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Jamie Foxx Still Wants To Release His Controversial Buddy Comedy With Robert Downey Jr.

Rumblings about Robert Downey Jr.'s "Tropic Thunder" blackface performance have resurfaced, but not in the way you might think. While Downey earned an Oscar nomination for his turn — largely playing a Black man — in the 2008 Ben Stiller-directed action comedy "Tropic Thunder," an increased awareness of racial sensitivity in recent years has caused media outlets like Salon to retroactively reexamine the performance and its impact.

However, Jamie Foxx, Downey's friend and co-star from the 2009 drama "The Soloist," isn't among the chorus questioning Downey's blackface turn. In fact, he reteamed with Downey in 2016 to direct and co-star with the MCU star in the comedy "All-Star Weekend," which ups the ante of what Downey did with his "Tropic Thunder" role. As such, "All-Star Weekend" has never seen the light day. The decision to keep the comedy on the shelf for so long may appear baffling to moviegoers, considering it features the talents of many high-profile actors. According to the film's IMDb cast roster, Foxx and Downey are joined by the likes of Gerard Butler, Benicio del Toro, Eva Longoria, and Snoop Dogg.

During an interview to promote "Day Shift" — which teams Foxx with Dave Franco and Snoop Dogg — CinemaBlend asked the Oscar-winning "Ray" actor-turned-director about the prospects of an "All-Star Weekend" release. It appears that the idea of getting the film in front of fans is going to take some time, and Foxx's A-list actor friend is at the center of the controversy holding it back.

Downey plays another minority character in All-Star Weekend

According to Variety, "All-Star Weekend" stars Jamie Foxx and Jeremy Piven, a pair of best buddies who are NBA superfans and hit the road for the league's "All-Star Weekend" after winning tickets to the annual event. The friends reportedly encounter a variety of strange people along the way, including Downey's character, who is billed on the IMDb cast and crew page as "Mexican Stranger." The New York Post validated the casting with photos of Downey dressed up as the character on the set of the film.

In 2017, Foxx was aware of the potential outrage Downey could cause by playing a Mexican man in "All-Star Weekend." However, in an interview with podcaster Joe Rogan, Foxx used Downey's turn as a Black man — who in the context of the film was actually a white actor who had his skin pigmentation altered — in "Tropic Thunder" as part of his pitch for him to join "All-Star Weekend."

"I called Robert, I said, 'Listen, I need you to play a Mexican.' He said, 'Dude, uh, here's the deal ... f*** it, sure," Foxx, impersonating Downey, recalled for Rogan. "But then he texts back and said, 'I'm nervous to play a Mexican,' and I said, 'Well s***, you played the Black dude [in 'Tropic Thunder'] and you killed that s***.' We got to be able to do characters."

Interestingly, Foxx said that among the multiple characters he played in the film, he took on the role of "a white, racist cop," hearkening the way Marlon Wayans and Shawn Wayans donned white face — and switched genders, to boot — to play their title characters in the 2004 crime comedy "White Chicks."

When can fans expect to see All-Star Weekend?

In his interview with CinemaBlend, Jamie Foxx seemed uncertain of the fate of "All-Star Weekend," which is aimlessly swirling around, still looking to land a release date amid the never-ending controversy. Comedians have especially been hit hard for past things they've tweeted, said, or done, past and present — The Guardian published a laundry list of some of them — and Foxx feels the film will remain on the shelf until the comedic landscape shifts.

"It's been tough with the lay of the land when it comes to comedy. We're trying to break open the sensitive corners where people go back to laughing again," Foxx told CinemaBlend. "We hope to keep them laughing and run them right into 'All-Star Weekend' because we were definitely going for it."

While Robert Downey Jr. has yet to face any potential blowback that would come with the release of "All-Star Weekend," he has addressed the "Tropic Thunder" blackface issue. In an interview with Joe Rogan in 2020, Downey expressed no regrets about taking on the role. "It was impossible to not have it be an offensive nightmare of a movie, and 90 percent of my Black friends were like, 'Dude, that was great.' I can't disagree with [the other 10 percent], but I know where my heart was," he told Rogan. "I think that it's never an excuse to do something that's out of place and out of its time, but to me it was a blasting cap on [the issue] ... I think having a moral psychology is job one. Sometimes, you just gotta go, 'Yeah I F-d up.' In my defense, 'Tropic Thunder' is about how wrong [blackface] is, so I take exception."

Downey also addressed the whiteface portrayals in "White Chicks" in the Rogan interview, exclaiming, "I love that. I thought that was great!"