Tom Cruise Invented Tropic Thunder's Les Grossman, Starting With 2 Hilarious Requests

Les Grossman Tropic Thunder

Tom Cruise has had a lot of great roles over the course of his career, but of the supporting characters he's played, Les Grossman might just be the best. The studio executive who represents the worst of Hollywood appeared in the comedy Tropic Thunder, and as the story goes Tom Cruise was actually crucial in creating the character. Cruise created the idea of a studio executive character for the comedy and then agreed to play him, but he had two requests: that the character had "fat hands" and that he had to dance. Cruise recalled:

I said, 'This is fun.' I said, 'Do you mind Ben? I want to play this character.' I said, 'I want to have fat hands and I want to dance. And he looked at me; he was like, what? I remember Ben and [saying] 'No, no. Ben. I want fat hands. And I'm gonna dance.' He said, 'Look, are you sure? Why don't you just be you.' I said, 'No, no, no. I'm sorry man. I don't know how else to play this character.' So then I did the makeup test and we tested the fat hands and the whole look. So, we were doing the wardrobe and there was no music and I was just like, 'Look, I want to do some moves for you.' So I just started working on Les. He picked the music out, he edited it together, he was just pissing himself.

Back when Ben Stiller was still trying to get Tropic Thunder -- a comedy about clueless actors trying to make a war film -- made, he asked Tom Cruise to take a look at the script. At this point in time, there was no Les Grossman or any studio executive in the movie. Crusie was the one who suggested that they need that type of character to put pressure on the main characters to create their movie. This was the missing piece of the puzzle for Stiller, and a few weeks later, he gave the script back to Cruise. Cruise loved it and wanted a part. The only role that was really open was the newly-created Les Grossman, and Cruise went "Yeah, I can do that."

Ben Stiller had assumed Tom Cruise would play the role looking like, well, himself, but the only way Cruise could see himself doing this was if he had fat hands and danced. Cruise told BBC Radio 1 that he did a makeup test for the whole look of the character, and while he was in wardrobe, he offered to show some moves for Stiller. Later, Stiller added music and edited it together and clearly loved it. Cruise is super funny in the movie, and he clearly had a blast yelling ever kind of profanity he can think of.

You can next see Tom Cruise in American Made, which hits theaters on September 29, 2017. For more movies dropping in 2017, take a look at our movie release schedule.

Matt Wood

Matt has lived in New Jersey his entire life, but commutes every day to New York City. He graduated from Rowan University and loves Marvel, Nintendo, and going on long hikes and then greatly wishing he was back indoors. Matt has been covering the entertainment industry for over two years and will fight to his dying breath that Hulk and Black Widow make a good couple.