Tom Cruise is planning a significant weight gain to play a 20-stone American pilot who trafficked drugs and guns for the Medellín cartel in the 1980s-set biopic Mena, reports the New York Post.
The 52-year-old star is due to appear next on the big screen in a fifth Mission: Impossible movie. But the newspaper’s Page Six column suggests he will follow that up with a turn as Adler B Seal, known as Barry, in the blood-strewn biopic Mena for Bourne Identity director Doug Liman.
Cruise donned fatsuit to play eccentric studio executive Len Grossman in 2008 comedy Tropic Thunder, but is not otherwise known for taking roles that require a dramatic weight gain. The transformation is the kind of sacrifice Oscars voters tend to reward, and the three-times-nominated actor might have one eye on his first Academy Award win. On the other hand, Seal has been played before onscreen as a normally proportioned man, notably by Dennis Hopper, in the 1991 HBO docudrama Double Crossed.
Seal, known as the “Fat Man”, was a pilot for the Medellín cartel and subsequently an agent for the CIA. Operating out of a shady airport in Mena, Arkansas, the Louisiana-born smuggler transported cannabis, cocaine and later Quaaludes into the US from South America between 1976 and 1984, when he was arrested. He then volunteered to work for US authorities to avoid incarceration, but was shot dead in 1986 at a safe house in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, by Colombian hitmen working for Medellín.
Liman is reportedly due to meet with Cruise in London to discuss the role. Mena is based on a screenplay by Gary Spinelli, which was picked up by Universal Pictures last year following a bidding war. Liman replaced Ron Howard in the director’s chair following the $1m (£660,000) deal.
Source: The Guardian