Follow TV Tropes


Characters / Tropic Thunder

Go To

    open/close all folders 


    Tugg Speedman 

Tugg Speedman
Played By: Ben Stiller
Voiced by: Enzo Fortuny (Latin-American Spanish dub)

Compared to a young Sylvester Stallone, Tugg was the highest-paid and highest-grossing action film star ever due to his Scorcher franchise. His career has stalled, and he now has a reputation for appearing in nothing but box office bombs. After a failed attempt at portraying a serious role in Simple Jack, he takes the role of Four Leaf Tayback in an attempt to save his career.

  • Action Hero: The kind of role he plays in his movies, most of the time.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: "Or are you a dude who has no idea what dude he is, and claims to know what dude he is, by playing other dudes?" Basically, Speedman is pointing out that Kirk method acts so hard that he loses his true self.
  • Badass and Baby: A key part of his Scorcher franchise.
  • Big "NO!": When he kills a panda.
  • Brief Accent Imitation: Tugg mocks Cockburn, still under the impression that Cockburn isn't decapitated.
  • Buddy Cop Show: During the ET segment, you can see a poster for such a film starring Speedman and Martin Lawrence.
  • Career Resurrection: In-Universe. The film's success revitalizes his career.
  • Chased by Angry Natives: As he escapes the Laotian village and runs to the helicopter.
  • Comically Missing the Point:
    Tyra Banks: Someone close to you said "One more flop and it's over."
    Speedman: Someone said they were close to me?
  • Critical Research Failure: In-Universe. Tugg confuses the Teen Choice Awards with the Kids Choice Awards by saying that Kevin would be slimed.
  • Crucified Hero Shot: He does it in the movie-within-a-movie, and then looks ridiculous as he overreacts getting shot.
  • Defiant to the End: When captured by the Flaming Dragons, he still keeps a brave demeanor. Probably justified, because he thought he was still acting according to the script.
  • Going Native: After being taken by Flaming Dragon, it doesn't take much for Tugg to start enjoying his time there because he's so appreciated for Simple Jack.
  • He Really Can Act: In-Universe, he wins an Oscar for his performance at the end as part of his career resurrection.
  • Heroic BSoD: He loses it after he kills a panda, an animal he loves more than anything else in the world.
  • Ice-Cream Koan: Subverted. Speedman tells Kirk, "Or are you a dude who has no idea what dude he is, and claims to know what dude he is, by playing other dudes?" which to the other actors sounds like gibberish, but describes Kirk so well that he breaks down into tears.
  • I'm Cold... So Cold...: Somehow parodied for "real". Tugg claims to not be able to feel his legs while they're trying to escape from the drug compound. Turns out it's just that he's sitting in a pool of cold, muddy water.
  • Inspirationally Disadvantaged: His role in Simple Jack was meant to be this, but he overplayed it. Lazarus tells him the truth of it in an unforgettable monologue.
    Lazarus: Check it out. Dustin Hoffman, Rain Man, look retarded, act retarded, not retarded. Count toothpicks, cheat at cards. Autistic, sure. Not retarded. You know Tom Hanks, Forrest Gump, Slow, yes. Retarded, maybe. Braces on his legs. But he charmed the pants off Nixon and won a ping-pong competition. That ain't retarded. Peter Sellers, Being There. Infantile, yes. Retarded, no. You went full retard, man. Never go full retard. You don't buy that? Ask Sean Penn, 2001, i am sam. Remember? Went full retard, went home empty-handed...
  • I Choose to Stay: He eventually believes he is already at home with the Flaming Dragons and refuses to go back home. It doesn't last long.
  • Ironic Echo: "I can't feel my legs." First as part of the film within a film, and then said during the final escape sequence. Except that Tugg's able to cry and can't feel his legs because he's sitting on a cold puddle.
