What's a Ben Stiller movie without Owen Wilson? They've been working together together on and off -- though it seems more like continuously on -- since The Cable Guy. It is no surprise, then, that Wilson has just signed up for Stiller's Tropic Thunder. This is Stiller's fourth feature as director, and with the exception of his debut, Reality Bites, he has so far found a role for his friend in all of them (he also directed Wilson in the TV pilot for Heat Vision and Jack). It isn't clear what kind of role Wilson will have this time, but I'm guessing he will play an actor working on the movie-within-the-movie. So far, these actors, who end up on a war film shoot gone to hell, include Robert Downey Jr. as an Oscar-winning star, Jay Baruchel as an unknown, Jack Black as a drug addicted comic actor, and Stiller himself, who may be a pumped up action star (as per Erik's educated guess). Then, as a non-actor, Tom Cruise is rumored to be making a cameo as a studio tyrant.

Also joining the cast now is Nick Nolte. His part is also unspecified, but he clearly must be some actor playing a lieutenant colonel or something -- basically playing himself playing his part in The Thin Red Line. Nolte is thankfully getting a lot of work these days, despite his infamous personal problems, but this is a welcome chance for the 48 Hrs. actor to return to comedy. Sure, he's not the funniest man in the world, but I think he's a good cranky straight man (in addition to the two 48 Hrs. movies, he's the only good thing about Three Fugitives), and he can even occasionally be the comic, too (Down and Out in Beverly Hills). Unfortunately he really missed the funny boat by working with director Alan Rudolph in Breakfast of Champions and Trixie (he has done great dramatic work for the director), and so it seems easier to just cast him in dramas. Although Nolte probably won't have the opportunity to get a lot of laughs in Tropic Thunder, I at least applaud Stiller for adding him to the ensemble of funnymen.