I haven't been so nuts about Ben Stiller lately as an actor, but as a director the guy has shoveled out some pretty decent flicks. Reality Bites and The Cable Guy are two classics in my mind, and Zoolander -- eh, it had its moments. For his fourth pic as a director, Stiller will give us Tropic Thunder; a film that has already assembled a pretty wacky cast that includes Stiller, Robert Downey Jr., Jack Black, Justin Theroux and Jay Baruchel. Now, according to The Hollywood Reporter, Tom Cruise may be stepping in for a super secret cameo that's just a tad -- shall we say -- ironic. The article in question talks up Hollywood's annoying "cameo code of silence;" how A-list actors will often appear in tiny roles for little to no money (because they're friends with the folks in charge or what have you), but then insist that their contract not allow the studio to market their appearance in any way, shape or form.
It's a catch-22; one one hand, it's awesome to have someone like, say, Tom Cruise in your film. Then again, what good is it if you can't use his appearance to sell tickets? And so it goes. But back to the topic at hand, which is, of course, Cruise's secret Stiller role. Apparently, he'll be playing a "despotic studio head" who, I take it, will be in charge of the big-budgeted war film Stiller and Co. are attempting to shoot in Tropic Thunder -- that is, until these actors playing actors are forced to become the soldiers they're portraying for real. Some are saying this role will give Cruise a chance to poke fun at folks like Sumner Redstone and Paramount who, just last year, canned Cruise because of his wild off-screen antics, saying, essentially, that Cruise was performing "career suicide." (Heh, I wouldn't be surprised if that exact quote is used as a line of dialogue spoken by Cruise's character.) The ironic (or moronic) part? Dreamworks (owned by Paramount) is putting out the film. I love it! Of course, we probably won't know whether Cruise is actually in the film until it screens for an audience (stupid cameo code!), but we'll keep our ears open and let you know what we hear. Currently, Tropic Thunder is scheduled to appear in your local theater on July 11, 2008.