Tom Cruise has pulled off one of the great career rescues of all time. A
couple of years ago the guy was a joke, and it looked like he shit away
his entire career in one hour on Oprah’s couch. But as is the case with
all good action heroes, when the chips were down Cruise pulled it off,
and all of a sudden we’re looking at a summer 2010 where a Cruise film
could be one of the biggest hits of the year and there’s a Mission:
Impossible IV
coming down the pike that, judging by the
director (Brad Bird) could be actually interesting.

But even
still, Cruise has to be keenly aware that he’s in the diminishing years
of his action movie career. I think he’ll be in good enough shape to
keep running and jumping on screen well into his 60s, but he doesn’t want to just churn out Mission: Impossible movies for the rest of his life. He’s definitely going to take another couple of flying leaps at the Oscar before he’s done (his last time invited as a nominee was 1999!), but I don’t think a glut of serious pictures is what he’s after either.

Which is why the reappearance of Les Grossman, his character from Tropic Thunder, has been so interesting. Grossman showed up at the MTV Movie Awards last night and, by some reports, stole the show (I have no idea because I couldn’t be fucked to sit through the program).

I don’t think Tom Cruise does anything just for the hell of it, and I definitely don’t think he undergoes a long make-up process just for a gag. And consider this: the reason for him being on the awards show was to pimp his upcoming Knight and Day, so why dress up like a character from a two year old movie while doing that?

So what if the Les Grossman thing is something Cruise is considering spinning off? Maybe he brought the character out to see if people still react positively to him, and they do. If Cruise is about going to head into Oscar mode in the next couple of years, having a raucous comedy on the side can only help demonstrate his range. And since Cruise’s intensity simply doesn’t work in non-fatsuit comedies (he always has to be the intense straight man), Les Grossman opens up brand new doors for the actor.

This is all spitballs and bullshit, obviously. Maybe Cruise just has a latex fetish. But something tells me that there are people somewhere in a room in Beverly Hills or West Hollywood talking about packaging a deal for the further adventures of Les Grossman.

UPDATED: Yup, Cruise told EW there’s a Grossman movie in the works. Don’t doubt me! Thanks to Brian Gallagher for that link.