Tom Cruise’s latest turn as ’80s musician Stacee Jaxx in the just released Rock of Ages really required the actor to play outside of his usual good guy/hero schtick. Jaxx is a tattooed, womanizing, drug-addled rock god who–are you ready for the best part?–wears a codpiece.
And not just any old codpiece either. Rock stars can’t just purchase their codpieces in Provincetown like everyone else, now can they? No. They can’t. This codpiece was custom made by ‘script-specific prop’-maker Doug Wright. The actual ‘piece,’ which sounds more like a Damien Hirst piece than codpiece, is a devil’s skull, bedazzled with rhinestones, metal studs, silver leaf, and a ruby-rhinestone encrusted tongue. All mounted on a leather jockstrap. Sexy.
The New York Times, which got the low-down on Tom’s low-down
accessorynecessity, also provides us with a helpful history of this essential item. Apparently, stylish men have been donning the package protectors since the 1500s. Talk about enduring fashion. ‘Cod’ actually translates to ‘bag’ in Middle English–and while it’s rather comforting to know that they weren’t originally made of fish skin, ‘bag’ is somehow even of creepier. Some codpieces back in the day were so extravagant, they even included pockets for keeping and warming fruit before “offering them to the ladies.” I think I’ll stick with my microwave for now, thankyouverymuch.
Doug wasn’t able to meet with Tom for a fitting so he made the jockstrap adjustable to ensure a properly snug fit “over [the actor's] business.” And while Tom’s spokeswoman told the NYT that her client was too busy filming another movie to “comment on the codpiece,” the star reportedly told Metro that when he wore his fancy underpants home to show wife Katie Holmes, “she laughed. It’s hilarious.”