- (Photo: Reuters/Lucas Jackson)
Ben Stiller revealed that he received an apology from Roger Ebert over 2001's "Zoolander" ahead of the famed film critic's death.
Before his battle with cancer began, Ebert wrote hundreds of film reviews throughout his 5-decade career.
Among the acclaimed Chicago Sun-Times critic's most scathing reviews was that of "Zoolander."
"Zoolander" was co-written and directed by Stiller, who also starred as Derek Zoolander opposite Owen Wilson and Christine Taylor. Released just three weeks after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the comedy did not impress Ebert.
"There have been articles lately asking why the United States is so hated in some parts of the world," Ebert penned at the time. "As this week's Exhibit A from Hollywood, I offer 'Zoolander.'"
While many others celebrated "Zoolander," the film critic added that the comedy was "offensive" and "tasteless."
During the Tribeca Film Festival this week, Stiller said the review was "rather harsh," but that some years later, Ebert apologized for the piercing words.
"To his credit, I ran into him like five or six years later backstage at 'The Tonight Show,'" the actor recounted, according to a panel of reporters at the film festival.
"He said, 'Hey, I just want to apologize to you. I wrote that about 'Zoolander,' and I [now] think it's really funny. Everything was a little crazy back then. It was Sept. 11 and I went overboard,'" Stiller added. "I said, 'Thanks for telling me backstage at 'The Tonight Show.'"
Alas, Stiller noted that he thought Ebert's gesture "was nice," and was saddened to hear of the film critic's death on April 4, 2013.
As for upcoming projects, the actor said he has stopped reading reviews.
"It's the old adage: if you believe the good ones, you have to believe the bad ones," said Stiller. "I know people who like reading review, but, for me, you can always feel what's getting good reviews or bad reviews. People will let you know. For me, that metric is one you can't get wrapped up in. What do you do if they don't like you? I guess you can learn from them."
Stiller is not the only actor to have reflected on his experiences with Ebert.
Ben Affleck, who stars in "To The Wonder"- the last film Ebert had ever reviewed before his death, recalled seeing the film critic in his home.
"I did read it," Affleck said of Ebert's positive "To The Wonder" review, according to USA Today.
"The fact that he wrote his last review of ['To The Wonder'] … it was viewed through the prism of this wonderful man who was at the very end of his life," said the actor. "And to see the movie through that lens was one of the most powerful things to ever happen to me in my career."
The Terrence Malick-directed film also stars Rachel McAdams and Javier Bardem.