  • Ironic Hell: Ends up in one when nabbed by Flaming Dragon, who force him to perform Simple Jack over and over.
  • Kindhearted Simpleton: As Simple Jack.
  • The Leader: The five actors eventually form a Five-Man Band, and they have Tugg as their leader until he gets captured.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: "I think I know a prop head when I see one!" says Tugg as he hefts what is an obvious prop head, seeing as Cockburn's actor is still alive...
  • Lost in Character: Not to the extent of Kirk, but Tugg attempted to reach similar extremes in his roles; offhand he uses prostethetic hands when off-set to get into character as Four-Leaf. In an earlier film he mentioned attempting to be mentally disabled so closely he was afraid he'd gone too far and "flushed too much out."
  • Meta Casting: Averted. Ben Stiller plays mostly comedic roles, not action heroes. Though he gets a handful of funny moments in the movie, his role is one of the most serious.
  • Mean Character, Nice Actor: Downplayed. Despite playing a gravelly-voiced Action Hero, Tugg himself is a good-natured, slightly timid man.
  • Mind Screw: Kirk trying to get Speedman out of his Heroic BSoD promptly backfires.
    Tugg: Or are you a dude who has no idea what dude he is, and claims to know what dude he is, by playing other dudes?
  • Nemean Skinning: Does this to a panda.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: He's a parody of a young Sylvester Stallone.
  • Oscar Bait: Tried and failed with Simple Jack, a movie about a mentally disabled farmhand who talks to animals.
  • Outrun the Fireball: Subverted. Tugg does this near the end, when the bridge to his helicopter's landing spot is rigged with explosives. He isn't quick enough, but he's alright afterwards.
  • Playing Against Type: In-universe, he tried to pull this off by going from a popular action star to a dramatic actor. It backfired horrendously. The movie he's filming now is a more lateral shift; while still a serious drama rather than a dumb popcorn flick, it's a war film with a lot of special effects, which is much closer to Tug's wheelhouse than Simple Jack.
  • Pluralses:
    Tugg: Chill! All right? Just chill it. Now, let's go get those Vietcongs.
    Alpa: "Vietcong"!
    Tugg: What?
    Alpa: It's "Vietcong." There's no "S." It's already plural. You wouldn't say "Chineses."
  • Reading the Stage Directions Out Loud: In the river scene, he says he is going to "Exterior, rain forest, dusk. Smash cut to Four Leaf, who treks alone through a frightening jungle."
  • Sanity Slippage: After he accidentally kills a panda he starts losing his mind. By the time Kirk finds him he's convinced he's found his true people among the Flying Dragons since they appreciate his acting.
  • Sequelitis: Parodied In-Universe. Tugg Speedman's Scorcher series received no less than five sequels. The 6th one, Scorcher VI: Global Meltdown, turned the concept of the Earth, being a giant fireball in the previous movies, to a frozen wasteland because the previous films had exhausted the previously mentioned concept.
    "Here we go again. Again..."
  • So Bad, It's Horrible: In-Universe, his attempt at a "serious" role with ''Simple Jack'', is regarded as being the worst film ever made, and Tyra Banks, on her talk show, told him that if Tropic Thunder fails, it will be the end of his career. Later, in the story proper, when they are formulating a rescue plan, Alpa and Kirk see Speedman playing out Simple Jack for the Golden Triangle gang, and Alpa tells Kirk he "thought the movie was bad."
  • Tom Hanks Syndrome: He attempted to invoke this in-universe with Simple Jack and failed miserably.
  • Unable to Cry: He can't cry on set, leading to a rift between him and the "award winner" Kirk Lazarus.
  • White-Dwarf Starlet: Tugg is on the verge of becoming this according to Les, who actually uses the term "white dwarf".

