Legend: how the tom cruise and tim curry fantasy movie became a cult classic.
Legend is a little-known 1985 Tom Cruise fantasy movie directed by Ridley Scott. It was a box office bomb but became a cult classic - here's why.
- Legend, directed by Ridley Scott and starring Tom Cruise, is a unique cult classic fantasy film that stands out in both their filmographies.
- Despite being a box office flop, the film gained its cult status through its stunning visuals and the exceptional performance of Tim Curry as the Lord of Darkness.
- The director's cut of Legend, released in 2002, with its different ending and original score, helped solidify its cult classic status by offering a morally gray narrative and questioning the concepts of good and evil.
While a number of '80s movies have become cult classics, one of the more curious films to receive such status is the 1985 film Legend starring Tom Cruise. Directed by Ridley Scott, Legend is an epic fantasy adventure film that follows a young man named Jack (Tom Cruise) who must confront and defeat the Lord of Darkness (Tim Curry) as he plans to curse the entire world with eternal night by killing all the unicorns in this realm and taking their horns. Along the way, Jack encounters various creatures and a princess named Lili (Mia Sara).
After he made Alien , Scott wanted to make a fairytale film. He teamed up with author William Hjortsberg and the two worked closely together for five weeks on the first draft of what would become Legend . Soon after, Scott started principal photography on his iconic sci-fi film Blade Runner (via Starburst Magazine ). By the time Scott had completed Blade Runner , he and Hjortsberg went through 15 drafts before settling on what would serve as the official Legend script. And while Legend may not be nearly as popular as either Alien or Blade Runner , it had enough unique aspects that allowed the Tom Cruise fantasy adventure to become a cult classic.
Every Ridley Scott Movie Ranked From Worst To Best (Including House of Gucci)
The only fantasy film ridley scott and tom cruise worked on.
Part of why Legend became a cult classic is that it stands out in both Ridley Scott's and Tom Cruise's catalog, serving as the only fantasy film either has worked on. While some of Scott's films have fantastical elements, most notably his biblical epic Exodus: Gods and Kings , Legend is the only pure fantasy movie that Scott has directed. Considering that a lot of Scott's filmography consists of high-concept science fiction movies, big-budget historical action epics, intense crime dramas, or horror films, something like Legend completely stands out. The uniqueness of this kind of movie in a filmography like Ridley Scott's makes it worth seeking out.
Similarly, Legend is the only pure fantasy movie that Tom Cruise has starred in. While it can be argued that his reboot of The Mummy has fantastical elements in it, like Scott, he has never again worked on a pure fantasy film. Cruise's filmography primarily consists of either high-adrenaline action movies like Top Gun: Maverick or Mission: Impossible , science fiction films like Oblivion or Edge of Tomorrow , or artistic character dramas like Eyes Wide Shut or A Few Good Men . Therefore, like Scott, Tom Cruise being in a film like Legend is a reason why it is appealing.
Legend Bombed At The Box Office
Like many other movies that become cult classics, Legend was a flop — Tom Cruise's only real box office bomb . The film had a $25 million dollar budget and only made a worldwide total of about $23.5 million despite having been the number one movie at the box office for two weeks when it was released in 1985 (via The Numbers ). The fact that Legend performed so poorly at the box office could be a big reason why neither Scott nor Cruise attempted to make another fantasy movie. However, regardless of how it did financially, Legend eventually gained its cult status when it was seen on home video.
Legend Was Poorly Received Despite Some Positives Aspects
Legend received mostly negative reviews, with criticisms of it being incoherent, messy, and overall lacking a sense of identity or purpose. Roger Ebert described Legend as "... a movie that has no clear idea of its own mission and no joy in its own accomplishment ." (via RogerEbert.com ) Ebert's TV partner and fellow critic, Gene Siskel, was even harsher towards Scott's fantasy film, stating " I don't want to remember any more about Legend than to make sure I include it in my 'worst films of 1986' list and never rent it when it comes out as a video cassette ." (via Chicago Tribune )
However, even the harshest critics cannot deny some admirable aspects of Legend as many of the positive reviews praise the film for its gorgeous visuals. Through a combination of the cinematography, set pieces, and most importantly the makeup effects, Legend was dazzling to look at. Several critics stated that Legend 's visuals and makeup prosthetics alone were enough reasons to see it. A big reason why the movie had such great makeup effects is because of the involvement of makeup effects artist Rob Bottin, who is best known for his work on films like The Howling , Robocop , and The Thing .
Tim Curry Gave A Great Performance
Another aspect of Legend that even the biggest detractors praised was Tim Curry's performance as the Lord of Darkness. Despite only appearing in the last 20 minutes and heavily covered with makeup and prosthetics, Curry received much acclaim for truly embodying this evil, sadistic character and has been cited by many as the best part of the movie. While Curry has played similar types of villains and creatures before, he is completely unrecognizable as Darkness and gives a hugely entertaining yet thoroughly terrifying performance.
The Director's Cut Helped Legend Become A Cult Classic
Similar to the multiple director's cuts that Blade Runner received , a big reason why Legend became a cult classic is the unrated Director's Cut released in 2002. There are two main differences between Legend 's theatrical and director's cut, and the first is that the latter offers a more bittersweet ending in which Jack and Lili go their separate ways instead of riding off into the sunset. The other big change is that the Legend director's cut uses the original Jerry Goldsmith score that was kept in for European audiences rather than the music by Tangerine Dream, Jon Anderson, and Brian Ferry that was in the US theatrical release (via Cinefantastique ).
Overall, while the theatrical cut provides a more clear-cut, good vs. evil story, the Legend director's cut provides a more morally gray narrative. In the director's cut, the ideas about good and evil are consistently questioned as the protagonists are flawed individuals who make mistakes and may not be the pure embodiment of good, but will still rise to the occasion at the end of the day. In the same vein that Blade Runner became a cult classic when an improved version of the movie became available, Legend received a similar status and praise for doing the same.
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Tom Cruise – Interview Magazine
Hot Shot in Top Gun
It has been three years since Tom Cruise made his starring debut as Joel Goodsen, the awakening young capitalist in Paul Brickman’s “Risky Business.” The movie was a perfect showcase for Cruise’s style – equal parts comic vulnerability and dramatic strength. When the family egg tumbled through the air at the end of “Risky Business”, audiences everywhere felt the full weight of Joel’s predicament. By the time it landed, Cruise had arrived.
Now 24, Cruise has worked steadily since that memorable turn, but due to a combination of lengthy schedules and production delays, he hasn’t been seen since 1983’s “All The Right Moves.” That hiatus is about to end. This year will see the release of three high-profile Cruise releases. First comes Ridley Scott’s long-awaited “Legend.” The summer blockbuster, “Top Gun” will hit theaters this month, and due in December is “The Color of Money,” Martin Scorsese’s sequel to “The Hustler.” Cruise stars as the pool playing protégé/nemesis of Fast Eddie – Paul Newman.
I spoke with Tom Cruise at the Columbus Dynasty Restaurant on New York’s Upper West Side. A model of manners, Cruise rarely missed an opportunity for a “sir” or “ma’am.” When our talk was over, he thanked the waitress, hoisted his backpack onto his shoulders and disappeared into a crowded subway, looking a lot like Joel Goodsen a long way from home.
Cameron Crowe: You’re someone who is associated with a lot of people’s adolescent thoughts and fantasies…
Tom Cruise: Yep, I’ve been laid just about everywhere. On the train, in the bedroom, on the stairs….[ laughs ]
CC: What was your own adolescence like?
TC: I’ve had such extremes in my life. From being this kind of wild kid, to one year studying to be a Franciscan priest at the seminary….I was very frustrated. I didn’t have a lot of friends. The closest people around me were my family. I think they felt a little nervous about me because I had a lot of energy and I couldn’t stick to one thing. If I worked in an ice-cream store – and I’ve worked in a lot of them – I would be the best for two weeks. Then I was always quitting or getting fired, because I was bored. I feel good about the fact that I finally found something I love. I never lived in one place for very long – that’s the way my whole life has been. I was always packing and moving around, staying in Canada, Kentucky, Jersey, St. Louis – it all helped because I was always learning new accents, experiencing different environments.
CC: How close did you come to becoming a Franciscan Priest?
TC: Not too close. I was there for one school session. I remember we used to sneak out of the school on weekends and go this girl’s house in town, sit around, talk and play Spin the Bottle. I just realized I loved women too much to give that up.
CC: What was the turning point, when you decided on acting and moved to New York?
TC: I was 17 and started in a school musical. Guys and Dolls. And I just loved it. At the schools I grew up in, sensitivity was something that was not accepted. Especially being the new kid. I felt vulnerable a lot of the time, constantly having to put up these guards to take care of myself. You didn’t sit around with the guys and talk about, “God, that really hurt my feelings, what you said.” It was more like, “Yeah, let’s go out, have some beers and kick some ass.” That was really frustrating to me. So the first time I did the play, all the guys came and saw it and said, “Whoa, we didn’t know that you could do that.” I felt good about it. Not just the fact that they saw it, but I felt good about it in my heart. My mother taught creative drama, so I’d always enjoyed it. I told my parents I was going to New York. I never really planned on going to college anyway. I had saved money and I was going to go to Europe and find the “big picture” there.
CC: Does your rebel side ever come out in the movie-making process?
TC: Like getting into a fistfight on a movie set? No. But I am very aggressive. You’ve got to be aggressive; there’s too much responsibility not to be. When you look at Taps, a lot of that character was my childhood. I wasn’t intense like that, but the character is just fear. That’s what he does when he’s afraid – he fights. I have an aggressive side, absolutely. I need a creative outlet. Now I work out every day. I get up and work out 45 to 60 minutes. And that’s how I start my day. Discipline is very important to me.
CC: How did you learn to deal with the constant rejection of going out on readings?
TC: I felt that the people rejecting me were there to help me in the long run. Sometimes it hurts, but I truly believe that there are parts I’m supposed to get and parts I’m not supposed to get and something else is going to come along.
I remember being flown out to Los Angeles to read for a series. I didn’t know anything – I didn’t know how touch it was. I went in to read and this director was sitting there in his office – he thought he was the coolest thing happening. I read, and I knew I was terrible. And he said, “So, how long are going to be in California?” And I’m thinking, “He’s probably going to want me to come back and read again with someone else”. I said, “Well, just a couple of days.” He said, “Good. Get a tan while you’re here.” [ laughs ] I couldn’t help it. I walked out, and I thought it was the funniest damn thing. Tears were coming out of my eyes,, I was laughing so hard. I thought, “This is Hollywood. Welcome, Cruise.”
CC: Your first major role was in the film Taps . Did you feel like you were on the ground floor of something special, working with Sean Penn and Timothy Hutton?
I felt like it was a chance for me, and a beginning. Me and Penn, I really don’t know if we ever slept during that movie. We’d stay up all night and just talk about the film and about acting. And Hutton was working every day, so he couldn’t hang out that much except on the weekends. We were really scared and nervous and excited – we didn’t know what was going to happen. It was a special time in my life because it was my first movie, and it was Sean’s first movie. Hutton had just won the Academy Award and he was all excited. You felt that something special was happening.
I didn’t know anything about agents and business or scripts. Coming off Taps , I felt like, hey, everyone wants to make a great movie. Everyone who’s doing this loves their work. It’s too hard a line of work to not love it. You work as hard as you can and you get everything and something has to work out. Then I did a film they titled Losin’ It . When I first read it, it was worse than the released film. I had this small agent at the time who said, “Do it, do it.” I worked hard, but it was a terrible time in my life.
CC: How did you make the transition from Losin’ It to working with Francis Ford Coppola on The Outsiders?
TC: I learned the things I wanted, and the things I didn’t want. I got a new agent and thought, “I have to work with good people and good directors and grow.” I heard about the movie, and I came out to Los Angeles and stayed at Emilio’s [Estevez] house over Christmas. And I stayed at the Penn’s house in the summer. That’s when Sean was doing Fast Times . I just went to Francis and said, “Look, I don’t care what role you give me, I really want to work with you. I want to be there with all these young actors. That was a hell of a good time. I just wanted a wide body of work. After Taps came out I was offered every horror film, every killer-murderer part. I told this one agent that I wanted to work with Francis. He said, “Francis! He’s not going to pay you anything!” It was never a main role, but I created something. That was where I learned I had a sense of comedy. I still wanted to work with Francis again.
