Controversy is swirling about DreamWorks’ upcoming Tropic Thunder, in which Ben Stiller’s character makes a movie called Simple Jack. Jack is referred to as a “retard.”
Several disability organisations are meeting with DreamWorks on Wednesday to discuss their concerns. It’s unknown what they want, but if they ask for changes, they’re cutting it close: the movie comes out in a week.
(The New York Times claims the same assertions are made in marketing materials related to the film. When we tried to access the fake Simple Jack Web site early this morning, however, there was nothing on the homepage. Similarly, the fake trailer for the film, available on Stiller’s Tom Cruise-like Tugg Speedmann Web site, also could not be found.)
NY Times: DreamWorks executives have agreed to talk by telephone and in person on Wednesday with representatives of more than a half dozen disabilities organisations to discuss the groups’ concerns about the portrayal of a developmentally handicapped character in the coming movie “Tropic Thunder.”
“We want to be really plain about what our issues are with the movie,” said Anne Sommers, the policy counsel for the American Association of People with Disabilities, who helped organise the meeting.
Debate has centered on the film’s approach to a character named Simple Jack, right, who is played by Ben Stiller‘s character, an actor, in the movie. Movie and marketing materials refer to the character as a “retard.” Ms. Sommers said the groups, which include the National Down Syndrome Congress and the Special Olympics, had not yet formulated specific requests for DreamWorks.
DreamWorks executives have said the film, a movie industry spoof, aims its humour at the industry, not at disabled people. The company, a unit of Paramount Pictures, plans to release “Tropic Thunder” on Aug. 13.
Simple Jack poster via Defamer
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