    Kirk Lazarus 

Kirk Lazarus
Click here to see him out of character 
Voiced by: Dafnis Fernández (Latin-American Spanish dub)

"I know who I am. I'm the dude playin' the dude, disguised as another dude!"

An immensely talented Australian method actor, Lazarus had a controversial "pigmentation alteration" surgery to darken his skin for his portrayal of the black character Sergeant Lincoln Osiris. Lazarus refuses to break character while filming and only speaks in his character's Black English.

  • All Asians Wear Conical Straw Hats: He ends up wearing one when he disguises himself as an Asian farmer.
  • Awesome Aussie: It's suggested that he keeps this attitude outside of the films.
  • Becoming the Mask:
  • Berserk Button: The closest he comes to breaking character was when Alpa Chino starts mocking his Australian heritage.
  • Blackface: When acting as Lincoln Osiris. Played for horribly offensive hilarity but also Deconstructed as it leads to an actual black man getting offended and calling him out for taking the only major African-American role in the film.
  • Broken Ace: He is a talented actor who played in many Oscar Bait films and is a master at Method Acting. Yet, he believes his true self is a pathetic loser.
  • Dude, Not Funny!: His reaction to Alpa Chino taking mockery of his Australian heritage to the point of making fun of the Chamberlain case.invoked
    Kirk: Y'know, that's a true story? Lady lost her kid. You 'bout to cross some fuckin' lines!
  • Gayngst: In Satan's Alley, he is a gay monk who struggles with his love for another monk in a monastery.
  • Guns Akimbo: Lazarus revealing his guns on the drug compound guards after his cover his blown attempting to sneak in.
  • Heroic BSoD: Kirk has a breakdown after Tugg convinces him that he's having an identity crisis while Kirk is trying to get Tugg to snap out of the role he's immersed in.
  • Ice-Cream Koan: When asked by Sandusky if he read the script, he responds with this:
    Kirk: I don't read the script, script reads me.
  • Innocently Insensitive: He’s so committed to the idea of being Lost in Character that he genuinely doesn’t realise how appallingly racist his interpretation of an African American man is.
  • The Lancer/Number Two: He seems to act as this when Tugg gets captured. Plus, they have meaningful stances on how to act for the movie, which leads to some disagreement between them.
  • Inelegant Blubbering: His attempt to cry at the beginning footage of the film is very overblown.
  • Large Ham: Kirk goes to... extremes.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
    • Is it Kirk Lazarus playing the dude disguised as another dude (Kirk Lazarus as Lincoln Osiris as lead-farming Indochinese infiltrator) or Robert Downey, Jr. (as all of the above)?
    • In real life, Robert has brown eyes. In the movie, Kirk Lazurus has blue eyes. Kirk had to put in brown colored contacts to play Osiris while Robert had to put in blue colored ones to play Kirk. In reality, Robert didn't need to put in colored contacts to play Osiris.
  • Lost in Character: This is a frequent problem for him. The result of playing Neil Armstrong found him "in an alley in Burbank trying to re-enter the earth's atmosphere in an old refrigerator box."
  • Magic Plastic Surgery: Kirk's transformation from white to black in itself is not that impressive. What's really impressive is that it "wears off" over time.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Seems to be a mix of Mel Gibson with the method acting of Daniel Day-Lewis.
  • N-Word Privileges: Averted. When Alpa calls him a nigga, he slaps him in the face, and lectures him on the dangers of the use of the word.
  • Only Sane Man: Zigzagged. On the one hand Kirk, along with Sandusky, is the only actor with a measure of intelligence and common sense, and he takes command of the group after Tugg leaves. On the other hand his absolute refusal to break character makes it clear he has his own problems.
  • Oscar Bait: He seems to exclusively act in films that are pure Oscar Bait; Moonshot (a biography of Neil Armstrong), Satan's Alley (a heavy-handed Brokeback Mountain-esque film about gay monks) and others.
  • Pragmatic Pansexuality: Being the hardcore method actor he is, he is willing to go gay for a role, as he did when he was playing a gay monk.
  • Pre Ass Kicking One Liner: HERE'S MY MOTHERFUCKIN' FARM!
  • Precision F-Strike: He doesn't go overboard with cussing, but he always strikes some F words here and there.
  • Russian Reversal: His Badass Boast.
    Kirk: I don't read the script, script reads me.
  • Scary Black Man: He tries to make Osiris come across as this.
  • Serious Business: Australia all the way, especially Crocodile Dundee and the woman whose baby got eaten by dingoes (which is not an urban myth, by the way).
    Alpa Chino: ...they had one good role for a black man, and they gave it to Crocodile Dundee!
    Kirk Lazarus: [stops smiling] Pump your breaks, kid, that man's a national treasure.
  • Shapeshifter Swan Song: Near the end of the movie, Lazarus briefly cycles through some of his previous roles before finally breaking character and assuming his own identity.
  • Suddenly Always Knew That:
    Portnoy: How the hell do you know Chinese?
    Lazarus: Land of Silk and Money with Gong Li. Second Globe, third Oscar. Prepped for that one by working in a Beijing textile factory for 8 months.
    • ...Which turns into gibberish, much to the consternation of the guards.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: When Tugg reminds him of who he is, he looks at himself in the mirror, breaks it and falls to the ground sobbing, shocked to realize he isn't the characters he played.
  • Uncle Tomfoolery: His portrayal of Osiris is very over-the-top and hilarious.
  • Unfortunate Implications: In-Universe. Lazarus acting as a black man irritates the hell out of actually black Alpa Chino, who must deal with his antics of stereotypical blackness.
  • WTH, Casting Agency?: This is more in-universe for the movie within the movie. Having a blond haired blue eyed Australian playing a black man?
    • The joke was even carried to his Oscar nomination, as Cuba Gooding Jr. cut off halfway through his praise of Downey's risk in taking the role with "What the hell were you thinking, man?"

