» The Making of Les Grossman: An Oral History (2023)

UEn 2008, Tom Cruise had to find a way to make people laugh. Hard. Probably for him. After two decades as a true Hollywood sensation, the actor found himself in the midst of a crisis that seemed unimaginable. For the past four years, he's fired his publicist, who told him to control his conversations about Scientology and made a fool of himself by jumping on Oprah's couch and giving Matt Lauer a lecture on psychiatry. Business was also better. after 2006Mission: Impossible III, which grossed nearly $150 million less than the franchise's previous installment, Paramount, Cruise's former studio, ended the affiliation. The company's president, Sumner Redstone, issued a public rebuke and rightly so. "As much as we love him personally, we felt it was wrong to extend his contract," Redstone said.Wall Street Zeitung. "Your recent behavior of his was not acceptable to Paramount."

Cruise was in trouble and responded by taking a chance. The brash, raunchy, and very physical comedy wasn't exactly the model for Cruisean, and none of that kind of role—yelling at fictional paramilitary drug dealers to “literally fuck their faces!”—suggested redemption. No one could guaranteetropical thunderIt would help your image. There was a chance to come out purely tasteless. But Cruise dressed heavily and doubled down on the idea of ​​finding his way back into public favor by channeling rogue Hollywood mogul Les Grossman.

Grossman apparently acted even less of a badass than Cruise did in the years leading up to the movie, and watching Cruise poke fun at his own industry finally felt like he was back on track.tropical thunderIt was a revelation of cinema itself: a troupe of actors making a war movie wanders through a remote jungle and ends up in enemy territory. They believe that the growing dangers around them are simply in the service of action. One of them, Tugg Speedman, played byDonnerBen Stiller's co-writer and director is captured and tortured. Grossman is asked to save the action star, but he refuses. Actors can drop dead. Business is king. That is the message. In the end though, the movie within a movie, ultimately a disaster, is ironically rewarded with an Oscar for its merits. Equally unbelievable, in real life, Cruise is gonetropical thunderGolden Globe nominated and ready, Les Grossman style, to shake your ass all the way to the bank.

» The Making of Les Grossman: An Oral History (1)Dreamworks

» The Making of Les Grossman: An Oral History (2)Ben Stiller (Director; Escritor; Tugg Speedman):Justin Theroux and I worked on the script for eight years. It grew out of an idea I had for a sketch about actors coming home from a Vietnam War movie and no one paying attention to them. He came from auditioning for so many war movies and he was there.sun kingdomand see how seriously the actors took the fake mini boot camp they all did. It just seemed strange to me that we actors would take our two weeks with a royal sergeant so seriously, when he obviously had nothing to do with the actual war experience.

» The Making of Les Grossman: An Oral History (3)Stuart Cornfeld (Productor):Originally, we wanted Tom to play the main role: Tugg Speedman. Ben would play the agent.

Even more:We had an outline and about half a script. I knew how this was going to end. So we brought in Etan and got a full draft.

» The Making of Les Grossman: An Oral History (4)Ethan Cohen (screenwriter):I joined around 2002. We were still figuring out why the actors were dropped and no one would notice that all those stars were gone. So I wrote a throwaway next to the document that said, "Maybe the studio has production insurance. If the director dies, all expenses are recovered, so the studio doesn't take care of the actors." totally out of it for years.

Even more:I talked to Tom about being in the movie. He read the script and came up with the idea for the character.

Maizal:Tom read the script before there was Les Grossman and said, "I think you need another villain besides the 12-year-old drug dealer. How about a greedy pig studio manager who really represents the bad side of Hollywood?

Even more:His idea to show the studio director solved a problem we had for a long time. We didn't go back to the real world in any of the earlier drafts. All of Grossman's scenes have fully patched up plot holes.

Maizal:We made a schematic that included this character and Ben gave it to Tom. So the frequency of our discussions has decreased. Tom Cruise is a busy guy.

Cohen:The character spent a year as "studio head". In July 2003 he will be Todd Berlinger. October 2003, Todd Green. That was an interesting draft, because here's the first draft where we see guy-turned-godless Les Grossman yelling at the flaming dragon that if they sneeze on the workbench, it'll ruin them. Then a few weeks later, Phillip Green. I really can't remember why.

Maizal:Ben decided to play the speedster and then got a call from Tom saying he couldn't get the script out of his head. Tom asked, "What's still open?" And Ben said, "Well, we haven't cast Les Grossman yet." Tom said, "I'd play that."

