SDCC 2019: Tom Cruise Revives 'Tropic Thunder' Character Les Grossman With Conan O'Brien

Tom Cruise brought back his hilarious Tropic Thunder character Les Grossman to life on Conan O'Brien's eponymous talk show at San Diego Comic-Con Thursday night. Cruise, who is not known for making comedies, talked about the difficulties of playing a character under heavy makeup and pulling off the dance moves in his famous scenes.

O'Brien played a brief clip from Tropic Thunder's famous end credits scene, showing Cruise dancing as the foul-mouth Hollywood studio executive. When the movie came out, many were not aware Cruise was playing the character until his name showed up in the credits.

"I take classes all the time to learn things or I want to improve a skill… singing, music, something I'm studying," Cruise, 57, explained to O'Brien. "I take dance classes and I took hip-hop classes and then I'll find a character to put that with."

Crusie said he was approached by Tropic Thunder star, director and co-writer Ben Stiller to appear in the film, but claimed the fat hands and dancing scene were his ideas.

"[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," Cruise recalled, notes EW. "He was just looking at me like, 'What is happening?'"

Cruise demonstrated the crushing-the-Pepsi-can dance to some of the Tropic Thunder music. Then, he said Grossman's famous line "Would you stand back and literally f— your own face!"

Cruise's appearance at SDCC was a surprise. Before appearing on Conan, he shocked the crowd by appearing at Paramount Picture's panel to unveil the Top Gun: Maverick trailer.

"Thirty-four years ago, I made a movie in San Diego and shot across the street in a restaurant," Cruise told the crowd before unveiling the trailer, notes Deadline. "San Diego is a special place for Top Gun and the sequel was shot here last summer."

"I was always asked 'When are you going to do another one?' Well, you've been very patient with me. I felt like it was my responsibility to really deliver for you," he continued, calling the original movie a "love letter to aviation."

In Top Gun: Maverick, Cruise returns as Captain Peter "Maverick" Mitchell, 33 years after playing the star-making role in the original film. Val Kilmer is also back as Commander Thomas "Iceman" Kazansky, while Miles Teller plays the son of Nick "Goose" Bradshaw.

Top Gun: Maverick opens on June 26, 2020. Cruise was also seen in Mission: Impossible - Fallout last year.


Stay tuned to for more from the 2019 San Diego Comic-Con International.

Photo credit: Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images