    Jeff Portnoy 

Jeff Portnoy
Played By: Jack Black
Voiced by: Christian Strempler (Latin-American Spanish dub)

"Let me tell you something. A lot of people are disrespecting me. They say that the movie's just about farts. It's about family, and fuck you. You can't do what I do."

A drug-addicted comedian/actor well-known for portraying multiple parts in films that rely on Toilet Humor, particularly jokes about flatulence. In the film-within-a-film, he plays a raspy-voiced soldier named "Fats."

    Alpa Chino 

Alpa Chino
Played By: Brandon T. Jackson
Voiced by: Javier Olguín (Latin-American Spanish dub)

A rapper who is attempting to cross over into acting, portraying a soldier named "Motown," while promoting his "Bust-A-Nut" candy bar and energy drink "Booty Sweat."

  • Armored Closet Gay: He released a song called I Love Tha Pussy while in the closet. He's over-compensating a great deal, and if his reaction to Sandusky's reference to his girls is any indication, he seems to be getting tired of it. It's likely that he's come out by the end of the movie.
  • Ascended Fanboy: He said he watched the first Scorcher 20 times in 8th grade. Now he gets to act alongside the lead actor.
  • Brief Accent Imitation: Chino throws this on for Kirk Lazarus, who pisses him off with his ignorance, Uncle Tomfoolery and offensive portrayal of a black character as a stereotypical Scary Black Man.
    Lazarus: All right, fellas, we're gonna make camp, rest up. Y'all might be in for a treat. You know, back before the war broke out, I was a saucier in San Antone. I bet I could collar up some of them greens, yeah, some crawfish out the paddy, yo'! Ha! I'm makin' some crabapples for dessert now, yah! Hell yeah, ha!
    Alpa: [mocking Kirk] Hell yeah! Ha! That's how we all talk? We all talk like dis, "suh"? Yes suh, ha! Yeah mmm-hmm get some crawfish, and some ribs, ha! Ye-aah. [normal voice] You're Australian! Be Australian! Excuse me, Kangaroo Jack!
  • Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today?: The lyrics to his song I Love Tha Pussy reek of this. He outs himself later in the movie.
  • Hidden Depths: He actually donates millions from his "Booty Sweat" deal to his community, which demonstrates he isn't all glitter. He also has a thing for Lance.
  • Hypocritical Humor: He gets fed up with Lazarus' racist portrayal of a black man... and reels off every Aussie joke he can think of to him.
    • Also, Lazarus' particular use of "Hell yeah!" is what made Alpa call bullshit on him. This is the same expression he uses in the lyrics to his song.
  • Kayfabe Music: Seems to be more down-to-earth than his persona would indicate.
  • Mondegreen: "Alpa Chino" is clearly meant to sound exactly like "Al Pacino". See Named After Somebody Famous below.
  • Named After Somebody Famous: In-Universe. Guess who he is referencing with his name.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Seems to channel elements of at the time-relevant rapper Soulja Boy.
  • Only Sane Man: A bit more subtle than Sandusky; as shown above, his main purpose in the plot is to call bullshit on Lazarus' blackface, but once he's actually on "set" and not acting in his capacity as a rap mogul, it becomes clear that he's fairly well-adjusted.
  • Product Placement: One of the biggest reasons he's in the movie is to 'discreetly' sell his energy drink "Booty Sweat."
  • Screams Like a Little Girl: He does this when Tugg kicks Damien's decapitated head like a soccer ball.
  • Start X to Stop X: His idea of calling out Lazarus on a racist performance is to rapidly fire off racist remarks about Australians, including the old "dingo ate your baby" crack.
  • Stop Being Stereotypical: One of his main qualms with Lazarus' portrayal of a black man.
  • Straight Gay: You wouldn't know he's gay if he hadn't come out.
  • You Know I'm Black, Right?: Not only he plays it straight, he also inverts it for Lazarus.
    Kirk [to Tugg]: Huh? What do you mean you people?
    Alpa [to Kirk]: What do you mean you people?

