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‘Madness’ steals ‘Tropic’s’ thunder

Paramount releases mockumentary on iTunes

Move over, Eleanor Coppola.

“Tropic Thunder” helmer Ben Stiller and the marketers at Paramount are looking to one-up Coppola’s classic doc “Hearts of Darkness” — which chronicled the making of husband Francis Ford Coppola’s “Apocalypse Now” — with a descent into madness of their own.

Their 30-minute mockumentary “Rain of Madness” captures the insanity behind the Vietnam War drama (the faux “Tropic” within the real “Tropic,” got that?).

DreamWorks began offering the comedic short — created by “Tropic” scribe Justin Theroux and the film’s Steve Coogan — for free download exclusively on iTunes on Aug. 27.

Most of the “Tropic” cast participated in the companion piece. But the spotlight is on Theroux, who plays German helmer Jan Jurgen, director of “Rain of Madness.” In an obvious tip of the hat to Werner Herzog, Theroux delivers lines like, “It’s as unflinchingly as possible a look at the making of a Hollywood nightmare.”

“We always thought that people would be talking about ‘Tropic Thunder’ at the water cooler, and that’s why we decided to release ‘Rain of Madness’ two weeks into ‘Tropic’s’ run — to keep this positive buzz going,” says Amy Powell, senior VP of interactive marketing at Paramount.

“Madness” offers a number of quotable lines, including the musings of out-of-touch studio exec Hader. “The only difference between this film and Vietnam is that with this film, we’re gonna win,” he says.

Stiller regular Janeane Garofalo, who doesn’t appear in “Tropic,” makes a cameo as a therapist commenting on PPSD — post-“Platoon” stress disorder. She wryly notes that Charlie Sheen was the first reported case.

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