Costar Praises Robert Downey Jr. for Race-Bending Role

07/18/2008 at 07:35 PM EDT

Costar Praises Robert Downey Jr. for Race-Bending Role
Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage; Jackson Lee/AdMedia
Though Robert Downey Jr.'s portrayal of black soldier in the comedy Tropic Thunder is sure to turn heads, he already has one fan – his African-American costar, Brandon T. Jackson.

"To be honest, he played a black dude better than anybody I've seen!" Jackson raved about Downey's performance in the Ben Stiller-directed film.

But that doesn't mean Jackson didn't have initial hesitations.

"When I first read the script, I was like: What? Black face? But when I saw him [act] he, like, became a black man," Jackson says.

In the film, Downey, 43, plays Kirk Lazarus, an Academy Award-winning actor who is cast in the most expensive Vietnam war film ever. But Lazarus's character, Sgt. Osiris, was originally written as an African-American. Lazarus decides to dye his skin to play the role.

"It was just good acting," Jackson says. "It was weird on the set because he would keep going with the character. He's a method actor."

• Reporting by JESSICA HERNDON

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