'Thunder' stars give San Sebastian a jolt

Ben Stiller, Robert Downey Jr. accompany comedy at fest

SAN SEBASTIAN, Spain -- Ben Stiller and Robert Downey Jr. pumped up the star wattage here Saturday when they presented their war movie sendup "Tropic Thunder," which screened out of competition.

The duo put on a knockabout performance in keeping with the movie's irreverent tone in front of a packed media conference.

But Downey nearly created a diplomatic incident when in response to a journalist's question he said he'd never heard of local acting heroes Antonio Banderas and Javier Bardem. "I'll look them up on Google," he smiled, before defusing the whole thing as a joke and praising the Spanish stars' talents.

Stiller, who directed, produced and co-wrote "Thunder" as well as starred in it, said the action comedy was something of a square peg among San Sebastian's mix of international auteur-driven films.

"Our movie's poster doesn't really fit in. But I don't see any reason why a comedy shouldn't be part of the festival," he said.

Earlier Saturday, British writer-director Terence Davies -- the subject of a retrospective at this year's festival -- delivered eloquent and passionate insights into his craft to a small but captivated audience of journalists. Davies even broke into song, humming a tune from the 1953 Richard Burton/Jean Simmons starrer "The Robe" to illustrate a point about music in film.

Davies said he is working on three future projects; a contemporary comedy set in London and Paris, an adaptation of the Scottish family drama "Sunset Song" by Lewis Grassic Gibbon and an Ed McBain adaptation.

A technical problem marred the screening of Davies' latest film, the ode to Liverpool "Of Time and the City," which unspooled Friday without his accompanying narration, leaving long passages of silence. Festival organizers put on an additional screening to make up for the error.