Impossible 2 Gave Us Was Ben Stiller As Tom Cruise’s Stunt Double

According to MTV Movie Awards producer Joel Gallen, this entertaining sketch almost never happened due to scheduling conflicts. Ben Stiller was on his honeymoon with Christine Taylor during the only time Tom Cruise was available. However, Cruise refused to do the short film with anyone else. After a pleading email from Joel Gallen, Ben Stiller agreed to cut his honeymoon short, boarded a 15-hour flight, and returned to shoot what would become one of the funniest MTV Movie Award skits ever. 

Looking back at it now, “Mission: Improbable” feels like the blueprint for Ben Stiller’s Hollywood satire “Tropic Thunder,” released five years later. Both mock self-important performers who take their craft too seriously. Stiller plays Tugg Speedman, a dumbed-down, Tom Cruise-esque action star looking for a comeback as a serious actor in his own version of “Born on the Fourth of July,” a Vietnam War drama based on a bestselling memoir. As Speedman, Stiller brings the same over-the-top cluelessness and macho posturing as he did playing Tom Crooze.  

The real Tom Cruise was actually up for the role of Tugg Speedman. While it would have been really interesting to see Tom Cruise parody himself, his unexpected turn as Les Grossman is even better. Cruise completely transforms himself into a sleazy, bald Hollywood producer who dances to Flo Rida’s “Low” and is willing to let Speedman die for a huge insurance payout. We rarely, if ever, see Cruise in such a repulsive role. According to an oral history of the character, Tom Cruise came up with Grossman himself. “Mission: Improbable” laid the groundwork for Tom Cruise and Ben Stiller as a dynamic comedy duo.

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