He has come under fire for writing a Zoolander 2 cameo featuring Benedict Cumberbatch as a non-gender supermodel named All. But Justin Theroux believes people should relax and watch the film before casting aspersions.
The film came under fire before it was even released, with protest groups organising a petition to boycott the comedy, which gained more than 24,000 signatures.
The petition reads: “Cumberbatch’s character is clearly portrayed as an over-the-top, cartoonish mockery of androgyne/trans/non-binary individuals.
“This is the modern equivalent of using blackface to represent a minority.”
However, speaking to Loaded, Theroux admitted he wished people would give it a chance first, saying: “It’s kind of like just dismissing the meal before trying the food. If you saw something out of context, you might feel offended.”
In the trailer for Zoolander 2, Cumberbatch’s All is introduced as “the biggest supermodel in the whole world”.
Derek Zolander asks: “Are you, like, a male model or a female model?” – To which Cumberbacth’s character answers “All is All.”
Owen Wilson’s Hansel continues: “I think he’s asking ‘Do you have a hot dog or a bun?’”
And as far as 44-year-old Theroux is concerned, the joke, as always in Zoolander, is on Derek and Hansel.
“Benedict is a strong character in the movie and the joke is clearly aimed at two aging and out of touch models who don’t understand the new workings of the world. I say once people see the new side of it, they’ll realise we are quite the opposite.
“We are firmly on the side of the LGBT and Trans community.”
Theroux, married to Jennifer Aniston, added that he never writes scripts with a view to offending anybody.
The writer, who also penned the script for Tropic Thunder with Ben Stiller, also came under fire for that film when Robert Downey Jnr’s character says “Everybody knows you never do a full retard” during a monologue.
“I don’t particularly like writing cruel humour and cruel jokes,” Theroux shrugged.
“We went through it a bit with Robert Downey Jnr’s character in Tropic Thunder. People then were like ‘What is that going to be?’ But as soon as they saw it, they knew otherwise.”
Loaded’s entertainment editor Jennifer O’Brien is an award-winning journalist who has written extensively about popular culture as a national newspaper columnist and author. Follow her on Twitter at @Jen_OBrien1