, 25 January 2009 12:48

The hysterical box office smash has exploded onto DVD & Blu-Ray. The movie that takes no prisoners is available in a 3-disc Special Collector’s Edition Unrated Director’s Cut, as well as in a single-disc format from Paramount Home Entertainment.

Directed by and starring Ben Stiller as Tugg Speedman and featuring a cast including Robert Downey Jr (“Kirk Lazarus”), Jack Black (“Jeff Portnoy”), Nick Nolte (“Four Leaf Tayback”), and Steve Coogan (“Damian Cocklburn”), “Tropic Thunder” follows five pampered actors on the set of a Vietnam War movie who are thrust into real-life danger and forced to become the fighting unit they’re attempting to portray in order to survive.

Tropic Thunder DVDThe ‘Unrated’ Director’s Cut three-disc DVD set includes the director’s cut version of the feature film with an extra 15 minutes of never-before-seen footage, plus an arsenal of special features that takes viewers even deeper into the mire, including “Rain of Madness”, an uproarious faux documentary about the making of the film within a film, filmmaker and cast commentaries (including some in character), behind-the-scenes featurettes, cast profiles, “Dispatches from the Edge of Madness”, deleted and extended scenes, including an alternative ending, MTV Movie Awards footage and more. The three-disc DVD set and Blu-ray also includes Paramount Home Entertainment’s first ‘digital copy’ which offers consumers the ability to watch the movie on their preferred portable media device (both WMV and iTunes formats).

To celebrate the release, Cineology briefly touched base with three of the stars to interrogate them, minus matchsticks and water, about some of their experiences on the movie.

Cineology: “Were there more of the fake trailers at the start of the film than you ended up using?”

Stiller:  “No, that was it. That was the limit of our creativity. We basically wanted to be able to set up the characters in the movie, since the movie is about actors and the main characters are movie stars, it was a really unique way to be able to set up who these guys were. So it was based on that.”

Black:   “My trailer was not always going to be The Fatties: Fart 2.”

Downey Jr:  “It was going to be Doody For Dinner.”

Stiller: “That’s right. It was going to be Doody For Dinner, where you were a grown up guy in a boys’ boarding school and there was a big food fight and it was called Doody For Dinner. But as you can tell by the reaction, we went with something else.”

Black:  “Tell them about Robert’s fingering of the rosary beads though, or was that Tobey [Maguire] fingering your beads?

Downey Jr:   “Yeah, it was Tobey pulling my beads.”

Cineology: “Did you cast Tobey Maguire in the “Satan’s Alley” trailer so we could see Spider-Man and Iron Man flirt?”

Stiller:  “No, that totally just happened. Actually, Tobey was a last minute replacement for that. He did us a big favour and it was one of those situations where the last minute replacement ends up being better than the first choice. We were very lucky that he came in.  He was going to do another movie, he literally had two and a half hours, but I pitched him the idea on the phone and he was nice enough to come down and do it. And then of course the idea of Iron Man and Spider-Man hooking up was icing on the cake.”

Black:  “The baby would be so powerful – a Spider Robot.”

Stiller:  “Who would give birth to it though?”

Cineology: “Is there any news on Marvel’s “The Avengers” movie?”

Downey Jr:  “Yes, there is. I don’t know. I do this for cash and chicken, they give me a call sheet and I just show up.”

Stiller:  “But you are contractually obligated as Iron Man to show up in other Marvel movies, right? I’m impressed, because I don’t get to do superhero movies. So you had to show up in the Hulk movie, or you just wanted to be in it?”

Downey Jr:  “I don’t want to talk about that yet. I’ve got an idea for a bit we can do at the San Sebastian Film Festival, where we’re going next. We’re going to have to whittle it down to two or three or seven or twelve minutes.”

Cineology: “Robert, Did you draw on anyone else for inspiration in playing Kirk Lazarus?”

Downey Jr: “At times I thought this was like Colin Farrell, this moment reminds me of Daniel Day-Lewis, this feels very Russell Crowe. And then some of it, literally, what are the most obnoxious, self important things that have ever come to mind to me to say about myself. I just kind of exorcised all those. I wouldn’t wish typing this character in anybody, it would be a ghastly insult.”

Cineology: “Do you think you have avoided the controversy many might have expected from this type of move?”

