Take that, Sumner Redstone.
At an industry screening Tuesday night of the forthcoming comedy "Tropic Thunder" from Paramount Pictures and its unit DreamWorks, Tom Cruise brought down the house with his surprise portrayal of a bald, hairy-chested, foulmouthed, dirty-dancing movie mogul of the kind who is only too happy to throw an actor to the wolves when his popularity cools.
The several hundred Hollywood agents, managers, publicists and reporters at the screening on the Paramount lot here couldn't have missed the joke. In August 2006 Mr. Cruise -- after spending many years at Paramount and appearing in some of its biggest hits, including "Top Gun" and the "Mission: Impossible" series -- was sent packing by Mr. Redstone, the chairman of Viacom, the studio's parent.
Two years later Mr. Cruise is back in a Paramount movie, playing a craggy ingrate in what is shaping up as one of the studio's best prospects for the summer. The movie, a raunchfest directed by Ben Stiller, about a bunch of actors whose jungle war movie turns unexpectedly real, also stars Mr. Stiller, Robert Downey Jr., Jack Black, Matthew McConaughey and Nick Nolte.
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