Superhero? Savior? kook? Why we’ll never know the real Tom Cruise

WAt that time they adapted Bret Easton Ellis’s american psycho In the late ’90s, Christian Bale and filmmaker Mary Harron found inspiration for their sociopathic serial killer, Patrick Bateman, in an unlikely source. “He called me one day and he’d seen Tom Cruise on David Letterman,” Harron said in 2009, “and [Cruise] just had this very intense kindness with nothing behind the eyes. [Christian] was really taken with that energy.”

Bale saw Cruise appear on Letterman’s US talk show in 1999. Now try to find the clip and YouTube’s most popular rip is titled “Tom Cruise goes crazy live”. In it, Cruise recalls co-piloting a private plane and turning off a passenger’s oxygen so he could continue flying at high altitude. The actor finds this hilarious. An amused Letterman can only chuckle and ask, “But honestly, if you look at it from another angle…isn’t that attempted homicide?” Cruise laughs even harder.

Twenty-two years later, Cruise’s personality has transformed on the talk show, packaging, sealing and burying the star’s piercing intensity. However, in his recent appearance on James Corden’s talk show, there’s a moment when the old Cruise flares up. The couple prepares for a flying day together and is filmed around the campfire roasting marshmallows. “Look,” Cruise says to Corden, lighting the marshmallows, “that’s us tomorrow.” He twirls the flaming confection in the air, mimicking both men being thrown from a flaming airplane. The same unbridled, high-pitched laugh from the Letterman interview returns. Cruise’s mask slips briefly.

With the release of the belated sequel top gun: outsider, America’s timeless superman is back on the publicity trail. Cruise’s return as Lieutenant Pete “Maverick” Mitchell proves he still has the charisma, panache and Ray-Ban aviators to carry a gargantuan blockbuster on his burly shoulders. Make no mistake, this isn’t a movie about naval aviation or war or brotherhood, it’s a movie about Tom Cruise and the power he wields.

In many ways, Cruise is bigger than Hollywood and audience trends. He is a superstar black hole that absorbs everything around him. Take Miles Teller and Jennifer Connelly, his co-stars Top Gun: Maverick. They are celebrities themselves. But in this movie, they only exist as things that Tom Cruise can kiss or fight with. They are props.

Cruise reached astronomical heights as an actor, appearing in a string of hit films that showcased his range as a playwright as well as an action hero. top gun. rainman. Jerry Maguire. A few good men. It’s easy to forget how many modern classics Cruise has commandeered. His career has since culminated in the Mission: Impossible franchise, which has grossed more than $3.6 billion (£2.9 billion) at the box office across six films.

It has led to unprecedented industry power, only empowered by its inner knowledge of how it all works. From his very first role in the 1981 film roosters, Cruise studied film. “I went into every single department and studied every single department,” he boasted to an audience in Cannes the month he was working on the film. Today, he has close eye and control over virtually everything that happens on his film sets, from catering to flight training programs for his loner co-stars. During the filming of the upcoming Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Last year he was caught on tape shouting at crew members accused of breaching Covid restrictions. “I call every damn studio, insurance company, producer at night, and they look at us and use us to make their films,” he said. “We’re creating thousands of jobs, moms.” It was a rare behind-the-scenes look, and in keeping with everything we know about Cruise’s dedication to filmmaking.

That dedication is perhaps never more apparent than in Cruise’s stunt work, which he is known to do himself. His most telling quote came The Graham Norton Show last year, when Cruise admitted, “I was told a couple of times while filming a stunt to stop smiling.” In 2018, Cruise proudly shared behind-the-scenes footage of him breaking his ankle while performing jumped from one building to another Mission: Impossible – Fallout. The scene is extraordinary: Cruise grimaces, pulls himself up and limps out of the frame. That finally made it into the film. Similar to filming stunts for 2011 Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol At the Burj Khalifa skyscraper in Dubai, Cruise arrived early one morning to snap a photo atop the building’s 830-meter spire — no safety cables, nothing. Like Greek fables, these are all stories that feed into the Tom Cruise myth. Kevin LaRosa Jr, the antenna coordinator for Top Gun: Mavericktold The Independent that he wishes Cruise – just sometimes – didn’t put himself in danger: “That’s what we all think, right? Tom is absolutely doing things in this movie where I’m sitting there and I’m like, ‘Oh boy, that was crazy.'”

Tom Cruise at the Cannes Film Festival to promote Top Gun: Maverick

(Invision 2022)

Cruise has always had a penchant for self-mythologizing. The actor was born into a working-class Catholic family with an abusive father. “He was a bully and a coward,” Cruise said parade in 2006. Cruise, not comfortable with the life he was being given, decided to start his own. “I saw how my mother created [her life] and so it allowed us to survive… And I decided that I’m going to create for myself who I am, and not what other people say I should be.” It’s all very Great Gatsby.

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The life Cruise aspired to after a brief foray into the priesthood was that of an actor, and he went into it with an irrepressible, obsessive desire to succeed. Speaking of Daily Mail In February of this year, Cruise’s first manager, Eileen Berlin, recalled that she gave the actor an album of articles from youth magazines about him for his 19th birthday. “He was screaming, ‘I don’t want to be in the teen magazines,'” Berlin said. “He had told me he saw himself as an adult, not a teenage idol. He threw the album hard at me and it hit me in the cheek.” Berlin’s gift didn’t match the Tom Cruise he envisioned himself.

While Cruise has stayed true to the identity he’s created over the years, some necessary renovations have been made. His reputation suffered in the 2000s after he began vocally championing the Church of Scientology, a highly secretive and controversial religion. Cruise claimed that Scientology cured his dyslexia, and he became a public supporter of the organization’s opposition to psychiatry and psychiatric drugs. This culminated in a 2005 feud with actress Brooke Shields over her use of antidepressants. In a heated interview with US news anchor Matt Lauer, who later fell out of favor, Cruise said that “psychiatry should be outlawed.”

Cruise flipped wildly from one end of the spectrum to the other that year, which also led to the infamous “couch jumping” incident on Oprah Winfrey’s talk show. Cruise’s effusive public courtship of actress Katie Holmes prompted him to hop onto Winfrey’s couch and wrestle with the adored host, apparently unable to contain the sheer joy of his new relationship. Cruise and Holmes married the following year before divorcing in 2012. “It was a time when he really let loose and raised his crazy flag,” wrote Brandon Ogborn, the author behind it The TomKat projecta 2013 play examining Cruise’s reputation The ringtone in 2018. “It was also a time when he really championed Scientology. I think there was a huge explosion of press, which was bad press, because the Tom Cruise machine just stopped.”

Tom Cruise jumps onto the sofa in the infamous Oprah interview


The cruise machine was actually taken off the road for a while after that. After his return, the dissemination of his more provocative beliefs was shut down. As time went by, the world simply forgot about the actor’s wild side. Even Shields was in love when Cruise visited to apologize for his comments about her. “I was so struck by how heartfelt it was,” she said. Cut to today and Cruise gracefully extends his arm to Kate Middleton as she walks down the red carpet steps to the loner Premiere in London. Everything is forgiven.

Perhaps Cruise was benefiting from a lack of social media at the time of his public outbursts. Or maybe it survived because of our collective willingness to ignore the flaws of artists whose work we enjoy. Anyway, it’s hard to get angry with someone who, like Patrick Bateman, just isn’t there.

Is Cruise a dinosaur? Hollywood’s savior? The greatest action star of all time? Is it simply the product of a completely different cinema era? There is no clear answer to any of these questions. But while there’s still something to unravel, we’ll keep watching.

Top Gun: Maverick is in theaters now Superhero? Savior? kook? Why we’ll never know the real Tom Cruise


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