The world wasn't exactly in a laughing mood when Ben Stiller's "Zoolander" was released on September 28, 2001 — barely two weeks after the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center.
Following the tragedy, the late Roger Ebert wrote an extremely harsh review of the comedy: "There have been articles lately asking why the United States is so hated in some parts of the world. As this week's Exhibit A from Hollywood, I offer 'Zoolander.'"
During a Tribeca Film Festival panel Sunday afternoon, Stiller — who wrote, directed and starred in the film — revealed that Ebert later apologized for the review.
"To his credit, I ran into him like five or six years later backstage at 'The Tonight Show,' and 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, who is currently working on a sequel to the popular film, added of Ebert's review:
"It's the old adage: if you believe the good ones, you have to believe the bad ones. I know people who like reading reviews, 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."
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