Downey Jr: “I don’t want to say that we had much moral integrity, but Ben and I had some earnest discussions about what’s funny, what isn’t, what’s offensive, and what’s self deprecating. People are used to that, and that doesn’t necessarily translate to ‘oh now we actually like you, the person, the actor, because you’re sending yourself up’. It’s kind-of a little passé. A lot of the humour in this is really just an Americanised 21st century version of the highbrow side of Monty Python. It’s nothing new, that’s why I think that England, the UK and Europe is a very apt market for it, it’s nothing shocking.”

Cineology: “I gather you worked closely with a military adviser, Dale Dye, on the movie?”

Black: “He was there, and he did give some consultation. We had some weapons training. I was strapped with the biggest gun, the heaviest one. They call it ‘the Pig’, an M60.”

Cineology: “And you got to fight against a 12 year old in the film. Did you have to go easy on him?”

Black: “It was stage fighting, I never actually connected. And of course I’m very careful with the kids. I was in “School of Rock”, and we might do a sequel some day and that would really ruin it, if there were reports of me beating a child.  But we had a good scene, I think it came out really funny.”

Cineology: “Ben, do you get a sense of enormous power wielded by action directors when you signal the setting off of pyrotechnics all over the place?”

Stiller: “Yeah, we had to build this bridge that we blew up for real, we had a couple of big explosions in the movie, and there’s a real excitement that goes along with that because you really only have one take for these things. And the preparation that goes into it … at that point when you’re dealing with something like that, there’s a lot of guys on the set who do that for a living, and are very good at it. You sort of turn it over to them. And all you do is give your input for what you want for the movie, and you try to get that as close as you can. But really once you’re in that world you’re dealing with experts.”

Cineology: “Tom Cruise gives a great scene-stealing performance in “Tropic Thunder”; was his look and the dance his own idea?”

Stiller:  “It was all sort-of a collaboration, but he was totally into it and it sort of evolved. We were doing the make-up test and he had this idea that he wanted to have really big hands in the movie which I thought was a strange idea when we first talked about it. Then he actually had these hands made and I thought: ‘wow, that’s really great’.  I wanted to have him be bald. So, we started working on the look and did a few make up tests and during one of those he started dancing. He started doing a little move that sort of felt to me like the gopher in “Caddyshack”. I thought that was really funny so I told him to keep doing it. He started this whole dance in the make-up test with no music playing, then we went back into the editing room and put some music to it and based on that we wrote all the dancing into the movie because I enjoyed it, I thought it was really funny.”

Cineology: “Robert, will you be doing the DVD commentary as Lincoln Osiris? And what would Russell Crowe make of Kirk Lazarus?”

Downey Jr:  “He’s fine with it. I know that for a fact. Luckily, right before we do the DVD commentary I remembered what I’d promised in the movie. And so yes, the first part of the commentary is Osiris entirely, and then when he unmasks I go to Lazarus and then when the credits are rolling I’m finally myself – the Siamese cat, doing a cameo.

Cineology: “The Lazarus character obviously takes his work very seriously, which roles have you taken most seriously during your careers?”

Black: “I had to do a lot of preparation for Nacho Libre, a lot of wrestling training and also I worked on my accent a lot.

Stiller:  “Probably Permanent Midnight, where I played a drug addict.

Cineology: What else is on the DVD in the way of extras?

Stiller:  “We shot a lot of footage, so there’s a lot of stuff that wasn’t in the film. There is a Director’s Cut that’s 20 minutes longer. There’s a bunch of deleted scenes. What I’m sort of psyched about is we put on, instead of bloopers or anything like that, we put on what we call full mags.

“A lot of times we run a whole roll of film and these guys improvise so much, so there’s a whole roll of film where you get to see Jack when he’s tied to the tree, you get to see how Jack would improvise.

“There’s a whole roll from that same scene where Robert is just there with the water buffalo and you get to see his process, which I think is really interesting because you get to see the little bits that got used in the movie and how these guys got to that.

“Then there the mockumentary, called Reign of Madness, the documentary about the making of “Tropic Thunder”, starring Steve Coogan as the director, Damien. Steve and [the film’s co-writer] Justin Theroux did it together while we were filming.  There’s a bunch of stuff in there.”


The Triple-Disc edition and Blu-Ray version has an RRP of £26.99, while the Single Disc RRP is £19.99, or pay less via www.culttvstore.com


Last modified on Thursday, 10 May 2012 16:37

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