Movie Article

Party 'Hardy'

Tom Cruise and Ben Stiller have signed up for a take on the classic novels

Tom Cruise, comic actor? We're not joking. He's set to team up with longtime pal Ben Stiller in 20th Century Fox's The Hardy Men, a humorous take on the classic novels about teenage detectives. Directed by Shawn Levy (who helped turn Stiller's Night at the Museum into a $232 million smash), the movie will follow Cruise and Stiller's grown-up, estranged sleuths as they reunite to crack one final case.

Stiller in a buddy flick makes sense. But again...Cruise? Levy got the casting idea as he noticed Stiller taking calls from Cruise during Museum. He remembered their Mission: Impossible spoof from 2000's MTV Movie Awards, with Stiller playing Cruise's stunt double. He then learned of the Hardy script. Lightbulb: ''They'd be awesome playing brothers.'' A recent three-hour brainstorming session — during which the actors improvised arguments over ''everything from who the murderer is to 'Why did you just drink that orange juice from the carton?!''' — convinced all parties that the chemistry is there. But Levy wants to make one thing clear: Men, which is still in development, won't be a slapsticky farce à la Starsky & Hutch. ''We want to make a kick-ass action comedy with elements of Midnight Run and Mr. & Mrs. Smith, where the characters are real,'' he explains. ''Prior drafts had shades of [parody]. This version is more grounded in sibling rivalry.'' And if audiences take to the new, lighter Cruise, he might get the last Hardy har-har after all.


Men at Work
Three more upcoming projects from Cruise and Stiller:

UNTITLED FARRELLY BROTHERS COMEDY
(Oct. 5) Stiller plays a newlywed who falls for another woman on his honeymoon in this update of The Heartbreak Kid.

MADAGASCAR 2
(Nov. 7, 2008) Stiller's Alex the Lion reunites with his family in Africa.

LIONS FOR LAMBS
(TBA) Cruise stars as a congressman who encounters Meryl Streep's reporter. (Additional reporting by Steve Daly)

Originally posted Feb 16, 2007 Published in issue #922 Feb 23, 2007 Order article reprints