A few years ago, Tom Cruise stopped being famous for starring in blockbuster movies and was instead making headlines because of his erratic behavior and controversial opinions on hot-button topics. Amidst concerns that his real life persona could be affecting the box office potential of his films, Cruise worked out a career strategy that would help put him back in the moviegoing public’s good graces.
Part of that plan involved taking a small, but memorable role in Ben Stiller’s action/comedy Tropic Thunder. Cruise was originally approached to play Stiller’s agent in the film, but he asked if the filmmakers would consider adding a foul-mouthed studio head character to the story instead.
Stiller agreed and he and Cruise created Les Grossman – a Harvey Weinstein-esque hot-head that wound up stealing nearly every scene he was in. Cruise resurrected the character for last year’s MTV Movie Awards and after another show-stealing performance, talk of a Les Grossman spin-off movie began to heat up. There hasn’t been much news on the project since then, but evidently it’s still moving forward at Paramount.
MTV caught up with SNL‘s Bill Hader at the Comedy Awards this past weekend and found out that Hader’s friend Michael Bacall has written the script for the film. Bacall is an actor/writer who previously penned Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and is currently working on the Fright Night remake.
Hader wouldn’t divulge any details regarding the plot of the film, but insisted that “it’s gonna be great.” He also explained that while he does know the story’s broad strokes, he and Bacall mostly discussed specific scenes as they were being written. Hader has no idea when we might see Les Grossman on the big screen again, but this does indicate that there’s a lot more to the project than just idle chatter.
Personally, I was just never that excited about a Les Grossman spin-off movie. I thought his scenes in Tropic Thunder were amusing and I think the character works great in a supporting capacity – but I’m not sure I need to spend 90 minutes with him. Of course, I’m sure the film would be more than an endless string of profanity and hip-hop dance moves (at least I hope). They’d have to give Grossman at least one or two redeeming qualities before building a narrative around him.
As many others have been quick to point out, the bigger issue is whether or not Tom Cruise really needs this character anymore. I wouldn’t say his career has made a complete turnaround, but he’s certainly in a much better place now than he was four years ago. He’s currently finishing up production on Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol and recently joined the cast of Adam Shankman’s Rock of Ages. He’s also expressed interest in starring in Oblivion – the upcoming sci-fi film from TRON: Legacy director Joseph Kosinski.
Cruise currently has no shortage of options (or variety) when it comes to his career, so I’m not sure a Tropic Thunder spin-off would be in the cards anytime soon – but the good news for fans of the Les Grossman character is that it sounds like the project will be ready to go if he decides he’s still interested.