Tom Cruise has found a real wingman in Christopher McQuarrie, the man who has done some combination of writing, producing or directing almost every Cruise movie for the last ten years. McQuarrie is the one who reworked the Mission: Impossible franchise to its star’s stuntman-free stunt spectacular, while also having a hand in movies like Edge of Tomorrow, Jack Reacher, Top Gun: Maverick and, well, The Mummy (they can’t all be winners). And the two are just getting started.
Up next, Deadline reports that the two have big plans for Les Grossman, the gruff Harvey Weinstein-pastiche Cruise portrayed via fat suit in Ben Stiller’s Tropic Thunder movie back in …let’s see here …2008?
Well, that’s all well and good. Truth be told, Cruise doesn’t get to do enough comedy and with his Mission: Impossible days nearing their conclusion (2024’s Mission: Impossible: Dead Reckoning: Part Two will be the franchise’s eighth and final outing), Cruise is clearly on the hunt for a new franchise to sink his teeth into.
The Les Grossman project — which may star Cruise as Grossman or may just feature him in the background — is just one of Cruise and McQuarrie’s upcoming collaborations. There’s also a bonafide song and dance-style musical of some sort in the works, and as well as another action franchise which apparently be original.
Cruise is in an interesting place in his career. On the one hand, he’s as big as he’s ever been. Top Gun: Maverick was probably never going to be a dud, but nobody guessed it’d be as big as it’s been (currently thirteenth on the overall worldwide box office gross list and counting). And Cruise’s M:I movies have been reliable money in the bank the man who remains, by almost any measure, the most famous actor in the world.
But he’s also staying just ahead of controversy, for his involvement with the Church of Scientology — a cult that has spent most of its existence in the crosshairs of whistleblowers with horrific stories of abuse and manipulation. He’s certainly not the only actor with ties to Scientology that require a lot of delicate tap dancing in press interviews, but the brightness of his star gives him some leeway. He’s been a Scientologist for longer than many people reading this have been alive. It’s part of the brand now — kind of a kooky character trait that the public accepts and forgives because he’s Tom Cruise. He is uncancelable.
So we’ll continue to get Tom Cruise movies and, like the most recent Top Gun, many of them will be crackerjack entertainment. We’re not trying to make anybody feel bad about enjoying his performances. The scene in which he fully jumps out of a plane in Mission: Impossible — Fallout is one of the craziest things you will ever see in a movie. But it is fascinating how, in an age in which fans tend to build parasocial relationships with movie stars and then feel betrayed when these stars don’t measure up (for a recent example, type Olivia Wilde + Florence Pugh into Google).
But Cruise heralds from an older generation of stars. One in which an actor’s real-life personality doesn’t really factor into how one felt about what they did on screen. For better or worse, Cruise might be the last such star.