"I just love these characters because I want to entertain," Cruise says
Credit: Andrew Toth/FilmMagic

Tom Cruise‘s latest film, The Mummy, introduces the actor to a new side of humanity he never realized he’d like portraying.

Cruise told PEOPLE on Tuesday night at the New York City premiere of The Mummy that what makes his character Nick interesting is his anti-hero status.

“He’s kind of naughty, Nick, a little bit,” Cruise, 54, says. “He’s somebody who’s a thief, an interesting character. We follow him as he takes us through this new world of gods and monsters in the new Dark Universe world and with this Dark Universe, you have these gray area characters.”

The actor continues, saying Nick is “questionable, but he’s very charming and funny.”

With 46 film credits under his belt, Cruise has definitely seen his fair share of action heroes. But, he insists, it hasn’t gotten old.

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“I just love these characters because I want to entertain, that’s what I do,” he says. “I love movies, I’m a big fan of films, and I just love using all my abilities to entertain an audience.”

“And whatever kind of genre I’m in, I apply the same mentality to my dramas and comedies that I do to films on this scale,” he continues. “I’m always thinking of, ‘I want a great story.’ I just want to be entertained!”

Credit: ANGELA WEISS/AFP/Getty Images

Annabelle Wallis, Cruise’s co-star in the flick, tells PEOPLE she was excited to play a heroine who wasn’t your typical “damsel in distress.”

“I loved that she’s feisty and she’s reflective of the women that I know in my life and that women that we have in Hollywood and in all walks of life,” Wallis says. “She’s real and she’s the truth about women. I wanted to make someone that was an homage to the classic heroine, but also a modern one that could be brought forward into the future. And she’s rough and tumble and just is who she is.”

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Cruise’s next starring role is in American Made, out in September. The crime thriller directed by Doug Liman tells the story about a pilot working for the CIA, as well as a drug runner in the South, during the 1980s.

The Mummy lands in theaters June 9.