    Kevin Sandusky 

Kevin Sandusky
Played By: Jay Baruchel
Voiced by: Víctor Ugarte (Latin-American Spanish dub)

A respectful novice actor, he is the only cast member to have read the script and book, and attended the assigned boot camp before the film. Sandusky plays a young soldier named "Brooklyn" in the film-within-a-film.

  • Accidental Misnaming: He is victim from this a couple of times. Lazarus gets his last name wrong twice, and Tugg calls him "Kyle", instead of Kevin. Alpa calls him "Candisky" once as well. Tugg gets his name right at the end of the movie, however.
  • Ascended Fanboy: He reveals that he is a big fan of Kirk Lazarus, and that he was the reason Kevin got into acting on the first place. The two have lead roles on the movie.
  • Brooklyn Rage: Averted. Since he plays the young soldier "Brooklyn", it is suggested he comes from there, yet he is very timid and nice.
  • The Fool: He is regarded as this by the others, yet he is the sanest guy on the team.
  • Info Dump: Twice. He explains the split of the studios regarding DVD and Blu-Ray and later he praises Renny Harlin. Both times he is shut down.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Everyone else in the cast has traces of No Celebrities Were Harmed but with newcomer and up and coming actor Sandusky, its not hard to see that character as a stand in for Jay Baruchel himself.
  • Naïve Newcomer: Subverted. Though he has no prior acting experience, he knows more about the film and the situation than the other actors, since he's the only one who actually prepared for his role by reading the script and original book and going through the actors' boot camp.
  • Only Sane Man: The only character in the movie who doesn't have any baggage as a person or an actor; he's basically a normal geek who got a part he auditioned for, nothing more.
  • The Smart Guy: He's arguably a Geek, and he is the one who creates the Wet Offensive infiltration on the enemy base.
  • Took a Level in Badass: He starts the movie as an in-over-his-head dirt-poor novice actor, and ends it with a successful enemy base infiltration and escape. Those two weeks of boot camp paid off, it seems.
  • Took the Bad Film Seriously:invoked He seems to be the only cast member who actually cares about his performance — for instance he's the only one who attended the actors boot camp and read the book it's based on.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: This is how he breaks Lazarus out of his self-loathing: by reminding him of how great he is, and that he is the reason Kevin decided to become an actor.



    Four Leaf Tayback 

John "Four Leaf" Tayback
Played By: Nick Nolte
Voiced by: Gabriel Pingarrón (Latin-American Spanish dub)

The author of Tropic Thunder, a memoir of his war experiences on which the film-within-a-film is based. He suggests the idea of dropping the actors in the middle of the jungle to get them looking and feeling like soldiers lost in a foreign land.

  • The Atoner: He tells Cody to hand him the flamethrower during the climactic battle as way of making up for letting him down on account how his "memoir" was faked, while Cody goes and rigs up the explosive charges on the bridge.
  • Miles Gloriosus/Phony Veteran: He wasn't an Army infantryman but rather did laundry in the Coast Guard, and weakly tries to claim he wrote the book as a 'tribute' to the real heroes.
  • Obfuscating Disability: He never really lost his hands. It was all a part of his act as a phony veteran.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: The book upon which Tropic Thunder is based is a memoir of his traumatic experiences in Vietnam. He sleeps out in a tent on the beach away from a hotel because of PTSD and is constantly shooting off gravelly-voiced one-liners about being a man or experiencing war or something similar. Averted; he's faking it all.
  • Walking Spoiler: The fact that the man is a fraud is a pretty major reveal.

    Damien Cockburn 

Damien Cockburn
Played By: Steve Coogan
Voiced by: Ricardo Tejedo (Latin-American Spanish dub)

The inexperienced British film director who is unable to control the actors in the film.

