Hollywood's biggest star becomes a conduit for ancient evil in this summer's The Mummy.
Tom Cruise plays military man Nick Morton whose discovery of an ancient Egyptian tomb sees him possessed by the evil Princess Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella). Once royalty, Ahmanet was denied the dynasty that should have been hers, and was entombed alive for millennia. Now unleashed upon the 21st century, she seeks to use Nick to rebuild our world in her image.
This got us thinking: although Cruise is famous for playing heroes, what are the roles where he tapped into his darker side? Here are The Cruiser's greatest villain roles...
Rain Man (1988)
We admit, it's very simplistic to refer to Cruise's arrogant Charlie Babbit as a 'villain'. This superbly moving and humorous family drama, one featuring a fantastic performance from the actor, is far too sophisticated and intelligent to fall into such traps.
Even so there's no denying that Cruise, then in the early throes of his superstar career, was very brave in taking on the role of unashamedly unpleasant car salesman Charlie. Even when he discovers his autistic elder brother Raymond (an Oscar winning Dustin Hoffman), it takes a great deal of coercion and manipulation before Charlie is able to bond with his sibling, leading to a truly powerful finale.
Interview with the Vampire (1994)
If Rain Man was a nuanced, engrossing study in a flawed human being then this lavishly appointed, century-spanning Gothic horror allowed for a gloriously flamboyant Cruise performance.
He plays ageless vampire Lestat who recruits Brad Pitt's Louis under his wing and schools him in the art of the vampire. Famously author Anne Rice was against Cruise's casting initially, but soon changed her mind upon seeing his enjoyably scene-nibbling, grandiose turn. The sequence where the undead Louis appears at the piano is seriously terrifying.
Again this is far too complex a character to branded as a mere baddie. But it's true that few Cruise characters are as ragingly repulsive as his misogynistic love guru Frank T.J. Mackey.
Paul Thomas Anderson's sprawling, surrealistic drama encompasses a number of stories featuring a host of Hollywood's finest, but Cruise's role may be the highlight. Playing a man exorcising his own demons in the most appalling way possible, it's an eye-opening indication of his acting talents and proof there's a lot more to him than buff Mission: Impossible hero Ethan Hunt.
What is it about Cruise and dark, nasty roles that draws out the best of his acting talents? Michael Mann's achingly sleek and utterly thrilling neo-noir pits his sociopathic hitman Vincent against Jamie Foxx's likeable cabbie Max, an odyssey through nighttime Los Angeles during which time both men learn more about each other than they'd like to think.
Cruise is consummately scary in the role, utterly convincing with his shock of grey hair and equally nondescript suit as a man whose destiny it is to live in the shadows, and who gives little heed to the lives he destroys.
Tropic Thunder (2008)
Who says Tom Cruise has no sense of humour? Ben Stiller's riotous war movie spoof gives the star possibly his funniest role ever as balding, paunchy, terrifying movie mogul Les Grossman, whose foul language is as destructive as the explosives unleashed during the titular movie within a movie.
Cruise is so unrecognisable than many didn't realise it was him until his credit at the very end – that shows how much of a good actor he is. And seriously, when's the Les Grossman spin-off movie coming out?