Tom Cruise’s Most Unexpected, Surprising Roles


Throughout his career, Tom Cruise has been one of Hollywood’s most bankable stars. Even though his personal life has been a tabloid target on occasion, and he’s made a few bizarre appearances on talk shows, Cruise still remains a popular draw at the box office. One of the reasons he’s been such a draw is because he can play roles nobody thinks he’s right for. He’s always surprising audiences with what he can do. Here are our favourite unexpected roles he’s played.

Lestat: Even author Anne Rice didn’t like the casting of Tom Cruise in 1994’s Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles based on her novel. Cruise had shown he could play almost anything before this movie came out, but no one could see him playing an eccentric ancient vampire. He just didn’t seem right for the role at all. When the movie came out however, Cruise not only proved to audiences around the world that he could, but Anne Rice herself issued him a very public apology.

Frank T.J. Mackey: Paul Thomas Anderson’s Magnolia stood out for many reasons, but one character that turned heads was Cruise’s portrayal of Frank T.J. Mackey. The character was a foul-mouthed motivational speaker teaching men how to pick up women, who is being sought out by his estranged father. It was a unique role for Cruise, and one that shocked many people who had grown used his squeaky clean image on screen.

Les Grossman: You might have to sit down for this one. When Tom Cruise appears on the screen in Tropic Thunder as a fat, bald producer you can’t help but start laughing right away. And he starts to dance at the end of the movie, you find yourself laughing even harder. While there are some good laughs throughout this film, Cruise by far gets the loudest.

Vincent: While Cruise had played some less then good character before, he’d never played the outright villain before 2004’s Collateral. In it he plays a hitman who takes  cab driver hostage so he can go about an evening of killing in Los Angeles. It was shocking to say the least to find yourself not cheering for him in an action movie.

Jack Reacher: Tom Cruise’s physical appearance in everything Jack Reacher is not. At least if you compare him to the way he’s described in the book. Reacher is tall, bulked-up muscular, scarred, and his face is described as being chiseled out of stone by something with ability, but not a lot of time. When Cruise landed the role, fans of the series were disappointed because he didn’t look anything like the character they’d grown to love. He surprised everyone by playing the role very well, so well in fact that the movie got a sequel that is now playing at theatres everywhere.