  • All Part of the Show: Nope. Tugg Speedman thinks his death was an act, but it was real.
  • Blasphemous Boast: Right before getting blown to bits after stepping on a land mine.
    This radio goes to the chopper and the chopper only! The chopper is God! And I am Jesus Christ, His son! And you are my chosen disciples!
  • Butt-Monkey: Dear God. He can't control his actors, his movie goes way over budget in little time, he is punched in the face at the request of Les Grossman and he steps on a landmine and gets blown up.
  • Character Death: He's killed by a land mine shortly into the movie.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: He steps on a land mine and gets blown to pieces.
  • Prima Donna Director: Subverted; it's the actors who are the prima donnas, and he's unable to control them.

    Cody Underwood 

Cody Underwood
Played By: Danny McBride
Voiced by: Andrés García (Latin-American Spanish dub)

The film's explosives expert and helicopter pilot. He is a pyromaniac.

  • Badass Boast: "MOTHER NATURE JUST PISSED HER PANTSUIT!" as he gets to employ some of his special effects.
  • Kill It with Fire: His general life philosophy.
  • Large Ham: There isn't a scene in which he isn't shouting or acting like a maniac.
  • Mad Bomber: Cody is on a personal mission to blow everything up that isn't already sufficiently blown up.


The Studio

    Les Grossman 

Les Grossman
Played By: Tom Cruise
Voiced by: Jorge Ornelas (Latin-American Spanish dub)

The foul-mouthed, hot-headed studio executive producing Tropic Thunder.

  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Les Grossman uses some wicked threats to intimidate people. Boy, does he ever.
  • Badass Boast: His speech to Flaming Dragon.
    Oh, okay. Flaming Dragon, fuckface. First, why don't you take a big step back and literally FUCK YOUR OWN FACE?! I don't know what kind of pan-Pacific power play you're trying to pull here, but Asia, jack, is my territory. So whatever you're thinking, you better think again because otherwise I'm gonna have to head down there and rain down an ungodly fuckin' firestorm upon you! You're gonna have to get the fuckin' United Nations to sign a fuckin' binding resolution to keep me from utterly destroying you! I am talking scorched earth, motherfucker! I will massacre you! I WILL FUCK YOU UP!!!
  • Bald of Evil: It's Tom Cruise wearing a bald cap and being one greedy, disgusting asshole.
  • Bavarian Fire Drill: He couldn't possibly pull off most of the stuff he claims he is capable of in his rant, but it is delivered with so much conviction that it seems to work!
  • Beard of Evil: More like a Perma-Stubble of greedy jerkassery.
  • Beauty Inversion: Tom Cruise had to wear a baldcap, a fatsuit and some large prosthetic hands to play this guy.
  • Brutal Honesty: When Pecker asked him if he was bribing him into betraying his best friend Speedman, Grossman replies with a frank, flat "yes".
  • Cluster F-Bomb: As seen in Badass Boast he really likes this trope.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: He is an executive producer, yet he doesn't care one bit about the safety of the actors, being only concerned with how much money he can make.
  • Dance Party Ending: Tom Cruise performing a one-man Dance Party Ending over the credits.
  • Deadpan Snarker: He can make some snarky comments here and there.
  • Establishing Character Moment: His first scene in the movie has him chewing out Cockburn for his failures, ordering a man to punch him in the face and telling Tayback to shut up.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Each of his asshole speeches are wonderfully over-the-top.
  • Fat Bastard: Grossman is a big, fat Jerkass.
  • Four Eyes, Zero Soul: Never seen without his glasses, except at the end.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: He is not involved with the Flaming Dragons who captured Speedman, yet he seems to be more threatening than them, given his Badass Boast that shut them up.
  • Greedy Jew: Implied. He has a Jewish-sounding last name and is one greedy bastard.
    • He also refers to a Jewish holiday, Shushan Purim, at one point, so it's not so much implied as it is hammered down your throats without explicitly stating it.
    "Let's face it, the kids aren't exactly dressing up as The Scorcher for Purim anymore."
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: He's an aggressive, moody and temperamental Bad Boss.
  • Hot-Blooded: He flies off the handle at the slightest provocation. He will vacillate between roaring inventive profanity at the top of his lungs and calmly taking care of business.
  • Jerkass: Big time. He insults everyone and is only concerned with making money.
  • Karma Houdini: Never suffers any punishment for his actions, specially leaving Speedman to die at the hands of the Flaming Dragon. By the end, his movie makes $400 million at the box office, wins several awards, and he gets credited for reviving Speedman's career.
  • Large Ham: His rant to Flaming Dragon qualifies him.
  • Laughably Evil: While he's not really evil, he is a greedy and arrogant Jerkass who is perfectly fine with letting an actor die at the hands of a drug cartel. That said, he's so unbelievably hammy and over the top that it's impossible to actually hate him.
  • Meaningful Name: Grossman. His personality throughout the movie lives up to his name.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: It's speculated that Tom Cruise modeled his performance on Harvey Weinstein (whom Cruise allegedly had a low opinion of after their negotiations broke down over Weinstein trying to court him for the film Cold Mountain) - according to Ben Stiller, it was Cruise's idea to include a "gross" studio head as the secondary villain, and his physical appearance (big, fat, hairy, balding) as well as his hot temper, foul mouth, general obnoxious attitude and terrible treatment of his employees are all reminiscent of Weinstein's behaviour (Weinstein was also known for loving diet coke)... although considering what Weinstein is mostly known for these days, it's almost a relief that Les wasn't a lot worse.
  • Only in It for the Money: He wants to make a movie so he gets lots of money. He doesn't care one bit if the lead actor is kidnapped and can be killed.
    • When Pecker calls him out on the fact that he gave permission to the Flaming Dragon Gang to brutally murder Speedman, Grossman retorts that Speedman's career ended long ago, and when the death of Speedman leaks out, Grossman says he will start an acting program in Speedman's name, which will attract the attention, and money, of future investors.
  • Pet the Dog: His last scene with Rob.
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: Quite possibly the king of this trope, alongside Samuel L. Jackson and Malcolm Tucker. Let's just say he's VERY fond of tossing out F-bombs.
  • Smug Snake: Subverted. He is massively full of himself, yet it never backfires on him.
  • Suddenly SHOUTING!: Not only in his rant to the Flaming Dragons, but he does that in some early scenes as well.
  • Take That!: Reportedly Cruise based the actions and dialogue of this character off real life Paramount Studios executive Sumner Redstone, who had a falling out with Cruise two years earlier when he terminated the actor's contract prematurely.
  • Token Evil Teammate: Given that he is part of the making of the movie, he could be counted as a member of the team. Yet, most tropes above should explain why he qualifies for this.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: In his office, you can see a Forbes magazine with him on the cover. Interestingly enough, it says that he doesn't like actors or agents. Only money and power. And he has both. He actually invokes this trope at one point when he admits that he is perfectly happy to let Tug Speedman be brutally murdered by Asian drug peddlers but claims that they "will weep for him... in the press".
  • Would Hit a Girl: He threatens to rip off secretary Helen's breasts.

