Ben Stiller, Jack Black and Robert Downey Jr. may have been the leading men of Tropic Thunder, but depending on who you ask, some might say Tom Cruise stole the show as ill-tempered, foul-mouthed studio executive Les Grossman in the action comedy. Donning a fatsuit, prosthetic hands and bald cap to bring this character he invented to life, Cruise’s performance, which included sweet dance moves, scored a Golden Globe nomination, and there’s been talk for years about Grossman coming back. Now those efforts are reportedly being revived, with Cruise looking to make this happen with Christopher McQuarrie.
Tom Cruise and Christopher McQuarrie have been tight ever since the latter took over directorial and writing duties on the Mission: Impossible franchise, starting with 2015’s Rogue Nation (though McQuarrie did do uncredited rewrites on Ghost Protocol). These two are currently in the midst of working on Mission: Impossible 8, a.k.a. Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part Two, but the public can also see their work together now in the form of Top Gun: Maverick, which McQuarrie co-wrote. Following the success these two have jointly had on stories focused on Ethan Hunt and Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, Deadline reports that Cruise and McQuarrie are now “fixated” on Les Grossman, although it’s unclear if they’re looking to craft an entire movie around him or include him in one of the other film projects they have cooking.
The prospect of a Les Grossman spinoff movie first emerged back in 2010, two years after Tropic Thunder came out. In 2012, Michael Bacall, who wrote this version of the spinoff, said the story would explore the origin of Grossman’s anger issues. A decade later, one wouldn’t have been faulted for thinking that this project had been shelved, but evidently Tom Cruise and Christopher McQuarrie are determined to bring this character back to the big screen. Should they stay the course on a straightforward spinoff, two questions come to mind. First, will Bacall’s script still be used, or will someone else be hired to deliver a different take? Second, will any other Tropic Thunder characters appear in it?
As already mentioned though, there’s the possibility that Les Grossman could simply retain his supporting character status in something else Tom Cruise and Christopher McQuarrie are working on. Deadline’s story also mentioned that the duo have an “an original song and dance-style musical” that Cruise is intended to lead, as well as “another original action film with franchise potential.” It’s hard to envision Grossman fitting organically into either of these projects, although the image of an angry Grossman belting out songs in a musical is entertaining enough that I’d gladly pay to see the final product. We already know Grossman has the moves, as you’ll see in the clip below, so why not throw singing into the mix too?
To be clear, just because Tom Cruise and Christopher McQuarrie are working on these projects doesn’t necessarily mean all of them will see the light of day. Maybe something Les Grossman-centric stands a better chance of moving forward because it’s tied to a popular comedy, or maybe studio executives are more interested in Tom Cruise leading another action movie or showing off his musical chops (he previously sang in Rock of Ages) rather than reprising a character from a movie that was released almost a decade and a half ago. Oh, and let’s not forget that Cruise also still has that movie he intends to shoot in outer space with Doug Liman. No doubt that one will carve a lot of time out of his schedule.
CinemaBlend will continue sharing updates on what’s coming up in Tom Cruise’s career, but for now, you can still see Top Gun: Maverick scoring box office records in theaters alongside plenty of other 2022 movie releases, and we’ll see the actor back in action as Ethan Hunt when Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One arrives on July 14, 2023.