CC: In Risky Business, Paul Brickman took the youth-oriented genre and really opened it up visually and musically. It’s been very influential. Were these elements part of the movie from the beginning?
TC: Yes. Francis offered everybody a change to go on and do Rumble Fish the same week I was offered Risky Business . I thought Paul Brickman was a very bright man with great taste. He knew exactly what the movie was going to be.
CC: What was your audition like?
TC: I was doing The Outsiders in Tulsa, and I had to come back to Los Angeles for a day for some reason. Originally, Paul had seen Taps and said, “This guy for Joel? This guy is a killer! Let him do Amityville III !” Somehow, my agent, without me knowing, arranged to have me just drop by the office to say hello. So I went in wearing a jean jacket, my tooth was chipped, my hair was greasy. I was pumped up and talking in an Oklahoma accent, “Hey, how y’all doing?” Paul just sat there, looking at me. He said, “Let’s just read a little bit.” I’m not a very good cold reader. What I do is start with a line and go off and ad-lib and kind of find my way down the script. I started reading the thing, and they were ready to say, “Okay, thank you.” I didn’t know. I cut them off and said, “let me try it this way.” I started from the top again and I did it another way and we ended up reading through half the script. It was fun, we were all laughing.
Then I came back later and tested for it at six in the morning. I was shooting nights and so I flew in late, got in at 1:00 A.M. and I had to leave at 10:00 P.M. to shoot the rumble scene in The Outsiders that night. Here I was again. My hair was greasy and I was heavy, but now I was wearing this preppy maroon Adidas shirt. My arms were huge. I walk in and see this stunningly gorgeous woman sitting there looking at me and I’m thinking. “Oh my God.” Rebecca [De Mornay] had already been cast. They wanted to see the two of us together. I tested, and to make a short story long, we didn’t test that well. Paul just believed in me. I told him exactly what I was going to do. We talked about it for a long time and he trusted me.
CC: A lot of people have ideas about what the movie is about. What’s your theory?
TC: It’s about today’s capitalistic society. Do the means justify the ends? Do you want to help people, or do you just want to make money? Joel is questioning all of that. So am I. Today the thinking of young people is so linear and non-creative. It’s all about money. Unfortunately, we need something like Vietnam to force people to deal with political issues. I’m not saying I’m some erudite political figure – but it bothers me. At least I’m asking the question. The movie is Joel’s exploration of society, how he gets sucked into this wild capitalistic ride.
CC: Supposedly there was a major battle over the ending.
TC: Yes. We had to change the ending to make it more upbeat and commercial. Geffen Films felt it was too…basically they felt it was a bummer, okay? [ laughs ] At one point, Paul said he wouldn’t direct the new ending. They were going to hire another director to direct it. Paul really fought it. We all did. We all loved the piece so much. I didn’t want to sell Joel out. In the end, I think we got across the same point, though. Joel knows in his heart that this women is more important than money. That’s what I wanted to get across. A lot of people, when I discuss the ending of the film with them, say Joel didn’t sell out – some say he did. It’s a subtle film and you walk out with what you want to walk out with. It has so many different levels.
CC: What was the original ending?
TC: It was this great, emotional scene in the restaurant. Instead of the scene outside where Rebecca says, “Do you want to come over?”, she sits on my lap in the restaurant and it just ends on the sunset background coming up and me stroking her hair with her head on my shoulder. It cuts back and forth and then I say, “Isn’t life grand?” It was really nice. They felt it was too sardonic. So we made it more specific and upbeat.
CC: Whose idea was it to do the dance in your underwear?
TC: Brickman’s idea. What he did was he set up the frame of the shot. He showed it to me and said, “Let’s really play it and use the whole house.” We had talked earlier and he said, “Look, I want Bob Seger’s ‘Old Time Rock & Roll’ or maybe some Elvis, but if you can come up with something else, great.” I went through tape after tape. In the end, nothing beat Bob Seger. So I took the candlestick, and I said, “How about making this the audience?” And then I just started ad-libbing, using it as a guitar, jumping on the table. I waxed half the floor and kept the other half dirty, so I could slide in on my socks. As we went along, I threw more stuff in. Like the thing with the collar up, jumping on the bed. Originally, it was only one line in the script: “Joel dances in underwear through the house.” We shot it in half a day.
CC: Have you ever been close to marriage?
CC: How private do you feel about your girlfriends?
TC: I don’t hide from cameras or anything. It doesn’t bother me. I don’t seek our press for the women I’m dating, but if it finds me, it finds me.
CC: You were close to Rebecca De Mornay for several years. How hard is it for you to balance your career with your relationships?
TC: It’s not easy. I spend a lot of time alone. I mean a lot of time alone. But I’ve spent time alone my whole life and it doesn’t bother me. I feel lonely at times, but I don’t want to get into a relationship with someone if it is not right. I’m not the type of person who just does things to do them. It takes time to get to know people.
CC: With the success of Risky Business, how quickly did you start to feel the room tip toward you when you entered it?
TC: I’m really very private, in my own world. Suddenly I was someone walking on the street and people were looking at me and I was thinking, “Jesus, is something hanging out of my nose?” It took time to get adjusted to it. It was such a perfect time to do Legend in England. Everyone is looking at you and somehow just moving your hand seems so much more exaggerated.
CC: Why was Legend delayed so much?
TC: That’s been overblown, first of all. The press kind of took that and blew it out of proportion. It’s a movie-movie. There was a lot of post-production. Ridley [Scott] made a fairy tale, a breakthrough visual film. I think the studio thought the whole piece was a little too romantic. So instead of just releasing it, Ridley said, “Okay, let’s go back and rescore it and give it a little harder edge.” Now it’s ready to go.
Legend was an interesting thing. I don’t know how Harrison Ford has done so many of those types of films. I mean, I did All The Right Moves , and I thought, “Okay, I’ve done the two extremes of high school life. I’ve done that.” In Legend , I’m this magical character, Jack O’ The Green. The sets were huge. Sometimes we would be working on a scene that might last 30 seconds in the film, but it took a week to shoot it. It’s stunning and gorgeous and poetic and most of the time I would be looking at a piece of black tape and having to imagine all of it. It was exciting, but it made me hungry to do a piece like Top Gun .
CC: How did you feel when Reagan forced down the Egyptian jets with American F-14s? Like this was Top Gun territory?
TC: I felt like I had some insight into it. Because trying to get the jets for the movie, we had to go to Washington and sit down with the secretary of the navy and all the naval officials. I mean everybody. I hung out with the fighter pilots for nine months. I love flying in the F-14. I’m not big on weapons of war, but I enjoyed flying. Those pilots go up there and risk their lives every time. Duke Cunningham is a naval ace; he helped me a lot and he gave me his gold wings to wear in the film. All these guys talked to me. They’re very emotional about it. When you fly in the F14, it’s one of those experiences that is bigger than life itself. It blows your shit away. These guys do it every day and you know why they want it. Flying is so intense and emotional. But ever since I got involved in Top Gun , I didn’t want to make a warmonger movie. I wanted to get into the personality of these guys, what makes them fly. What makes my character, Maverick, want to fly? I wanted to give him a sensitivity. And I think in the dogfights, before he goes up, you see he’s nervous. I mean, you’re not a fighter pilot just because you want combat. It’s the flying, the F-14.
CC: There’s a graphic plane crash in the movie. How do you research your performance for a plane crash?
TC: What I did was I looked through tapes and talked to pilots who had been in crashes. I actually saw a six-minute tape of one. They filmed some air combat maneuvers at Top Gun school. A helicopter was out there filming these jets when all of a sudden one of the engines went out. You can hear the pilots’ voices. The cameras have him right in frame. They start following the jet down, and the thing is that because of the gravity, the blood is rushing to your brain. What can happen in that situation is that there is so much pressure that some pilots just die. The blood explodes through them – they can’t handle the G’s. They have to reach back to rip the ejection, and they’re pinned so heavily that they can’t reach. And you hear them trying to talk, and your heart is in your throat watching this. It’s just bits and pieces…of…them…trying…to…talk, and you feel their training, trying to keep that control and knowing that, my God, this is it.
CC: Did they die?
TC: No, thank God they didn’t. At the last second the plane hit an air pocket 500 feet off the ground, which gave them just enough to rip up and punch themselves out. They both lived. And the plane went down. You can see it all.
CC: Have you ever used your celebrity to get something that you really wanted?
I guess meeting Dustin Hoffman was the closest to that. Usually I would never do anything like that. But I was in this Cuban restaurant up on Columbia Avenue with my little sister. All of a sudden she got up to go the bathroom and when she sat down, she had this big smile of her face. She pointed and said, “That’s Dustin Hoffman over there.” He was doing Death of a Salesman , and I had just gotten back from finishing Legend in London. I knew that this was his last weekend and it was impossible to get tickets. I feel really shy about going up to people and saying hello, telling them I appreciate their work, but I went up and said, “Hey, Mr. Hoffman,” and he turned around and said, “Cruise?” He was so cool. He said, “Look, we’re having the last performance coming up, why don’t you and your sister come by into my dressing room and watch me get made up for it?” He made sure that we had seats and everything. Afterward, we went to dinner with his family and his cousin. That’s the stuff that makes you feel good. As I was doing Top Gun , I was thinking I’d really like to work with an established older actor whom I can learn from – and an established director. Then Marty [Scorsese] called me and said he wanted me to read the script for The Color of Money . He wanted to know what I thought of it. And I was thinking, “He wants to know what I think of it. What does that mean?” [ laughs ] I read it and thought, “There’s a role in here for me. Holy shit. This thing is great.” I told Marty how much I enjoyed the script and he asked me if I wanted to do it. I said, “I’d love to!” So that’s what I’ve been doing, that and playing a lot of pool. I’ve improved 200 percent in the last few weeks.
CC: What is the relationship between your character and Paul Newman’s in The Color of Money?
TC: Newman’s character, Fast Eddie, is a corrupt hustler – any means justify the end. My character, Vincent, is a pure pool player. If he could just have pool, sex with his girlfriend, a Bud in his hand and his job at the toy store – what the hell, he’s set. Newman sees this raw talent and thinks, “Man, I’m going to make a lot of money off this kid.” He tries to turn Vincent into a hustler. They each act as a catalyst for the other. Eddie sees what he is missing. When you start messing with your mind it is hard to know where the purity is. You lose your perfect shot, you lose your finesse. If you are a liar, then you are going to think everyone in that room is a liar. You are not going to be able to look at someone and say, “I trust you.” I believe that. Eddie gives Vincent a cue and that is the bond between them. There’s a great scene where Eddie says, “You don’t deserve this cue,” and I say, “No, you don’t deserve this cue. I’m a fucking pool player.” The inference being that Eddie is just a hustler. The Fast Eddie character is great. Scorsese is an actor’s director…details, details, details.
CC: What was your first meeting with Paul Newman like?
TC: I met him a long time ago, at his office in New York. He was always cool to me. He had just seen Taps . I walked into the room and he said, “Hey, Killer.” I said, “Listen, man, five more minutes and I would have taken that school over.” He just calls me Cruise now.
CC: What’s the best way to evaluate your film performance? Some people hide in the bathroom and listen to what people say after the movie.
TC: I’ve never done that. I go to rushes every night, not just to see my performance, but to see what the director’s done in terms of choosing his shots and lighting. I enjoy seeing the overall process. At times I look to see if I’m doing what I set out to do. I’m always finding out new things about what’s going on with the character.
Making a movie is like a chess game. It’s about constantly changing patterns, adapting new things. It’s not just black and white, as you know. Every day something happens and you think, “That’s terrific, let’s shift with this.” But I don’t have any specific method when a film comes out.
CC: Where is this all heading for you? Ultimately, are you looking for a Warren Beatty-type of situation where you can produce, direct and star?
TC: I’m looking for overall growth. I need a lot of things happening in my life. I would love to direct, though I’m definitely not ready now. But I enjoy working with writers and their scripts. It’s very exciting to me. Eventually I would like to produce, direct and act onstage, but it’s not a heavy pressure. When I do it, I want to do it well. I’m just educating myself with writers and scripts, because I didn’t read a lot of books when I was growing up…I’m dyslexic, although I’m not an extreme dyslexic like my little sister was. It was just a chore. My energy was always all over the place. Reading was not at the top of my list, because it took me so long. When I wrote a paper, my mother would help me with it. I would take a test and get very nervous. I would skip questions and skip lines. I’ve gotten better. I’ve learned to control my eyes. I used to have to use my finger all the time. I just wasn’t relaxed about it.
CC: How seriously do you take yourself?
TC: Let’s face it, I’m not saving lives here. I feel fortunate, but this is just one aspect of my life. I love my work, but my family is very important to me, too. You pick up the paper and see that there are many things happening outside my little world.
CC: Will you be starring in Bright Lights, Big City?
TC: Quite honestly, I haven’t read a script for it. I keep asking for the script, and before I got deeply involved in Top Gun I came here and met Jay [McInerney]. We sat down and talked, went to some clubs. I loved the book. Jay did a terrific job with it. It’s such an interior piece. I think it’s very daring. It’s not an easy piece to translate into a screenplay, you know. It needs a kind of Risky Business perspective. Joel was a very internal character, too. “The dream is always the same,” he said. I mean, you really got to know him through seeing him dance in his underwear, alone. Bright Lights, Big City , I think, has got to be very stylish and handled just right. But I would like to do the movie if I like the screenplay. I’m not going to be available until next fall.
CC: What is it that you bring to a performance? What do you think your specialty is?
TC: I’m a good listener. I think it’s the one characteristic that’s most important. I’ve always been that way. Not that I take all the advice, but you’ve got to listen to it and have the courage to make your own decision. Then I just go for it. The important thing is to be relaxed in your work. Same in life. Don’t make everything too intense. Then you can let everything go and not “act.”
CC: Are good looks a curse, or is that just a myth propagated by good-looking people?
TC: I don’t know. [ laughs ] I think I have the ability to look different ways. I look good just as much as I look bad. I mean, I don’t look like Paul Newman or Beatty.
CC: Who is your best friend?
TC: Let’s see, my best friend outside my family is probably Emilio Estevez. Penn’s a good buddy too, but since he’s been with Madonna I haven’t seen him as much. Estevez…we hang out a lot. He’s a very down-to-earth, unassuming guy. A good friend to have.
CC: Your own work has always been well received. How would you respond to the one criticism that you still haven’t played a grown man yet?
TC: Still becoming a man! God forbid if I do everything I want to do before I’m 26. When I get to Newman’s age, I’m looking to still be playing the great characters he plays. I hope the public and everyone realize that I’m still growing. I’m still feeling my oats here. I’m working toward the long range of what I can be as an artist. And I work my ass off trying. Because I know what I want to be.
Courtesy of Interview Magazine – Cameron Crowe – May, 1986
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A young man must stop the Lord of Darkness from destroying daylight and marrying the woman he loves. A young man must stop the Lord of Darkness from destroying daylight and marrying the woman he loves. A young man must stop the Lord of Darkness from destroying daylight and marrying the woman he loves.
- Ridley Scott
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- Trivia Tom Cruise reportedly wasn't happy with the American cut of this movie and wouldn't talk about it for years because of it. He very much encouraged fans to go with the Director's Cut.
- Goofs Throughout the movie, the Unicorns have mismatched genders. It can clearly be seen when the animals rear up in the air. One example of this is when Brown Tom is guarding the "mare", and Lily trudges through the snow, frightening the horse.
Darkness : The dreams of youth are the regrets of maturity.
- Alternate versions There are at least four different versions of this picture: the original European release (94 min.), the American theatrical release (89 min.), a network TV version (94 min.) and a director's cut (113 min.)
- Connections Edited into Nostalgia Critic: Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties (2017)
- Soundtracks Is Your Love Strong Enough Written and Performed by Bryan Ferry Produced by Rhett Davies and Bryan Ferry Mixed by Bob Clearmountain
User reviews 364
- Apr 13, 2007
- What is Legend about?
- What are the differences between the Theatrical Version and the Director's Cut?
- April 18, 1986 (United States)
- United States
- United Kingdom
- Silver Springs - 5656 E. Silver Springs Boulevard, Ocala, Florida, USA (underwater sequences)
- Legend Production Company
- Embassy International Pictures
- See more company credits at IMDbPro
- $24,500,000 (estimated)
- Apr 20, 1986
- Runtime 1 hour 34 minutes
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Geek Culture | Movies, TV, Comic Books & Video Games
Blu-ray Review – Legend (1985)
September 28, 2021 by admin
Legend , 1985.
Directed by Ridley Scott. Starring Tom Cruise, Mia Sara, Tim Curry, David Bennent, Alice Playten, Billy Barty, and Cork Hubbert.
Fans of Ridley Scott’s Legend will want to get their hands on Arrow Video’s handsome new Blu-ray release as soon as they can. In addition to including the U.S. theatrical and director’s cuts, along with new bonus content added to the extras that were ported over, Arrow threw in a nice square-bound book, a poster, and some image cards. Highly recommended.
Ridley Scott’s Legend is one of those films, like so many in the science-fiction and fantasy genres during the 1980s, that underperformed at the box office but later found an audience on home video. Starring Tom Cruise as Jack O’ the Green and Mia Sara as Princess Lili, Legend is Scott’s vision of a traditional fairy tale: Jack must stop the Lord of Darkness from killing two unicorns that live in the forest near his castle and plunging the world into a frigid eternal darkness.
The story opens with an almost Disney-esque feel, as Jack and Lili frolic in the woods and Lili sings to the creatures around them, including the unicorns. However, the film takes a dark turn as Darkness obtains one unicorn horn and strives to get his hands on the other one, kidnapping Lili in the process. Jack sets out to free her with help from some local elves, making his way through a deadly swamp and then entering Darkness’s forbidding castle.
In the 36 years since its release, Legend has become a cult favorite, not just among Ridley Scott fans but also with those who also love Labyrinth , The Dark Crystal , Willow , and other 80s fantasy movies. When I look at the director’s filmography, I’ve always found Legend to be a bit of an oddball entry, given his penchant for more uniformly dark material like Blade Runner and Alien , but it’s still a solid movie that holds up decades later.
Given the film’s cult status, Arrow Video has brought it to us in a new two-disc Blu-ray edition that also includes physical content, which is a nice touch. Arrow and Criterion are the only companies these days adding physical materials to their releases on a consistent basis, and it’s much appreciated by those of us who like to stock our literal shelves with movies, not just our digital ones. (Unfortunately, neither company has the licensing for digital codes, like the major studios do these days.)
The physical goodies include a square-bound book, a poster, and some image cards. The book features a mix of current and archival essays that give a nice overview of thoughts about the film today and when it was released. There’s also an interview with Charles de Lauzirika, who supervised the creation of the Director’s Cut of the film for its initial 2002 release on DVD.
The Director’s Cut of the movie is included here, but it’s the version that was approved by Ridley Scott for the 2011 Blu-ray release of the movie. The booklet also includes text introductions for the Director’s Cut and the U.S. theatrical version (included here too) that were written by the director in 2011. The theatrical version was restored by Arrow for this release – both versions of the film looked beautiful on my setup, complete with an adequate amount of grain, so I imagine fans of the film will be very happy with this edition.
Moving on to the new bonus material, the big one is a commentary track for the U.S. theatrical version by author Paul M. Sammon, who has written, among other books, Ridley Scott: The Making of His Movies . If you’ve heard any of his commentary tracks on other films, you know that he comes prepared to talk about all of a movie’s nooks and crannies, digging deep into everything from making-of information to its place in history.
Each version of the film occupies its own disc, with a batch of extras, and the U.S. theatrical version platter has a new 30-minute documentary called Remembering a Legend , which has interviews with grip David Cadwallader, production supervisor Hugh Harlow, costume designer Charles Knode, actress Annabelle Lanyon (Oona), camera operator Peter MacDonald, set decorator Ann Mollo, and draftsman John Ralph. Those are job titles you don’t normally see in bonus features, so it’s nice to hear from people who put in long hours on movies and aren’t usually asked to sit down in front of a camera to share their experiences. I hope more home video releases take that approach with some of their bonus content.
Arrow also commissioned a new 20-minute visual essay, Incarnations of a Legend , that’s narrated by critic Travis Crawford. It’s a good primer on the different versions of the movie, which actually also include a European cut that was slightly different from the U.S. one and isn’t included here.
The rest of the extras on the U.S. theatrical version disc were ported over from past releases and include:
- The Music of Legend (28 minutes): A two-part featurette that looks at the movie’s competing scores by Jerry Goldsmith (the Director’s Cut) and Tangerine Dream (the U.S. theatrical version), which is probably the most well-known example of a film that has two very different scores to choose from.
- The Creatures of Legend (27 minutes): Another two-parter that looks at the movie’s make-up effects, which predated the CGI era and thus had to be done physically.
- The Directors: Ridley Scott (58 minutes): A 2003 documentary that focused on the director’s career up to then, with comments from Harrison Ford, Andy Garcia, Brad Pitt, Scott himself, and others.
When Legend aired on TV, a voice-over narration was added to the theatrical cut that reads the opening scroll, and that’s included here as a bonus feature too, along with Bryan Ferry’s “Is Your Love Strong Enough?” music video. Remember when MTV was primarily a music video station? Good times.
Moving on to the Director’s Cut disc, nothing new was created for it among its bonus content. The main extra is a commentary track by Scott, who clearly came prepared to discuss the making of the film as it unspools before him. Great stuff. The other extras on this platter include:
- Creating a Myth: Memories of Legend (51 minutes): This is a comprehensive making-of documentary that charts the movie from Ridley Scott’s earliest ideas to its underwhelming release and its later resurgence on home video.
- Archival featurette (9.75 minutes): This is one of those old school featurettes that film studios created way back when to pitch their movies to theater chains and the media. Arrow sourced this from a VHS copy, complete with all the flaws inherent in such a process, but it’s worth watching to step into the Wayback Machine and pretend it’s 1985 again.
Two lost scenes, alternate versions of footage, the first draft of the screenplay and the shooting script (available as text on the screen), trailers and TV spots, and image galleries round out the platter.
Overall, this is a must-have for fans of the film. There’s been some chatter online about the lack of a 4K release for this one, but Arrow has explained that there are technical and bureaucratic reasons why it’s not possible to issue Legend on 4K right now.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★★★ / Movie: ★★★
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The Great Read
My Impossible Mission to Find Tom Cruise
The action star has gone to great lengths to avoid the press for more than a decade. But maybe our writer could track him down anyway?
Credit... Illustration by Kelsey Dake
- Share full article Share free access
By Caity Weaver
- Published July 17, 2023 Updated July 31, 2023
In an interview with Playboy in 2012, Tom Cruise described Katie Holmes as “an extraordinary person” with a “wonderful” clothing line, and someone for whom he was fond of “doing things like creating romantic dinners” — behavior that, he confided, “she enjoys.” It would prove to be his last major interview with a reporter to date. Despite what may be recalled through the penumbra of memory, this sudden silence was not directly preceded by either of Cruise’s infamous appearances on television: not by his NBC’s “Today” show interview (in which he labeled host Matt Lauer both “glib” and “Matt — MattMattMattMatt”), nor even by his appearance on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” (in which he reverse-catapulted himself onto Winfrey’s fawn-colored couch multiple times in a demonstration of his enthusiasm for Holmes). Those incidents occurred seven years earlier, in 2005; Cruise emerged from the hex of public bewilderment unscathed. In fact, Cruise gave no indication that the interview, pegged to the musical-comedy bomb “Rock of Ages,” was intended to serve as a farewell address to journalists. At the time he sat for it, another life milestone was hurtling toward him: The month after the article was published, Holmes filed for divorce.
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In the decade since, the amount of verified information we have gleaned about Cruise’s real life could fit on a single flashcard, though it’s unclear why anyone would need to memorize it, since the details mainly consist of anecdotal trifles shared by other celebrities in interviews of their own: From James Corden, we know Cruise once asked to land a helicopter in James Corden’s yard . From Brooke Shields, we know Brooke Shields no longer receives the (by all accounts delectable) white chocolate coconut Bundt cake that Cruise famously sends to many beloved stars each holiday season. From Kyra Sedgwick, we know that there was a panic button under a fireplace mantle in one of Cruise’s homes . (She pressed it out of curiosity, summoning the police.) From Matt Damon, we know that during production of the fourth “Mission: Impossible” movie, Cruise had “a safety guy” replaced because he deemed a proposed stunt (in which Cruise scampers over the Burj Khalifa) “too dangerous.” Tom Cruise, Kate Hudson informs us, loves skydiving.
These facts sketch a portrait of a daredevil with a finite budget for cakes, but hardly a recluse. Cruise’s spurning of interviews makes him unique among his cohort — A-list, pathologically charismatic, wrest-butts-into-seats-type movie stars — whose success, it has long been assumed, derives from their ability to appear likable to mortals. They demonstrate this skill, traditionally, by exhibiting their personality in interviews. Every time Cruise turns down an interview request (through his representative, Cruise declined to be interviewed for this article), he makes a bet that just his being Tom Cruise, offering no further details about what that might entail, is enticement enough for people to watch his movies. Lately, more often than not, he has been right.
To see this clearly, perhaps it’s helpful to contrast Cruise’s career with that of Brad Pitt, his co-star in “Interview With the Vampire” (1994) and fellow member of a declining species: Hollywood leading men. Pitt has continued appearing in the kind of films (thrillers, comedies, romances, psychodramas, historical epics, etc.) that he and Cruise starred in throughout the 1990s and 2000s. In the past decade, audiences could find Pitt endeavoring to disappear into roles ranging from abolitionist to astronaut. In the same period, Cruise has starred solely in action films, which have depicted him fighting aliens, terrorists, fellow spies, a mummy and sundry other enemies of the United States. Rather than vanishing into roles, Cruise remakes them in his image. So fully has he melded his offscreen persona with that of the skydiving, cliff-jumping, motorcycle-parachuting pilots he portrays, these characters become mere receptacles of Tom Cruiseness. Cruise’s films tend to perform better than Pitt’s at the box office; his most recent endeavor, “Top Gun: Maverick,” outearned Pitt’s latest by about $1.4 billion. This summer, Tom Cruise will run, drive and jump at top speeds in “Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One,” and Brad Pitt will star in nothing.
Cruise still takes part in promotional junkets and convivial late-night-talk-show chats, but his refusal to participate in the sort of in-depth journalistic interviews that (in theory, anyway) reveal some aspect of his true self has coincided, somewhat paradoxically, with an incredible surge in his commitment to infusing cinematic fantasies with reality. For unknown reasons it could be interesting to explore in an interview, reality has become very important to Cruise, who reveres it as a force more powerful than magic. It is vital to Cruise that the audience of “Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One” have the opportunity to witness not a C.G.I. production of a feat, or even a seasoned stunt performer executing a dangerous act, but real footage of him, Tom Cruise, the 61-year-old father of three from Syracuse, N.Y., riding a motorcycle off a cliff.
This fetish for reality has become a keystone of Cruise’s persona, to the extent that many of his public appearances now take place in flying vehicles. Rather than accept an MTV Movie & TV Award in person in May, Cruise filmed his acceptance speech from the cockpit of a fighter aircraft as he piloted it through clouds, politely shouting, “I love entertaining you!” over the engine’s roar. Delivering “a special message from the set of @MissionImpossible” to his followers on Instagram, Cruise screamed while dangling backward off the side of an aircraft, “It truly is the honor of a lifetime!”
But reality does not exist only in movies. What is missing from Cruise’s fervid documentation of ultrarisky, inconceivably expensive, meticulously planned real-life events are any details about the parts of his real life that do not involve, for example, filming stunts for “Mission: Impossible” movies. My own mission, then, was simple: I was to travel to the ends of the Earth to see if it was possible to locate the terrestrial Cruise, out of context — to catch a glimpse, to politely shout one question at him, or at least to ascertain one new piece of intelligence about his current existence — in order to reintegrate him into our shared reality.
Having lately made an effort to scrutinize any article that cast Tom Cruise as its subject, one of the few things that I can say for certain he has done since 2021, besides film two “Mission: Impossible” movies, is order chicken tikka masala from a restaurant in Birmingham, England, and then “as soon as he had finished” (per a tweet from the restaurant ) order the exact same chicken tikka masala “all over again.”
These days, Tom Cruise is hardly ever photographed in any situation other than shooting and promoting his films. (He was filming in Birmingham.) The paucity of paparazzi photos of the apparently chicken-loving actor can be at least partly attributed to his spending much time removed from America’s twin celebrity-entertainment control rooms: New York (where his ex-wife, Holmes, lives with their daughter) and Los Angeles (where, in 2015 and 2016, he reportedly sold multiple homes for a combined total just over $50 million). Years of speculation that Cruise lives or was planning to live in a penthouse apartment a five-minute walk from the “spiritual headquarters” of the Church of Scientology, of which he is a big fan, in Clearwater, Fla., appear never to have been realized, apart from an unsourced assertion published in The Hollywood Reporter in 2018, which mentioned that the audition process for co-stars in Cruise’s “Top Gun: Maverick” “involved flying down to Cruise’s home in Clearwater. ”
To learn more about the possible activities of Tom Cruise, I turned to the person who, after Cruise himself, his family, his friends, his employees, his co-workers and anyone who has ever met — or, at least, interacted with — him, knows him best: a Brazilian woman who is quite possibly his most dedicated fan in the world. She spoke to me on two conditions: first, that I grant her anonymity; second, that I not identify by name, or characterize too specifically, the publicly available online repository of Cruise-related information she has maintained for over 20 years. Her concerns are both practical and legal: Practically, she isn’t sure if the operation, which may or may not play host to more than 132,000 images of Cruise, could withstand a large influx of traffic; legally, she did not wish to invite the scrutiny and possible copyright claims the attention might draw.
She started the operation when she was 18. Today she is in her early 40s and works as a librarian. More than two decades into the endeavor, a nostalgic melancholy permeates the fan’s reflections. Ten years ago, she said, she was often the first to widely disseminate the latest images of Cruise. Now, because of the superabundance of photo-sharing social media accounts, she must settle for merely having the most complete repository. New additions trickle in sporadically. She’s partial to the theory that paparazzi rarely capture photographs of Cruise in part because he is a real-life “master of disguise,” whom people fail to recognize on the street. Despite years of remote observation, of scrutinizing nearly every single image captured of the man, even she could not say definitively where Cruise lives. She did observe, however, that he appears to spend “most of the time” in Britain.
In fact, there is a strange rumor that Cruise bought a home in a tiny town called Biggin Hill, on the farthest fringes of London — the site of a small private airport that he has been known to use when filming in the region. The legend appears to trace back to an article published in the British tabloid The Sun in July 2021 about the actor’s 59th-birthday celebration. An anonymous source declared that Cruise had “only recently moved to” a house in Biggin Hill (average home price: £590,000), “which feels like it’s practically in the countryside.” The claim would accrue scant new details as it was repeated in British papers numerous times over the following year, apart from one: that Cruise’s residence “is set in 140 acres of stunning rural parkland,” inside a posh gated community near the airport.
Cruise, who has filmed parts of the three most recent installments of “Mission: Impossible” in Britain, has never publicly commented on the rumors. He did, however, confirm that he spends “a lot of time in Britain” in an exceedingly rare interview that appeared, inexplicably, in the September 2022 issue of Derbyshire Life magazine. “I guess I am an Anglophile,” Cruise told Derbyshire Life. “I love being in Britain because everyone is pleasant and will give you a nod or say hello without crowding you too much.” Elsewhere in the interview, Cruise expressed additional enthusiasm for auxiliary British topics, including politeness (“Being friendly doesn’t cost a bean, and I enjoy it”) and Derbyshire, which is, for the record, actually a considerable distance from Biggin Hill (“Wow! Derbyshire — what a fantastic place!”).
To determine if anyone who did not work in the British newspaper or chicken-tikka-masala industries had ever encountered Cruise on English soil, I sifted through Facebook posts, typing any permutation of “saw Tom Cruise” I could think of into the search bars of neighborhood groups for all of the Hobbit-ily named localities surrounding Biggin Hill (“Orpington”; “West Wickham”). I joined groups like “Westerham and Biggin Hill News friends Community fun views gossip” and pored over hundreds of responses to posts like “Think I just saw Tom Cruise driving down jail lane that’s impossible.” The flashes of Cruise that winked from the replies were tantalizing — “I’ve seen him blue Ferrari…jail lane…”; “Lives up Cudham drives blue Ferrari” — but there was no way to tell who was reporting accurate details about the comings and goings of Tom Cruise, who was mistaken and who was merely lying for fun. The only way to find out was to do what Cruise himself would do: grab onto the nearest plane and go, for real.
Next to the Biggin Hill Airport, there is a pocket-size hotel built to serve the crews and engineers of the private planes that fly in and out. The hotel, its website boasts, offers “great views towards London” — something just about any place on Earth could offer with the right window arrangement, assuming it was not already in London. The description of the property’s sleek teal-and-toffee-colored restaurant turned out to be even more specifically accurate: The view of the runway at Biggin Hill Airport was without parallel. At the bar, I pulled up a leather stool and ordered (not in these exact words) the worst Shirley Temple of my life, which cost $11. My fellow patrons had long since familiarized themselves with the contours of the small dinner menu; they had been stranded at Biggin Hill for some time, because the private jet of the billionaire for whom they were working had received — you hate to hear this — an estimated $10 million worth of hail damage. I asked a maintenance technician if he thought Tom Cruise really did have a house in Biggin Hill. He replied with unflinching confidence: “I know he does.”
In the same venue, a man so young he might have been a teenager, who at one time worked inside the airport, revealed to me that Cruise had a parking spot there, though it was unclear if he meant for a car or a helicopter. Most of the good people of Biggin Hill, when grilled about Cruise’s living arrangements, seemed genuinely to have no idea what I was talking about. These were the two camps into which, without fail, every respondent fell: Either they had never so much as heard the rumor that Cruise walked among them, or they were 100 percent certain that he did.
Upon reaching Keston Park, the only gated community in the area matching The Sun’s description, I discovered two things: first, that there appeared to be an illegally locked gate obstructing public access to the footpath that cuts through the neighborhood — whether the gate is impenetrable is a matter of ongoing dispute among the Bromley borough council, myself and many other aspiring path-takers who have submitted complaints about the locked gate to the borough website — and, second, that the biggest movie star in the world did not live there. That was evident through holes that carpenter bees had bored into the barbed-wire-topped fences protecting Keston Park from the wider world. The stately houses faced one another too directly. Their trees could drop acorns into another’s gardens. There was nowhere to conveniently land a helicopter.
Oh, well. These were Keston Park’s problems — not mine and probably not Tom Cruise’s. Tom Cruise, as he and I both now knew, was most likely secretly living at another estate I had turned up in my research — one that was even closer to the airport.
The distance between any two points within the general environs of Biggin Hill is insignificant by car, which is probably why I was unable to persuade any taxi driver to transport me between them. It is less insignificant by foot, and even longer, though much more scenic, if one attempts to traverse it by way of the aforementioned footpaths. These meandering trails tended to be spectacularly beautiful, bursting with a vernal lushness that was nearly pornographic. House-high frozen fountains of eensy white hawthorn blossoms shaded dusty walkways. Wild roses as pink as Country Time lemonade exploded from leafy hedges. Fragile sapphire speedwells, fat purple clover tops and buttercups strewn like gold confetti — these were merely the things it was impossible not to step on. The fluorescent green of the meadows recalled the grasses of another royal province — Super Mario’s Mushroom Kingdom. Poppies and toadflax sprang out obscenely from stone walls. Tom Cruise would be crazy not to live here , I thought as I stroked the soft, sun-warmed mane of a little white donkey. Let’s all live here .
Except, upon my arrival at the end of an idyllic woodland stroll, I discovered that Cruise did not live there either. There was, in the front yard of this residence, a garden gnome lugging buckets on a yoke, which didn’t seem like Cruise’s style, and the gnome was overturned, lying on its side — definitely not his style. I righted the gnome and ambled on, in search of another public footpath that would, I hoped, lead me to where Cruise actually lived. Instead, I accidentally wandered into what (I learned through being yelled this information) was not a public right of way but a field privately owned by a woman who berated me until I ran into traffic on a nearby road.
That night, with half my allotted exploratory mission time used up, I lay awake in the hotel built for the flight attendants of billionaires’ jets, miserable and panicked at my failure to do anything but incur thousands of dollars in expenses for airfare and one Shirley Temple. Surely this wasn’t all for naught; surely some meaning could possibly be derived from an interaction between a movie star and a magazine journalist — even a brief one, even one in which the movie star had already said (through his publicist) he did not wish to participate, even one in which the star was not present, since some understanding of some dimension of his life could doubtless be gleaned through a study of his surroundings. But what if Cruise has been so successful in removing himself from our world that I would never find any trace of him? What if Cruise had evanesced into a high-octane mist of pure entertainment? Did I have time to just go to every single house in England and check if Cruise was home? How big was this nation? Why was the sun rising now, in the middle of the night? What time was it?! Had I accidentally not gone to sleep all night?
I had one more idea.
On my first day in town, I had stopped at a pub for lunch. I was told that there was a funeral going on and that there was an hour wait for food, but that if I ordered something simple like a sandwich, the wait would be less, so I ordered a sandwich, which actually took 90 minutes to arrive and was so, no offense, disgusting-tasting that I turned around and asked a middle-aged man sitting at the picnic table behind mine if he would like half a sandwich (no) and if it always took so long to receive a sandwich at this pub (unclear) and if it was true that Tom Cruise really lived nearby. “He’s here,” the man said to me.
“Do you know?” I asked. “Or are you guessing?”
“He’s definitely around here, that’s for sure,” he said. “I know where he is.”
At first, with the cagey pride of one who knows the favored hovering spot of an actual ghost, who acts as self-appointed doorman of the thin place between worlds, the man made a show of not telling me where. But then, on his way out, he materialized at my elbow and proffered three “clues” (his word).
“It’s within two miles of the airport,” he said. “Look for the biggest house. And I mean — ” his voice dropped to a whisper, “ — the biggest .”
“It’s a very famous house,” he said. “The anti-establishment of slavery started there.”
I was aware of this property from my earlier research. It was a colossal butter-colored manor once owned by a prime minister, William Pitt the Younger. I had eliminated it from contention as a possible Cruise residence because it was sold in 2018 (£8.5 million) to a used-car magnate who, at least judging by an article from 2020 that I read in Car Dealer magazine, appeared to be quite comfortably ensconced in it. But it was only a few miles away. On foot, the journey could be completed in just over an hour.
How, exactly, I ended up on the edge of that woman’s privately owned field again, I have no idea. The expedition to that point had seemed to take me through brand-new areas. All of a sudden, I noticed that the path had dissipated into dense forest. This is just like what happened yesterday, when I trespassed in that woman’s field, I thought, then looked up and spotted her house in the distance.
I panicked. I frightened a badger — likewise, babe! — and bolted through the forest as quickly as I could in a new, randomly chosen direction. This deposited me into a vast, previously unencountered field. On all previous paths, vigorously growing cow parsley had stood on slender stems, about shin high. Here, upright hordes of it grazed my shoulders, while fallen comrades entangled my ankles. Needles of true panic pricked my nape under sweaty hair. Statistically speaking, I assured myself, it was unlikely I would be trapped in this field so long that I would die there.
Although — wouldn’t it serve that woman right if I did die in this field, so close to her own, where I was not allowed? “That would teach her a lesson,” I said into the audio recorder I had brought in case I encountered Tom Cruise. Have to “find some way to notify her,” I explained. (Of my death.) Hopefully she would see my picture in a — newspaper! That would be another good thing about dying out here, I told the recorder. It would “serve” the editor who recklessly assigned me this article — who had irresponsibly approved my travel budget — “right.” It would probably ruin his life, or at least his work life. God, would he be fired? Certainly, at the very least, he would get in trouble. You should never have sent her to a small English town . Would our boss tell him not to blame himself? Hopefully not — I am dead because of him! I didn’t want to die, of course — but if it did happen, at least I would die doing what I loved: making people feel bad and be in trouble deservedly. I had yet to clearly develop a mental image of my widowed husband’s second wife when I realized that I had stumbled, midfield, upon a dirt path leading into a neighborhood. I ran down it — in, I was shocked to discover, the exact direction of the used-car dealer’s palatial estate.
The public footpath alongside the property — which, if a man drinking outside a pub at 2 p.m. is to be believed, is inhabited by Tom Cruise — looked like the aisle down which a fairy princess would glide at her wedding. Actually, no, even nicer: It was like the flower-strewn tunnel of light she would pass through following her death (from being viciously yelled at for walking in a private field BY ACCIDENT) on her journey to eternity. It wound beneath protective arches of graceful branches trailing heaps of white and pink blossoms. A gentle, constant wind rippled the flowers just enough to allow dappled sunlight to illuminate a trail through their lovely shade. So vast were the grounds, so lush the foliage, that the home itself was not visible from any vantage point. I listened for the distant throaty cry of a blue Ferrari, but heard only bird song.
The recorded owner of the estate made no response to my later attempts to contact him, to ask if, perchance, Tom Cruise (possibly in elaborate disguise) could be living in his house. Even if Cruise has no connection to the residence, this absolute lack of response serves to further obscure his existence. Not only is it impossible to determine where he lives — it isn’t even possible to determine where he does not live. The distance between Cruise and the average human remains unshrinkable. At a time when social media renders movie stars ever-present in the public field of vision — accessible to some extent through whatever scrupulously vetted personal information they share, but also broadly trackable via webs of celebrity-watching accounts that widely disseminate photos and rumors — Cruise has distinguished himself by becoming a comet. When, between protracted absences, his inscrutable orbit brings him back into Earth’s visible realm, he briefly commands the simultaneous attention of all its peoples: “Thank you to the people of Abu Dhabi,” read a June post on his Instagram account, alongside a photo of him greeting a crowd at a “Dead Reckoning Part One” premiere. (Also appreciated and acknowledged by their servant-sovereign for their attendance at other “Dead Reckoning Part One” premieres: “the people” of Rome; “everyone” in Seoul.)
At the conclusion of this promotional cycle, after Cruise has thanked everyone for allowing him to create world-class summer cinema, he will almost certainly disappear, not to be heard from again until next year, at which point his re-emergence will proclaim the arrival of “Dead Reckoning Part Two.” This vanishing, while perhaps rooted in avoidance of a press corps that asks questions he doesn’t want to answer, is massaged into something like a sacrificial duty to audiences. In disappearing the moment his work is through — always, like Santa Claus, with the promise of return — Cruise retains the mystique that so many Hollywood stars have lost this century. He goes away so that audiences may experience the thrill of his reappearance, and delight in the promise of movie magic he heralds.
Of course, it is possible that Tom Cruise does not even know that the gargantuan house in the quiet English village exists. But if we assume, perhaps foolishly, that he does live there, I did ascertain one new detail about his reality: He was in the process of having the long private driveway that weaves through the woods and stretches to the unseen manor beyond redone. It looks awesome.
Caity Weaver is a staff writer for the magazine. She last wrote about going on a package trip for youngish people.
An earlier version of this article referred imprecisely to the plane from which Tom Cruise accepted an MTV Movie & TV Award. It was a fighter aircraft, not a fighter jet.
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Tom Cruise wins 'legend' award
By Michael Rosser 2014-03-31T12:28:00+01:00
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Tom Cruise, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Hugh Jackman receive honorary awards at the Empire Awards.
The best films and filmmakers of the past year, as voted for by the public, were honoured in London last night at the 19 th Jameson Empire Awards.
Empire bestowed two special Lifetime awards on star guests Tom Cruise and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Cruise was presented with Empire’s Legend of Our Lifetime award by Rosamund Pike and highlighted his work on Top Gun, Mission Impossible, Jerry Maguire and Interview with the Vampire.
The Action Hero of Our Lifetime award was given to Schwarzenegger who was honoured for his performances in movies including True Lies , The Terminator series and Total Recall .
Two further special awards were presented by Empire to Hugh Jackman and Simon Pegg. Jackman attended the ceremony to receive the Empire Icon award while Simon Pegg collected the Empire Hero award.
Pegg’s recent film The World’s End scooped Best British Film while James McAvoy and Emma Thompson won Best Actor and Best Actress for their roles in Filth and Saving Mr Banks respectively
Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa was awarded Best Comedy while Sally Hawkins received the award for Best Supporting Actress for Blue Jasmine and Michael Fassbender won Best Supporting Actor for his role in 12 Years a Slave.
Margot Robbie collected the award for Best Female Newcomer for her performance in The Wolf of Wall Street while Aidan Turner collected Best Male Newcomer for his role in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. Peter Jackson’s epic sequel also took a second award for Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy Film.
Another film scooping multiple awards was Gravity for which director Alfonso Cuarón triumphed in the Best Director category and which received the Best Film accolade.
As previously announced, British director Paul Greengrass received the Empire Inspiration Award for his work on the Bourne trilogy and recent hit Captain Phillips .
Best Horror went to The Conjuring , and Best Thriller went to The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.
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Celine dion makes surprise appearance at the grammys amid stiff person syndrome diagnosis, what makes tom cruise’s star shine so brightly directors share their insights – cannes disruptors.
By Mike Fleming Jr
Mike Fleming Jr
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Top Gun : Maverick ’s Cannes Film Festival premiere marks another high point in the movie star career of Tom Cruise . The actor turns 60 on July 3, and unlike most leading men of that age who become quicker to call for the stunt double, Cruise shows little evidence of slowing down after 43 films. If anything, his Mission: Impossible stunts seem to grow more ambitiously dangerous, not to mention the fact that he and director Doug Liman will become the first to actually shoot a space film in space for real—aboard one of Elon Musk’s SpaceX crafts with the cooperation of NASA.
So how does Cruise continue to carve such a path?
“I’ve gotten to work with a number of actors who’ve had great success and long careers, Tom being at the top of the heap,” says Top Gun: Maverick director Joseph Kosinski. “He approaches every day with the enthusiasm that it’s his first movie, and at the same time puts the effort into it like it’s his last movie. That’s a good attitude to have; never take it for granted, give 110 percent every single day. Constantly push the crew and yourself to achieve excellence. I’m amazed by that, that he’s 40 years in and still loves what he does and isn’t slowing down at all. It seems like he’s accelerating, which is pretty amazing.”
2024 Premiere Dates For New & Returning Series On Broadcast, Cable & Streaming
Here, a group of directors, producers and actors look back on their Cruise experience and why Hollywood won’t see another global superstar quite like this one.
Top Gun & Top Gun: Maverick
“Tom was our first and only choice for Top Gun , that’s who Tony Scott liked, and Don and I really pursued him,” recalls Jerry Bruckheimer, who produced the original hit with late partner Don Simpson. “I don’t think he was a pilot back then, but he just had the charisma and we loved what we saw in his film career. You could tell he was a terrific actor and that is so much of what it is all about.”
It was to become Cruise’s signature immersion into the process of preparation. “He went down to Miramar in advance and hung out with a lot of the pilots, found out what they liked and why they did what they did. He just cares so much, and not only about his character but the whole movie. A lot of actors walk into a role and just worry about themselves and how they’re perceived. Never Tom. That was the way he was back in ’85 when we made the first one, and he showed it again this time.”
On the first film, Cruise was the only cast member who didn’t lose his lunch while filming dialogue scenes inside those roaring jets. Mindful of that unpleasant experience, he made it his mission to make sure the new crop of actors playing Top Gun pilots in the sequel fared better.
“We learned on the first one,” Bruckheimer says. “He was the only one we got good footage on; we couldn’t use the footage on the other actors because he was the only one who didn’t throw up. So, Tom designed a flying program for all the actors this time. It took months to do this. First, they went up in a single engine prop plane, just to get a feel for flying. Then, an aerobatic prop plane, and then a jet, and once they were comfortable in that jet, he put them in the F-18. Tom designed [the process] himself to acclimate the actors to the G forces they would experience.”
Kosinski previously directed Cruise in the 2013 sci-fi film Oblivion . In the Top Gun sequel, the director says Cruise put so much into mentoring the young actors on set who were in awe of him. “Tom is an actor that, if you can get him interested in your project, then you can do almost anything,” Kosinski says. “When you combine that with something beloved like Top Gun , it becomes an unstoppable force when you go to make it. We needed that on this movie because what we were doing was very intense and there were a lot of things that hadn’t been done before. Having Tom there to push through the ideas and techniques we were going to use was really helpful. Tom knew just how difficult capturing those images would be, just how physically grueling it would be for the actors.
“I remember one day on the carrier, when Tom was sitting with these young actors, most of them just starting their careers,” Kosinski adds. “Miles Teller has a lot under his belt, but the rest were new. For them, every day was like a master class, and he would make time for them every day. He would sit down and have these impromptu sessions with the actors, either to talk about the scenes we were shooting that day, the technical aspects of shooting an aerial sequence, or broader advice, like how to build a career. I remember Tom asked Glen (Powell), what kind of career do you want? Glen said, ‘I want your career, Tom.’ So, Tom said, ‘How do you think I got that?’ Glen said, ‘By choosing great roles.’ And Tom said, ‘No. That’s not how I did it. I did it by choosing great films. Then, I took the roles and made them the best I could.’ That advice blew Glen’s mind. If you look at Tom’s career, that’s exactly what he did. He chose great films and directors he admired. Regardless of the size of the role, especially on a movie like Taps . And then he created something with it, made the role his own. That’s something these younger actors hadn’t thought about and can only get from someone who spent 30 years as a movie star. I thought it was really interesting to watch.”
Cruise’s turn as the star sports agent who loses his throne after an existential crisis would mark his second Oscar nomination and one of his best-remembered performances.
Cruise shows a different side in the romantic comedy. Writer-director Cameron Crowe wrote many lines that were execution-dependent, that would be the difference between heartwarming and cringe-worthy, and Cruise embraced all of them. That includes the climactic scene, when Maguire pleads with his estranged wife (Renée Zellweger) to give him another chance, a plea delivered in a crowd of pessimistic women who’ve all had their hearts broken by cads.
“Oh, Tom couldn’t wait for that scene,” Crowe says. “I was a little nervous about some of the lines, like, ‘You complete me.’ It’s a slippery slope; if you lean wrong into a line like that, it’d probably be the first thing you cut. But he said, ‘I want to say I love you in this movie, and I want to say it with that line.’ And by the time he got to it, it was two in the morning, at the end of a long week.
“Tom surprised the women because we didn’t tell them that he would be there to do the scene with them that day. In he comes, and in the most loving way, this heavyweight was ready for the knockout. He gently crushed it. The ladies were crying. The crew members were crying. And Renée was a mess. He just took great pleasure in being able to deliver a line that he knew I was on the fence about. He’d said, ‘Just give me a shot, man. You’ll see if I got it, or if I didn’t.’ And, you know, I’m still just so proud of it.”
Crowe recalls other ways that Cruise endeared himself to those around him, from one late night when an In-N-Out Burger truck showed up, courtesy of the actor, or the way he handled the first young actor who pulled out of the precocious child part that eventually went to Jonathan Lipnicki.
“Tom stayed in touch with the mother of the kid who had asked to be replaced,” Crowe says. “Tom wrote him and called and sent him stuff. I only knew this because his mother called to say, ‘Thank you for everything Tom Cruise has done to make my son feel good about even being in the movie and working with him as much as he did.’ I went to Tom on the set and said I couldn’t believe what he’d done, spending the last few weeks making sure his spirits were high. Tom just said, ‘Well, I just don’t want that guy growing up, looking at movies and feeling disappointed about what happened. I want him to love movies.’ Wow.”
When Russell Crowe changed his plan from playing the assassin who conscripts a cab driver to drive him to a series of murders in Collateral , director Michael Mann went right to the doorstep of Cruise, even though it would be a decided departure from the actor’s résumé of hero roles.
“In Tom, I saw Lee Marvin,” Mann says. “When Tom zeroes into a certain kind of person, if they are far enough away from him so that it’s a turn-on for a man of adventure, to be on some kind of a frontier with a character he can get to know but is very different from him, I could tell that within him it becomes a real adventure. To play Vincent, this solipsistic sociopath, who has all the f*cking answers and is so methodical and good at what he does, it felt like Tom was a perfect fit. He’s a perfectionist about knowing how to do the things he is supposed to do, which is why he does his own stunts in Mission: Impossible . The sociopathy of this guy was so unique, in his cosmic indifference and outrageous statements that still crack me up when I see some of the scenes with Jamie Foxx in the taxi cab. ‘You ever hear of Rwanda? So, what do you care about one fat guy who gets thrown out the window?’ Or answering Jamie’s accusation of ‘you killed him’ with, ‘I didn’t kill him. The bullets killed him and then he fell out the window.’ The flat irony of Tom’s delivery on those lines is so perfect. It was a very different character for him, and I knew Tom would throw himself into whatever I needed to take him through to become that assassin.”
When I mention the memorable shootout scene in the nightclub and that Cruise’s proficiency with weaponry is reminiscent of the acumen shown by Keanu Reeves in the John Wick films, Mann is quick to correct the record.
“ John Wick’ s are not real techniques,” he says. “What Tom did, those are real techniques and there was a lot of training with my friend Mick Gould, who was the head of close-quarter combat training for the British SAS. The scene in the alley, there’s no cut in that scene… It came down to doing the work. There was nothing he was doing that wasn’t established close-quarter combat moves that came from months of training. That included blending in. Obviously, people know Tom, but I wanted him to feel what it would be like to blend in, to mix with people and have conversations. He went to Central Market and trained to be a FedEx delivery guy. He said to me, ‘They’re gonna know it’s me.’ I said, ‘No, they’ll see the sign that says FedEx, and you’ll wear sunglasses and a cap and carry that portable computer that drivers used to have when they made deliveries.’ Tom went in and delivered something to a liquor stand and sat down and struck up a conversation with a couple people and insinuated himself into the lives of others. There was a lot of psychological training he did. Tom is a dream. He sees the adventure in what we do, just the way I do, and I imagine other directors do. He just goes for it.”
After scripting the Cruise World War II thriller Valkyrie , Christopher McQuarrie became the actor-producer’s creative partner on the Mission: Impossible franchise with 2015’s Rogue Nation , 2018’s Fallout , the recently completed Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One and the eighth installment currently in production. Cruise had stepped up his commitment to outrageously ambitious stunts right before McQuarrie got there, when Brad Bird directed Ghost Protocol , and Cruise scaled the glassy exterior of the world’s largest skyscraper in Dubai, 123 floors up. But it was on McQuarrie’s watch that Cruise hung from the exterior of a flying Airbus A400M in midair for Rogue Nation , and when Cruise broke his ankle after a leap during a chase in which he crashed into a wall. It was a rare mishap, and McQuarrie feels that Cruise is so meticulous in his stunt prep and so confident in his ability to walk away unscathed, that the director swallows hard and says yes.
“I was asked once by a film student: ‘How do you know when you’ve made it?’” McQuarrie says. “I said, ‘You don’t make it. You’re making it. Actively. All the time. May you never make it. May you always be making it. May you look back one day on all you’ve made and go right on making more.’ Tom embodies that. There is no finish line, no pinnacle, no summit. He applies all he’s learned to something new, then studies it with brutal honesty: Where did we go wrong? Where did we go right? How do we apply it to the next thing? How do we push the limits of what is possible? How do we create the most immersive, engaging experience for the widest possible audience? How do we do all that with an emphasis on character and story first? Tom’s not still here by accident.”
McQuarrie could not recall a stunt Cruise insisted on doing that the filmmaker tried to talk him out of. “I get asked that a lot,” he says. “Honestly, no. Is there anything I wish I hadn’t suggested? Absolutely. When I’m sitting in an A400M with the engines running and my friend is strapped to the fuselage, I’m thinking, Maybe I should have kept this one to myself. The truth is, that stunt seems tame now. What we’ve done since, I still can’t believe. If my hair could get any whiter, it would… Tom understands how all of the individual parts function. His level of preparation is exceedingly present and aware. The bigger the stakes, the higher the awareness. That awareness is contagious and enormously clarifying.”
J.J. Abrams made his feature directorial debut on Mission: Impossible III , the one in which Phillip Seymour Hoffman went mano a mano with Cruise after kidnapping the agent’s wife (Michelle Monaghan). Abrams says the stunts weren’t as eye popping as the ones in the films directed by McQuarrie and Bird (Abrams is a producer of all of those films). While Abrams was a hotshot TV director and showrunner with Alias , Cruise pushed for him to direct, despite his being untested on the big screen.
“I blame Tom Cruise entirely on my having a career,” Abrams says. “He did all the impossible heavy lifting I don’t think anyone could have done to give me a shot. I will be forever grateful for everything he did.”
They met when Cruise and Steven Spielberg wanted Abrams to script War of the Worlds (scheduling didn’t work) and they cooked up a Mission: Impossible movie different from the one Paramount thought it was going to make. “While I was shooting the Lost pilot, Tom watched Alias and asked if I would be interested in Mission: Impossible . They were meant to shoot that other version of Mission . Steven was meant to shoot Munich and then War of the Worlds , and somehow Tom convinced both Steven and the studio, and it seemed like a herculean task only Tom could do, but he managed to reorder the films. Steven agreed to do War of the Worlds first, and Mission: Impossible got moved to after. What I remember is that I had a meeting with Tom and Sherry Lansing, who was high on this other version of the movie. I remember Tom basically saying, that he and I were going to do Mission: Impossible together. I remember Sherry saying she liked the other script and Tom saying, ‘This is the one we’re going to do.’ And she said, ‘OK.’ I’m sitting there, watching him take a wild chance on someone who had never directed a feature before, and I couldn’t believe it was me. I came to learn that kind of thing is a normal Tuesday for Tom.”
Any fear Abrams had that the film’s star and producer would impose himself on a young director was quickly allayed. Abrams says Cruise had a clear understanding of the lanes each occupied, and that he relied on good directors to push him to do his best work.
“Any first film is a surreal experience,” Abrams says. “To have it be something where the first day you are filming in Rome with Tom Cruise on a Mission: Impossible set, now that is incredibly surreal. On the second film I directed, which was Star Trek in 2009, I remember getting to the set the first day and feeling the palpable sense of the absence of Tom Cruise. Which is to say, I had only known shooting a movie with Tom, which was a kind of gift you can’t find anywhere else. You have someone who you always know is working as hard — if not harder — trying to make something work, and he is number one on the call sheet. It’s an incredible rarity.”
Doug Liman, who directed Cruise in the fact-based American Made , the sci-fi Edge of Tomorrow and the upcoming film they’ll shoot in outer space, got to see more than most filmmakers what it is that makes Cruise tick.
“I lived with Tom when we made American Made ,” Liman says. “When you work with Tom, it’s a seven-days-a-week job. No matter how hard a worker you are, and I consider myself that, it’s nothing compared to Tom. After 40 or 50 straight days, we were coming up on July 4 weekend. It happens his birthday is July 3 and I’m thinking that since his birthday happened to fall on a holiday, maybe Tom will want to have a long weekend off to celebrate his birthday somewhere. I mention to Tom, ‘Are you thinking of going away for your birthday?’ Tom says, ‘No. I was thinking since we have the day off on July 3, we can use that time to have the eight-hour aviation meeting that we’ve been having trouble scheduling.’ I am beyond tired and I’m like, ‘You want to have an eight-hour meeting on your birthday?’ He said, ‘Yes, that’s what I want for my birthday. I want to be making a movie. That’s the best birthday present.’ There was no blowing out candles, either.”
“Cake? No, Tom doesn’t eat cake. You don’t get to look the way he looks, by eating birthday cake. You have to make a life choice there. You know the suit of armor, the exoskeletons he wore on Edge of Tomorrow ? They were extremely heavy, cumbersome, took 10 minutes to get on and off and was too heavy for him to sit in between takes. He would get out of the armor and go, we’re wasting all this time, me getting in and out of this suit. So, Tom gets this idea that, between setups, it would save time if, instead of getting in and out of his suit, we converted a child’s swing set into something with hooks that he could hang from, in between setups.”
For the result, picture the gangster Carbone, hanging from a meat hook in the freezer truck in Goodfellas .
“Yeah, that is the visual,” Liman says.
“Living with Tom on American Made , I came to the conclusion that it would be like if you imagined a premise for a high concept movie, where you got to wake up and be Tom Cruise for the day. He gets up with so much energy. He was a real taskmaster when it came to chores in the house. We didn’t have a housekeeper, for security reasons, and we had to clean the house. He would constantly pull out a pot that I had already cleaned and put back, and say, ‘This is not clean.’”
Liman is circumspect about timing and the story he and Cruise will film in space, but not the intent. “The thing both of us have in common is, we’re not interested in the gimmick of shooting a movie in outer space,” he says. “For Tom and me, it’s a challenge to make sure we make a movie that is so frigging good it can survive the inevitable criticism, ‘Did they really have to go into space to shoot that?’”
Barry Levinson, who directed Rain Man with Cruise, saw the film win Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor for Dustin Hoffman’s turn as the autistic savant. Cruise wasn’t nominated for playing Charlie Babbitt, the hustler who kidnaps his brother Raymond and drives him to L.A. to claim an inheritance, but in Levinson’s mind, “Tom had the harder job,” he says. “It was a difficult role because he basically had to drive the movie. Otherwise, Raymond would just be content to sit in a motel. His obligation is to continually drive it and push him, and at the same time not exhaust the audience with a one-beat, ‘C’mon, we’re going.’ It was a very hard role, and he never got the credit he deserved for that film.”
Levinson got the job after Martin Brest, Spielberg and then Sydney Pollack were in and then out because of the tricky nature of the material. Levinson says they found the movie while shooting on the road trip, and what surprised him was Cruise’s skill in improv, and willingness to try most anything they could think of.
“When Sydney dropped out, we were seven weeks out from shooting and we hit the road and kept working on dealing with the relationship between the two of them as we went along,” Levinson says. “We did an extensive amount of ad-libbing and improv work for that film, and Tom jumped in there and ran with it. It was at that point very different for him, not only to be that type of character, but also because the movie was a two-hander. It’s just these two guys basically, and they’ve got to carry the movie. Tom was never resistant to the idea of, well let’s just see what happens if we do this. I said to him once, ‘Let’s get in a car, I wonder if the audience is thinking, the brother hasn’t done anything for Raymond. I think he needs to do something so at least he has made an attempt to deal with him.’ He said, ‘Well, what about if I gave him fresh underwear? That will lead to an argument. Raymond can’t wear that because he gets his underwear in Cincinnati.’ That was the basis of the idea to just have a little something, riding in the car. The two worked really well with each other. I know it sounds like it can’t be true, but it was as good a relationship between the two guys and in terms of what we were trying to accomplish. They were both contributing, and Tom was the one who had to push this movie all the time and I think Dustin would acknowledge that. You keep slowly seeing the changes, as he becomes more emotionally attached to his brother.”
A Few Good Men
To A Few Good Men director Rob Reiner, there is just about nothing Tom Cruise can’t do as an actor, and so he was not at all surprised by the way he went toe-to-toe with Jack Nicholson in his prime during that electric courtroom scene.
“I’ll tell you something. He’s a great actor,” Reiner says. “I know in the last many years he has been doing his Mission: Impossible movies and different things. It seems every really good actor, whether it’s Chris Evans or Mark Ruffalo, they are all in these big action pictures. The thing Tom used to do is, he used to balance that out. I would love to see him do some things that aren’t the franchise films. I’d seen him do things like Taps , Risky Business , and I never worried about him going up against Nicholson because Tom has an incredible work ethic. At that time, I’d never met a young actor with as much dedication as he had to the process. He worked his ass off in rehearsals. He was not only on time, but early every day, and always had his lines nailed. Never had I seen a young actor with a work ethic like this guy. He may tell you behind the scenes that he was intimidated by Jack, but I never saw it.
“When Jack came and we had the first reading of the script, he came fully loaded to work, with a performance at the table. In a table read, you’re usually just kind of marking it. And when Jack got into his performance, it just sent a message to every other young actor. Kiefer Sutherland, Tom, Demi (Moore) and Kevin Bacon and Kevin Pollack, everybody involved knew, you better step up here. We’re not messing around. Tom was always right there with it. I would love to see him play more complex characters than the ones he’s doing now because people don’t realize how great an actor this guy is.”
When Francis Ford Coppola adapted the S.E. Hinton novel The Outsiders , he wound up with a cast filled with the most promising young actors in the business, from Patrick Swayze to Rob Lowe, Matt Dillon, Emilio Estevez, Ralph Macchio and C. Thomas Howell. Cruise’s role was smaller by comparison, but Coppola had an inkling he might be special based on how the rest of the cast buzzed about how it was Cruise who got the starring role in Risky Business , while the rest of them were confined to ensemble work.
“It’s hard for me to remember that time since I was so focused on casting all of the boys’ roles, of which there were many,” Coppola says. “In those days, I was very experimental about the way I handled auditions. I felt strongly that everyone who showed up be given a chance to show their strengths, so we held them in an open arena where everyone was able to watch the other actors’ auditions for the same roles. The method was as new to them as it was for me. Through that process, I discovered a wealth of talent from which to choose. It’s the luck of the draw I guess, but certainly Tom more than justified his promise. Risky Business was a great showcase for him, and as I recall, he left our set a few days early in order to begin production on that film.”
What stood out to Coppola was the young actor’s openness to messing with what would become his signature thousand-watt smile, to fit the character.
“I was impressed by his willingness to go to extremes in creating a character,” Coppola says. “If the role called for a chipped tooth, he would willingly chip his tooth. He is also very athletic, which you can clearly see in the scene where he backflips off a car. He did not go light or easy in his commitment. I liked his look, and I liked his performance in Taps . He might have been suitable for the older brother role, except he was a little young compared to Patrick Swayze.
“I can’t say that I would have predicted [what was to come for Cruise] at the time, but back when we worked together, he did impress me as a very committed actor with many gifts. Certainly, the incident of the self-inflicted chip in his tooth is an example of his whole-hearted commitment to character.”
Born on the Fourth of July
Oliver Stone badly wanted to tell the story of wounded Vietnam vet Ron Kovic’s transformation from gung-ho soldier to anti-war protester, and each time the film faltered, he could feel it crush the film’s subject. “I had written it with Al Pacino in mind,” Stone says. The movie fell apart when Pacino dropped out, and the project languished for years. Until Cruise sparked to it. The actor was coming off a string of hits that included Risky Business , Cocktail , Top Gun and Rain Man . He was the brightest young superstar in the business and used that clout to empower a picture that allowed him to test his acting mettle in a new way.
“I was broken hearted, and Ron was a basket case,” Stone says. “I said to Ron, ‘If I ever get the chance, I’ll come back and do it.’ Platoon opened up the world for me, and it was either Charlie Sheen or Paula Wagner who suggested Tom Cruise, who was her client. I had met with Tom, and he liked Platoon so much. Maybe no one was going to give the performance as Kovic that I’d seen Al Pacino do in rehearsals, but Tom had other qualities. He was the right age, he looked far younger [than Pacino] and he worked his ass off prior to rehearsal. He hung out with Ron Kovic for a few weeks, going around L.A. in a wheelchair and getting the moves down, getting the mentality down. Ron was such an enthusiastic teacher and Tom took everything he could and kind of fell in love with Ron in a way that he absorbed him into his performance. And they stayed in touch for many, many years.”
Stone says the shoot was grueling, but Cruise was game. “We started the film overseas in the Philippines, where Platoon was made, and for Tom and everyone else, it was a very tough shoot because of the subject matter. I remember the scenes in the hospital being especially difficult, but Tom stuck through it. I was not surprised because I saw his dedication. Tom is a person with a tremendous willpower and once he committed to the role, he really committed.”
Stone says he wondered if Cruise was saying yes to anything the director asked. “In the early scenes, I was worried because I hadn’t seen him wrestle,” Stone says. “He tells me, ‘I can wrestle.’ Well, I’ve been told that kind of thing by a lot of actors, and when you get there on the day of the shoot, when you have no f*cking time to adjust, you find out they can’t wrestle. So, I’m worried. He said, ‘Just trust me. Don’t put pressure on me, I put pressure enough on myself.’ And sure enough, he actually wrestled very well. So never doubt Tom Cruise, I suppose is the lesson.”
For a young actress playing a difficult role as a precognitive woman in the Spielberg-directed Minority Report , measuring up in a blockbuster can be a daunting task. For that reason, Samantha Morton says she often thinks of how much easier a difficult shoot became because of the film’s star.
“I suppose I didn’t fully appreciate how rare Tom was, but now having been in the industry so long, he’s incredibly rare,” Morton says. “Not only is he unbelievably professional, and at a time when a lot of very famous men around me were not being very professional, he was unbelievably generous to me as an actor and as a creative person in that space. And it wasn’t fake or false in a kind of job way. He is genuinely one of the nicest, kindest people I’ve ever worked with, and I cherish those memories of that experience because the job itself was very tough.”
“Mr. Spielberg was incredibly kind and supportive and they made me raise my game because they believed in me. When an actor of his caliber is on set, oftentimes those individuals can be all about the self, and here’s the opposite of that. Because of (Tom), it was, ‘What do we need to make us better?’
“I was 22 when I worked with him, and I didn’t have a huge wealth of knowledge in regards to his cinema history at the time, and I was just there to get my job done. I’ve since seen how exceptional his body of work is. He’s insanely talented and continues to be so, and I have more praise for him as the years go by. He wasn’t being like that because he had to, back then, it was just how he is.”
Morton mentions Cruise sending a coffee truck on a particularly trying day. “People do that now, but nobody did that stuff back then,” she says. “My character was always very emotional and vulnerable. And maybe I was being a bit too method for my own good at the time. But there were scenes where the character couldn’t walk, and he physically carried me all through this shopping mall because I wasn’t taking my own weight. I said, ‘Oh God, I’m so sorry,’ after I don’t know how many takes of the scene. He just smiled. A lot of other actors would have moaned, said something to the director who would have come back and said, ‘Is there any way Sam can just walk on this take?’ Not Tom. And I can tell you, his generosity and exuberance were contagious.”
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Life lessons from tom cruise, by orson gillick morris, photographed by herb ritts, june 9, 2022.
Tom Cruise by Herb Ritts for Interview
Welcome to Life Lessons . This week, we’re revisiting our cover story with Tom Cruise from our May 1986 issue. In it, Cruise sits down with Cameron Crowe in the weeks prior to the release of three box-office smashing films : Martin Scorsese’s The Color of Money and Ridley Scott’s Legend, and Top Gun , which would become the actor’s most legendary franchise . Cruise, then 24, opens up to Crowe about his experiences with loneliness and rejection, his addiction to flying in F14s, and his plan to become the biggest name in Hollywood. Today, nearly 40 years later, Cruise is back onscreen reprising his iconic role and introducing a new legion of characters to the Top Gun universe with Top Gun: Maverick. S o sit back and buckle up—you just might learn a thing or two.
“I didn’t have a lot of friends. The closest people around me were my family. I think they felt a little nervous about me because I had a lot of energy and I couldn’t stick to one thing… I feel good about the fact that I finally found something I love.”
“I was always packing and moving around, staying in Canada, Kentucky, Jersey, St. Louis—it all helped because I was always learning new accents, experiencing different environments.”
“I felt that the people rejecting me were there to help me in the long run. Sometimes it hurts, but I truly believe that there are parts I’m supposed to get and parts I’ m not supposed to get and something else is going to come along.”
“I just went to Francis [Ford Coppola] and said, ‘Look, I don’t care what role you give me, I really want to work with you. I want to be there on the set and watch.’ And he said okay.”
“I’m not a very good cold reader. What I do is start with a line and go off and ad-lib and kind of find my way down the script.”
“The important thing is to be relaxed in your work. Same in life. Don’t make everything too intense. Then you can let everything go and not ‘act.'”
“When you fly in the F-14, it’s one of those experiences that is bigger than life itself. It blows your shit away. These guys do it everyday and you know why they want it. Flying is so intense and emotional. But ever since I got involved in Top Gun , I didn’t want to make a warmonger movie. I wanted to get into the personality of these guys, what makes them fly. What makes my character, Maverick, want to fly? I wanted to give him a sensitivity.”
“I go to rushes every night, not just to see my performance, but to see what the director’s done in terms of choosing his shots and lighting. I enjoy seeing the overall process.”
“Making a movie is like a chess game. It’s about constantly changing patterns, adapting to new things. It’s not just black and white as you know.”
“I hope the public and everyone realize that I’m still growing. I’m still feeling my oats here. I’m working toward the long range of what I can be as an artist. And I work my ass off trying. Because I know what I want to be.”
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TOM CRUISE is a global cultural icon who has made an immeasurable impact on cinema by creating some of the most memorable characters of all time. Having achieved extraordinary success as an actor, producer and philanthropist in a career spanning over three decades, Cruise is a three-time Oscar® nominee and three-time Golden Globe Award® winner whose films have earned over $10 billion in worldwide box office—an incomparable accomplishment. Eighteen of Cruise’s films have grossed over $100 million domestically, and a record 23 have made more than $200 million globally. His latest film, Mission: Impossible – Fallout has made over $775 million worldwide becoming Cruise’s most successful film to date.
Cruise has starred in numerous legendary films such as Top Gun, Jerry Maguire, Risky Business, Minority Report, Interview with the Vampire, A Few Good Men, The Firm, Rain Man, Collateral, The Last Samurai, Edge of Tomorrow, The Color of Money and the Mission: Impossible series, among many others. Combined, the Mission: Impossible franchise has brought in over $3.5 billion since Cruise conceived the idea for a film adaptation of the classic television series and produced the first in 1996. He is currently in production on the long-awaited sequel to Top Gun.
A consummate filmmaker involved in all aspects of production, Cruise has proven his versatility with the films and roles he chooses. He has made 43 films, contributing in a producing role on many of them, and collaborated with a remarkable list of celebrated film directors including Francis Ford Coppola, Ridley Scott, Tony Scott, Martin Scorsese, Barry Levinson, Oliver Stone, Ron Howard, Rob Reiner, Sydney Pollack, Neil Jordan, Brian De Palma, Cameron Crowe, Stanley Kubrick, Paul Thomas Anderson, Ed Zwick, Steven Spielberg, Michael Mann, J.J. Abrams, Robert Redford, Brad Bird, Doug Liman and Christopher McQuarrie.
Cruise received Academy Award® nominations for Best Actor for Born on the Fourth of July and Jerry Maguire. He was a Best Supporting Actor nominee for Magnolia and won Golden Globes (Best Actor) for Born on the Fourth of July and Jerry Maguire, in addition to a Best Supporting Actor prize for Magnolia. He also received Golden Globe nominations for his roles in Risky Business, A Few Good Men and The Last Samurai. Cruise has earned acting nominations and awards from BAFTA, the Screen Actors Guild, the Chicago Film Critics Association and the National Board of Review.
Cruise’s previous few films include the critically acclaimed American Made, The Mummy, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, Oblivion and the suspense thriller Jack Reacher, which earned $218 million worldwide. Prior to that, he made a memorable appearance in Ben Stiller’s comedy smash Tropic Thunder, as the foul-mouthed Hollywood movie mogul Les Grossman. This performance, based on a character Cruise created, earned him praise from critics and audiences as well as his seventh Golden Globe nomination.
Cruise has been honored with tributes ranging from Harvard’s Hasty Pudding Man of the Year Award to the John Huston Award from the Artists Rights Foundation and the American Cinematheque Award for Distinguished Achievement in Film. In addition to his artistic contributions, Cruise has used his professional success as a vehicle for positive change, becoming an international advocate, activist and philanthropist in the fields of health, education and human rights. He has been honored by the Mentor LA organization for his work on behalf of the children of Los Angeles and around the world. In 2011 Cruise received the Simon Wiesenthal Humanitarian Award and the following year he received the Entertainment Icon Award from the Friars Club for his outstanding accomplishments in the entertainment industry and in the humanities. He is the fourth person to receive this honor after Douglas Fairbanks, Cary Grant and Frank Sinatra. Empire magazine awarded Cruise its Legend of Our Lifetime Award in 2014. Most recently, Cruise was the first actor to receive The Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation’s Pioneer of the Year Award in 2018.
- Top Gun: Maverick (2021)
- Mission: Impossible Fallout (2018)
- American Made (2017)
- The Mummy (2017)
- Jack Reacher: Never Go Back (2016)
- Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation (2015)
- Edge of Tomorrow (2014)
- Oblivion (2013)
- Jack Reacher (2012)
- Rock of Ages (2012)
- Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011)
- Knight and Day (2010)
- Valkyrie (2008)
- Tropic Thunder (2008)
- Lions for Lambs (2007)
- Mission: Impossible 3 (2006)
- War of the Worlds (2005)
- Collateral (2004)
- The Last Samurai (2003)
- Minority Report (2002)
- Vanilla Sky (2002)
- Mission: Impossible 2 (2001)
- Eyes Wide Shut (1999)
- Magnolia (1999)
- Jerry Maguire (1996)
- Mission: Impossible (1996)
- Interview with the Vampire (1994)
- The Firm (1993)
- A Few Good Men (1992)
- Far and Away (1992)
- Days of Thunder (1990)
- Born on the Fourth of July (1989)
- Rain Man (1988)
- Cocktail (1988)
- The Color of Money (1986)
- Top Gun (1986)
- Legend (1985)
- Risky Business (1983)
- All the Right Moves (1983)
- The Outsiders (1983)
- Losin’ It (1983)
- Taps (1981)
- Endless Love (1981)
Tom Cruise: From Risky Business to Top Gun Maverick, a Look at His Iconic Roles and Achievements
C ruise’s journey into the world of acting began in high school, leading to his film debut in “Endless Love” (1981). He had supporting roles in movies like “Taps” (1981) and “The Outsiders” (1983) before starring as a high-school senior who turns his parents’ home into a brothel in “Risky Business” (1983). The movie was a major success, earning Cruise widespread recognition. He also showcased his dancing skills in the famous scene where he slides across the floor in his underwear and a shirt.
His star status was cemented with “Top Gun” (1986), the highest-grossing film of that year, where he played a navy jet pilot. The movie also featured his signature smile, his charismatic charm, and his love for motorcycles. He also sang “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin'” to woo his co-star Kelly McGillis in a memorable scene. The movie spawned a cult following and a sequel, “Top Gun: Maverick” (2022), which became his highest-grossing film.
In 1986, Cruise appeared opposite Paul Newman in “The Color of Money,” directed by Martin Scorsese, and two years later starred as an autistic man’s selfish brother in “Rain Man”. Both movies were critically acclaimed and showcased Cruise’s dramatic range. For his portrayal of a Vietnam War veteran turned activist in “Born on the Fourth of July” (1989), Cruise received his first Academy Award nomination. He also won a Golden Globe for his performance.
His performance as a sports agent in “Jerry Maguire” (1996) earned Cruise a second Oscar nomination. He also delivered one of the most iconic lines in movie history: “Show me the money!” He also showed his romantic side, saying “You complete me” to his co-star Renee Zellweger. The movie was a huge hit, both commercially and critically.
In 1999, he starred with his then-wife, Nicole Kidman, in the highly anticipated final film of director Stanley Kubrick, “Eyes Wide Shut” (1999), an examination of marital fidelity. The movie was controversial, due to its explicit scenes and its delayed release. It was also Kubrick’s last film, as he died shortly before its completion.
Cruise went on to exhibit a broad depth and range of characters in his films during the 1990s, playing such diverse roles as a navy lawyer in “A Few Good Men” (1992), a vampire in “Interview with the Vampire” (1994), and a secret agent in “Mission: Impossible” (1996). The immense popularity of the latter film led to sequels in 2000, 2006, 2011, 2015, 2018, and 2023. The franchise is known for its thrilling action scenes, often performed by Cruise himself, who is famous for doing his stunts. He has scaled the Burj Khalifa, hung from a helicopter, and jumped from a plane, among other feats.
As a leading Hollywood star in the 1990s, he starred in commercially successful films, including the courtroom drama “A Few Good Men” (1992), the legal thriller “The Firm” (1993), the horror film “Interview with the Vampire” (1994), and the psychological thriller “Eyes Wide Shut” (1999). Since then, Cruise established himself as an action star acting in science fiction and action films, such as “Vanilla Sky” (2001), “Minority Report” (2002), “The Last Samurai” (2003), “Collateral” (2004), “War of the Worlds” (2005), “Knight and Day” (2010), “Jack Reacher” (2012), “Oblivion” (2013), “Edge of Tomorrow” (2014), “Jack Reacher: Never Go Back” (2016), and “The Mummy” (2017).
Cruise was named People’s Sexiest Man Alive in 1990, and received the top honor of “Most Beautiful People” in 1997. He has been married to actresses Mimi Rogers, Nicole Kidman, and Katie Holmes. He adopted two children during his marriage to Kidman and has a biological daughter with Holmes. He has been an outspoken advocate for the Church of Scientology, which he credits with helping him overcome dyslexia. He has also been involved in several controversies, such as his couch-jumping incident on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” in 2005, his criticism of psychiatry and antidepressants, and his divorce from Holmes in 2012.
Tom Cruise is one of the most influential and successful actors of all time, with a career spanning over four decades. He has shown his versatility and talent in various genres and roles and has entertained millions of fans around the world. He is also one of the most dedicated and daring performers, who is always willing to push the boundaries and challenge himself. He is a true Hollywood legend and a force to be reckoned with.
– Tom Cruise | Biography, Movies, & Facts | Britannica
– Tom Cruise – Wikipedia
– 38 Facts about Tom Cruise – Facts.net
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Simon pegg predicts tom cruise has a “completely different” third act in his future once he “stops jumping off sh**”.
The actor shares if he could see himself working with the action star once 'Mission: Impossible' comes to an end.
By Carly Thomas
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Simon Pegg is predicting that Tom Cruise will eventually depart the Mission: Impossible franchise to pursue other creative opportunities that are “completely different.”
Cruise is known for challenging himself in his roles by taking on his own stunts , including several that have been death-defying. And Pegg, who has starred as Benji Dunn in every Mission: Impossible film since 2006’s installment, has been there to witness many of them.
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“I don’t know,” he said. “I love working with Tom, and he’s really good fun to work with but I get the feeling that when Tom goes off and does other things, it’ll be a completely different thing.”
Pegg believes there’s more to Cruise that fans haven’t gotten the chance to see on the big screen yet.
“He has a whole other age to come in his career,” he explained. “He’s a very good actor, a very, very good actor — as we’ve seen in Magnolia and Jerry Maguire … I think when he finally stops jumping off shit, he’ll have a third act. And yes, it’d be nice to be a part of that.”
Cruise began seeking the thrill of doing his own stunts in 1986’s Top Gun and has continued to push the limits of his body and acting ever since.
But the action star has no plans to step away from his Ethan Hunt character anytime soon. Earlier this year, Cruise said he wants to keep making Mission: Impossible films into his 80s , like Harrison Ford, with his Indiana Jones films.
“Harrison Ford is a legend, I hope to be still going, I’ve got 20 years to catch up with him,” Cruise told the Sydney Morning Herald in a July interview. “I hope to keep making Mission: Impossible films until I’m his age.”
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