    Rick 'Pecker' Peck 

Rick "Pecker" Peck
Voiced by: Óscar Flores (Latin-American Spanish dub)

Tugg Speedman's extremely devoted agent and best friend.

  • All Men Are Perverts: In one scene, you can see him reading a book full of pictures of topless women.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The TiVo. It is used as target to the rocket that would blow up the helicopter in which the film crew was escaping on.
  • Crazy-Prepared: When he thinks Speedman has killed a prostitute (actually a panda), he immediately begins instructing him on the proper way to dispose of a corpse. We don't hear all of it, but it involves a bathtub and "a shitload of lye."
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Speedman, if their interactions are anything to go by.
  • Office Golf: Takes this in a trendier direction with Office Wii Tennis.
  • Take a Third Option: He uses the money and the G5 offered by Grossman to save Speedman from the Flaming Dragon.
  • Undying Loyalty: Double Subverted towards Tugg. At first, it looks like Pecker ditched his friend for a G5. Then he uses the plane to rescue him, playing the trope straight.

    Rob Slolom 

Rob Slolom
Played By: Bill Hader
Voiced by: Kaihiamal Martínez (Latin-American Spanish dub)

Assistant and right-hand man to Les Grossman.

Flaming Dragon


Played By: Brandon Soo Hoo
Voiced by: Bruno Coronel (Latin-American Spanish dub)

The young leader of the Flaming Dragon gang.


Played By: Reggie Lee
Voiced by: Ricardo Mendoza (Latin-American Spanish dub)

The second-in-command of the Flaming Dragon gang.

  • The Dragon: To Tran.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: He has no problems offering Speedman a cup of tea out of genuine sincerity. Unfortunately, Speedman is too wrapped in his role to accept it.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: