Trivia / Tropic Thunder

  • Actor Allusion:
    • In the fake trailers at the beginning of the movie, Tony Stark and Peter Parker as gay monks! Could also be an Actor Allusion to the relationship that Robert Downey, Jr. and Tobey Maguire's characters had in Wonder Boys.
    • "Dear Mr. Joe Quesada,note  boy do I have an idea for you..."
  • All-Star Cast: Ben Stiller, Robert Downey, Jr., Jack Black, Tom Cruise, Jay Baruchel, Nick Nolte, Matthew McConaughey, Danny McBride and Steve Coogan.
  • Cowboy BeBop at His Computer: Almost all coverage of the film refers to Jack Black's character as Jeff "Fats" Portnoy as if "Fats" is Portnoy's In-Series Nickname; Fats is actually the name of Portnoy's character.
  • Development Hell: There were talks about developing a Tom Cruise-starring Les Grossman Spin-Off circa 2010. Nothing has materialized since.
  • Directed by Cast Member: Ben Stiller. Made filming the movie a little complicated since it's about filming a movie within a movie.
  • Dyeing for Your Art: Cruise's appearance as Grossman is completely transformed from sleek, muscular hunk to portly, hair, balding and scraggly. Grossman's personality and character, however, are typical Cruise.
  • Fake Australian: American Robert Downey, Jr. played an Australian who was playing an African American and even disguised himself as an Asian farmer. He's a dude playing a dude playing as a dude disguised as another dude. There's a reason he got an Oscar nomination for this role.
  • Fake Nationality: The Vietnamese cartel Flaming Dragon is led by a Chinese-American and the second-in-command is Filipino-American.
  • The Other Marty: Owen Wilson was originally set to play Tugg Speedman's agent, Rick Peck, but after his suicide attempt, he understandably backed out of the role. The role ended up going to Matthew McConaughey.
  • Starring a Star as a Star: Movie stars Jack Black, Ben Stiller, and Robert Downey, Jr. play fictional movie stars Jeff Portnoy, Tugg Speedman, and Kirk Lazarus (with Portnoy as more of a wacky fart-joke comedy guy, Speedman as a monosyllabic actioner, and Lazarus as an Oscar-obsessed intensive method actor.)
  • Throw It In!: A few scenes just happened on its own.
    • The scene that had Tugg talking to a flying mantis it flying in his face actually happened by accident.
    • When Tugg nearly fell into the river while he was crossing alone, Ben Stiller really did trip.
    • The dance sequence at the end came from Tom Cruise randomly deciding to start hip-hop dancing during a make-up test. The crew thought it was funny enough that they worked it into the script.
    • Some improvisation was used for the real film's dialogue — in fact, Kirk was written as Irish, but Robert Downey, Jr. found it easier to improvise with an Australian accent.
  • Unintentional Period Piece: Peck's obsession with TiVo, a technology that has all but disappeared in the face of DVR and streaming services.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Peck was supposed to be played by Owen Wilson but he dropped out to seek treatment after a suicide attempt. Ben Stiller and Tom Cruise were also considered for the role of Peck.
    • Keanu Reeves was originally supposed to play Tugg, poking fun at the criticisms of his own inability to emote.
    • The original draft of the movie was about a bunch of actors developing PTSD as a result of the pre-production boot camp necessary to make them into plausible soldiers for a war movie.
    • W. Earl Brown was one of the first considerations for Portnoy, but he personally turned it down because he felt Jack Black fit the role better.
    • Mos Def was offered the part of Alpa Chino, but turned it down. Kevin Hart was also considered.


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