By now, you’re probably aware that Tom Cruise surprised the Hall H crowd at San Diego Comic-Con with the Top Gun: Maverick trailer. Within those few minutes, Cruise did the fighter-jet thing, and of course, there was a hint of a volleyball match going on because you can’t make a Top Gun sequel without reliving that iconic scene in some form. Yet when Cruise really felt the need for speed, he pulled up a chair with Conan O’Brien and talked about one of his other legendary characters, Les Grossman from Tropic Thunder. Even though the unhinged studio executive didn’t have a ton of screentime in that 2008 movie, Cruise still made a lasting impression with his temper tantrums and wild dance moves, not to mention the “f*ck your own face” line.
It may have been one of his most daring performances. Yes, Tom Cruise dangles off the side of airplanes for the Mission Impossible franchise, but with Les Grossman, he truly went the extra mile. Dance classes, prosthetics, a bald cap, and profanity? That’s a place where Cruise has never traveled until Ben Stiller approached him for the movie (with Cruise’s conditions for signing on being “I wanna have fat hands, and I’m gonna dance,” as he reminded Conan). And even though Cruise didn’t relive the Les Grossman costume, Conan managed to coax the A-lister into doing some of those dance moves. Oh yes, Cruise uttered his the above line of dialogue. It was a surreal trip down memory lane, and you can watch below.
Just for kicks, here’s a photo Tom/Les performing alongside Jennifer Lopez at the 2010 MTV Movie Awards. Yep, definitely his finest character ever.