BURBANK - A confused Ben Stiller held a press conference Friday morning to announce plans to start shooting "Cold Lightning," a prequel to the 2008 Stiller-directed film, "Tropic Thunder." DreamWorks SKG signed on to produce the prequel, which will again be directed by Stiller.
In "Tropic Thunder," Stiller plays Tugg Speedman, a well-known actor who plays the lead actor in a movie based on a fictitious war-chronicles novel, Tropic Thunder. Speedman's character sets off in the jungle to shoot the film, and the lines become blurred as to what is real and what is part of the movie. For "Cold Lighting," Stiller's character takes on even more depth.
"This is earlier in Tugg's career, before "Simple Jack" and the "Scorcher" movies. In this prequel, Tugg is a young actor trying to make it in Hollywood. He lands a role in a low-budget drama where Tugg plays a successful actor, Jack Peterson, who wants to try his hand at directing. Peterson also wants to act in the movie he's directing - a biopic about the life and times of 19th Century cowboy "Curly Bill" Brocius. Peterson's production company decides to make Peterson play two of the three main supporting characters in the movie: 1) Teddy Conway, Brocius' right-hand man, and 2) Sheriff Reeves Douglas, who goes on a manhunt to stop Brocius and Conway before they hit another bank."
The confusion of the multiple layers of these characters seems to be finally catching up with Stiller. When asked what date he planned to start shooting the prequel, Stiller replied, "Jell-O o'clock, 1945." At that point, Marcia Kragore, Stiller's long-time publicist, stepped to the podium and explained that it had been a long week for Stiller, as he ironed out the details of "Cold Lighting."
After Kragore made the statement, a bewildered Stiller turned to her and asked, "Am I not your publicist's publicist?"