The spirit of Les Grossman is alive and well.
After making a surprise appearance at San Diego Comic-Con on Thursday to debut the first Top Gun: Maverick trailer, Tom Cruise popped over to Conan to relive the glory of days of Tropic Thunder with host Conan O’Brien.
Cruise, 57, reminisced about his strangely specific demands for the character in the Ben Stiller-directed action-comedy, and he brought back some dance moves and signature Grossman cussing.
“I take classes all the time to learn things or I want to improve a skill… singing, music, something I’m studying,” the actor said. “I take dance classes and I took hip-hop classes and then I’ll find a character to put that with.”
When Stiller approached Cruise for the role of a vulgar Hollywood studio executive, the Mission: Impossible star had some demands: “I said, ‘Look, I’d love to play this character, but I want to have fat hands and I’m gonna dance.'”
The end credits for the 2008 film contain a particularly iconic sequence in which Cruise, in the Grossman fat suit, is just dancing like no one’s watching. Cruise recalled, “[Stiller] created the makeup and we did the makeup test… As you’re working on a character, you start becoming that character, you start discovering the character, and I just started moving. There was no music. He was just looking at me like, ‘What is happening?'” Stiller would later cut these moves — including, as Cruise demonstrated through seat dancing, the crushing-the-Pepsi-can — to the music heard in Tropic Thunder.
At the behest of O’Brien, Cruise also brought back a classic Grossman line: “Would you stand back and literally f— your own face!”