You gotta hand it to Tom Cruise. His fat suit turn as the egotistical, foul-mouthed mega producer Les Grossman in Ben Stiller's "Tropic Thunder" earned him back some much needed cred from the public and was a shift in direction for the usually drama-heavy actor. We thought it would end there, but the character has endured perhaps better than the movie has, and in the build up to the MTV Movie Awards last weekend Grossman re-appeared in a few viral ads berating the cast of "Twilight" and then capped it all off with a dance routine with Jennifer Lopez. The fans loved it. And apparently, so did Paramount.
While Tom Cruise mentioned a Les Grossman film was something he was working on a couple of days ago, we didn't expect the greenlight to come this quickly, but Paramount has officially announced that they will be developing a film based around the character with Ben Stiller's Red Hour Films producing. But the real coup is the hiring of "Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World" screenwriter Michael Bacall.
In 2007, Bacall was named a "screenwriter to watch" by Variety, and the writer/actor who has had appearances in "Death Proof" and "Inglourious Basterds" was also hired to write the dramatized version of "The King of Kong" for Seth Gordon and once penned the Pez-dispenser comedy, "Psycho Funky Chimp" for Todd Phillips — no idea what became of that one. Circa 2007, he had seven projects in development including "In Search of Captain Zero" with Sean Penn attached to star and "Justice Deferred" for Tobey Maguire set up at Warners (and we loved the 'Pilgrim' script).
While whether Les Grossman deserves his own film or not is up for debate, this is undoubtedly a good career move for Cruise who is quickly seeing the benefit of parodying his persona. His upcoming action/comedy "Knight & Day" seems to be playing right into that hand, and Grossman seems to be the next logical step. As for us, we just hope this means the return of Bill Hader as his assistant and god willing, Matthew McConaghey as the agent in what was seriously his best role since "Dazed & Confused." And this being a "movie about movies" we fully expect the film to feature multiple cameos and with Stiller involved, his Rolodex will definitely be put to the test.
We also have to acknowledge the official press release of the announcement which goes one step further in treating Les Grossman as a real guy with Adam Goodman, President Of Paramount Film Group "saying," "Everything I learned in this business, I've learned from Les. I started out as his assistant, and from the first day he threw his desk at me when I got his lunch order wrong, I have loved him like a father. I am forever grateful to Ben and Stuart Cornfeld and their ability to secure his highly-coveted life rights." We love it.