Even more:And he said he wanted to dance.

» The Making of Les Grossman: An Oral History (5)Bill Hader (estudioso Rob Slolom):I go to the casting officetropical thunderfor the audition and there are photos of the people who are in the film next to the names of their roles. They had Speedman; There was Stiller. There was Robert Downey Jr., Nick Nolte, and below Les Grossman was a photoshopped photo of Tom Cruise with a bald head, beard, and bluetooth in his ear. I was like, "Does Tom Cruise play Les Grossman?" And Ben said, "Yes!" He totally changed listening. BecomeFarmore nervous.tom cruise, Know. I got the impression of a studio assistant that Ben and I worked with, kind of a guy that did. Ben said, "Yeah, that's a good energy to counter Les Grossman's." Because Les Grossman will beso bigIt's nice to have someone who has a slower metabolism.

Cohen:I found Tom at the reading table. No wonder he is who he is. Many actors retain table readings. Tom was the complete opposite. He worked incredibly hard to make this character unique. It was clear that he had never done anything like this before, and he hugged him.

Hader:Tom Cruise didn't know who I was and was trying to find out. He said, "Seth Rogen is a friend of mine and he said that he came to your house." I did a 2 second impression of Seth Rogen like, “Tom Cruise is awesome! We used to ride motorcycles in his backyard!" And it was like he did a magic trick. Tom Cruise started clapping and freaking out, saying, "You take prints and you're inSaturday night live." Meaning,I have been informed and now I know who you are.

» The Making of Les Grossman: An Oral History (6)Michele Burke (Makeup Designer):I was Tom's favorite makeup artist.Interview with the Vampirearound. I have done many great and iconic looks for him. I got a text saying "Tom wants hairy arms." And I thought,Oh, okay, we can have hairy arms.So they said, "We want him to have a hairy chest." Then all of a sudden it was like I had big hands and I just sat there and I was like,This will be bigger than I expected.. Then they started sending me pictures of other people that looked a bit like that. You know, with the gold jewelry, the hairy chest. I thought,OK, now I'm starting to understand, that's complete.

» The Making of Les Grossman: An Oral History (7)Barney Burman (Makeup Designer):I had a dozen people make the silicone prostheses for the head, neck, chest, and hands. We made special gloves for him. I made the sculpture, another made the molds, another cast. I had six different people pierce the hair into the scalp piece, so her entire head was a single hand-pierced hair; His arms were hit by hand one at a time; his chest was hit with his hand.

Connie Grayson Criswell (senior hair piercer):It was a bit annoying because we were hitting a frizzy human hair. Curly hair is very hard to beat because it has a mind of its own.

Burmese:When we needed a point of reference, I didn't see it coming at first, people would come to me because maybe I was a few pounds heavier than I'm supposed to be and I'm kind of bald on top and something like that at the time. the back of the head. And people kept looking at me to see how my hair was growing and how heavy it was and how things were going. At one point I thought they were trying to turn Tom into me.

Maizal:Some magazines were saying that the character was based on me because I was so fat and bald, and I found that hysterical. The character was an amalgamation of many qualities. He is not really based on anyone.1

» The Making of Les Grossman: An Oral History (8)

Foto AP/Matt SaylesBrandon T. Jackson, Jack Black, Tom Cruise, Bill Hader, Ben Stiller and Matthew McConaughey at the Los Angeles Premiere of "Tropical Thunder".

» The Making of Les Grossman: An Oral History (9)Aida Caefer (General Construction):I did the fat suits for Tom Cruise. everything was closedthe more ridiculous the better. The suit went from the neck to the ankles. It's a cotton bodysuit that fits right next to the skin, and then we start adding layers and layers of muscle and fat and custom padding of foam and beads that curl from the inside of a pillow to mimic the movement of fat. . On top comes another layer that holds everything together and when you put it on it looks like skin. We had to make three [outfits]. The character was moving around a lot and he was so drenched in sweat that we put him in different outfits, one in the morning and one after lunch.2

Criswell:At first I didn't know what the hair was for. Actors don't bother me. It's all about the hair job.

Maizal:We do the makeup test and it's the first time Tom has put on Les Grossman's clothes. He pauses and says, "Maybe I should dance to that. You know it's been a long time since I've danced in a movie.

Even more:Tom choreographed all his own moves. I remember watching him do those things and thinking it was a lot of fun.

