If you were one of the lucky filmgoers who saw Tropic Thunder on the big screen back in 2008, you left theaters with one image: Tom Cruise, almost unrecognizable, shaking his ass to Ludacris’s “Get Back” during the end credits.
Known mostly for taking dramatic parts at the time, the world was surprised to see Cruise don prosthetics and go full-send into spoofdom to become Les Grossman, the evil studio executive pulling the strings behind Tropic Thunder’s film-within-a-film. Now, in a new interview for Esquire’s “Explain This” video series Ben Stiller—who directed and starred in Tropic Thunder—opened up about Cruise’s antics as Grossman. “Tom Cruise had the idea to play Les Grossman in the movie,” Stiller says. “That part did not exist. He said, ‘Well, there’s no studio executive and that would be really fun to be that guy. And he had this whole idea of what the guy should look like. It was his idea to dance. And I remember when we did a makeup test, someone handed him a Diet Coke and then he just started moving.”
Stiller’s story matches what Cruise told told BBC Radio 1 back in 2017. “I read the script, and he had all of the characters, but the studio wasn’t there,” he said. “There was a structural compression missing down on those characters, you know, that keeps the pressure on these guys that really drives the story. I was like, ‘You need the studio.'”
We’re still waiting for an update on the reported Les Grossman solo movie, but the image of Tom Cruise tripping out on Diet Coke will tide us over for now. You can watch Stiller’s full “Explain This” interview above. Below? We left a little something for you to relive.
Late last year, a video of Tom Cruise berating the Mission: Impossible 7 crew surfaced, with Cruise going on a tirade about those who allegedly broke COVID-19 protocols. Despite the video becoming public, Cruise stands by what he said and offered details about what transpired and why.
During a new interview with Empire magazine (via ET Canada), Cruise was asked about the moment caught on tape. “It can get fraught. Fraught and personal,” Cruise said. “I said what I said. There was a surge happening in England also at that point. And there was a lot at stake at that point. But it wasn’t my entire crew. I had the crew leave the set, and it was just select people. And the wonderful thing is that we never shut down again. And here we are, continuing to film.”
Cruise added that avoiding any additional shutdowns and getting back to filming, in general, was a huge relief for him. “All those emotions were going through my mind,” Cruise said. “And for the whole crew to know that we’d started rolling on a movie was just a huge relief… it was very emotional.”
Joining Tom Cruise and Hayley Atwell are returning Mission: Impossible alums Rebecca Ferguson (Doctor Sleep), Simon Pegg (Ready Player One), Ving Rhames (Pulp Fiction), Vanessa Kirby (Hobbs & Shaw) and Henry Czerny (Ready or Not) along with newcomers Shea Whigham (Joker), Pom Klementieff (Guardians of the Galaxy 2, Avengers: Infinity War) and Esai Morales (La Bamba, Titans) who will replace Nicholas Hoult (Mad Max: Fury Road) for the villain role.
The Mission: Impossible franchise spans almost 25 years and six films, starting off with modest critical and major box office success in the first two films before launching its lead protagonist into grittier and more explosive stories, each film getting progressively better reviews than its predecessor, with the most recent installment, Fallout, earning the highest reviews for both the franchise and the action genre, currently maintaining a 97% approval rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes while also acquiring the highest box office gross of the franchise at over $790 million worldwide.
Mission: Impossible 7 is set to premiere on May 27, 2022, followed by Mission: Impossible 8 on July 7, 2023.
Tom Cruise has returned his three Golden Globes statues amid the ongoing controversy surrounding the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.
Cruise won the best actor honor in 1990 for Born on the Fourth of July and in 1997 for Jerry Maguire, as well as a best supporting actor award in 2000 for Magnolia.
Earlier today, NBC announced that it would not be airing the 2022 iteration of the Golden Globes. Said the network in a statement: “We continue to believe that the HFPA is committed to meaningful reform. However, change of this magnitude takes time and work, and we feel strongly that the HFPA needs time to do it right.”
The backlash began after an L.A. Times report detailing that the organization counted zero Black journalists among its then-87 members. Last week, the HFPA’s membership voted to approve a proposal of reforms aimed at addressing its lack of diversity and other ethics issues, but many in Hollywood, including Time’s Up and a coalition of PR Firms, noted that the reforms do not go far enough.
Monday’s news comes after Netflix and Amazon Studios each announced they would no longer be working with the HFPA until the organization enacted sweeping changes.
Cruise is the latest Hollywood talent to express their disapproval with the HFPA. Scarlett Johansson, who has been nominated for four Golden Globes awards, urged Hollywood to take a “step back” from the HFPA, while Golden Globe winner Mark Ruffalo recently offered a statement: “Now is the time to step up and right the wrongs of the past.”
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