Hader:I remember him standing in a corner working on his moves.

Maizal:Most directors, when an actor in that situation says, "Maybe I should dance," the script suddenly has additions. Suddenly, the secretary says, "Oh, Mr. Grossman, you need to practice his choreography for his daughter's bat mitzvah," or something like that. But Ben said, "Yeah, that's good. This guy does what he wants and when he's happy he dances. Other than that, he didn't need an explanation.

Hader:I had a hard time keeping a straight face when he said, "A crazy monkey could do his job." You can tell when he says I'm not looking at him. Every time she looked at him she would laugh.

Burke:One day we were in the makeup room and Tom was practicing his lines and he was so vulgar and gross. He surprised me and I thought something had happened to him. He curses and says those horrible things like "Fuck you, I'm going to fuck you!" Oh my God. It wasn't his usual thing.

Hader:When I was 5 years old, my father took me to these rain towers in North Tulsa, where I grew up. And he put me on his shoulder and he said, "They're shooting a movie there, it's calledthe foreigner"They were shooting the scene in the rain and I was like, 'Oh my God! They're shooting a movie there! I told Tom that and he was like, 'I was there. You were there. And now here we are. So cool. is that

Carry:With so much makeup and the intense training he went through, we really had to take care of the actor at all times, as there were risks involved (dehydration), so we had to have water for him at all times.

Hader:Justin Theroux deserves a lot of credit for the character of Les Grossman. When I was around, Theroux was the one who invented all these Grossman lines. "Don't you give a fuck about the money bed" was so good.

Even more:We shot all of Tom's stuff in three days.

Hader:They didn't put it on any of the billboards. And when I pushed that, I didn't want to talk about it because I just wanted it to be a surprise.3

Carry:At the end of the movie, people saw his name on the screen and asked:Who the hell was Tom Cruise? What was Tom Cruise?

Cohen:Les Grossman was so popular that he appeared at the MTV Movie Awards.4

Burke:Dancing with Jennifer Lopez.

Hader:I even remember getting calls saying, "Hey, maybe we'll do a Les Grossman movie." And I said, "Hey, that looks great." I think one has been written but I don't know.5

Maizal:Much depends on availability. I hope something happens because he's a great character.

Hader:At the premiere, Tom Cruise said, "Hey Bill, how you doing, man?" And I was a little surprised. For example, she had never dated Tom Cruise before. He had just made out with Les.

Maizal:It was all just a gift. Watching him come together had this weird cosmic level. Tom comes up with the idea for the character (dancing, having big hands) and he ends up playing the character. It's rare that this kind of surprise works in the end. But consider the complete works of Tom Cruise. Coppola, Scorsese, Oliver Stone and Paul Thomas Anderson. You know Tom Cruise doesn't do anything by accident.

  1. Play a game of "Who is really Les Grossman?" it was a popular guessing game at the time of the film's release. Sumner Redstone and Harvey Weinstein were the favorites. In his review of the film, theNew York Timescalledtropical thunder, who also used blackface as a plot device to perpetuate cartoonish Jewish stereotypes with Grossman's character. "The highlight of the use of blackface in the film",Schrieb Kritiker Manohla Dargis, "is much softer compared to the much more vulgar and much less loving exploration of what might be called Jewface."

  2. Caefer was also tasked with making last-minute cosmetic adjustments to Cruise's helmet, including drilling individual hairs into an eight-inch-thick silicone mat already attached to the actor's head. "It was terrifying," says Caefer. “I started hitting hairs on this device and suddenly the whole world went silent. Tom closed his eyes and nobody said anything for half an hour until I finished.

  3. After photos of Cruise in a heavy suit during filming leaked, Cruise's lawyers threatened legal action against any publication that used them.

  4. The 2010 MTV Movie Awards, two years latertropical thunderPremiere.

  5. Three days after the 2010 MTV Movie Awards,weekly entertainmenty Nikki Finkelast termreported that Paramount, the same studio Cruise had hired four years earlier, would be making a Les Grossman film. Ben Stiller is quoted in the post as saying, “Les Grossman's life story is an inspiring tale of the classic human struggle to achieve greatness against the odds. He assures me that he intends to quote: "Fuck you, kill this movie, and make Citizen Kane a home movie as shit when we're done." to work with him." Several 2012 reports cited screenwriter Michael Bacall (21 Jump Street) on developing a script by Les Grossman.

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