Movies

Tom Cruise doesn’t change the narrative, not even Cannes

Tom Cruise doesn’t change the narrative, not even Cannes

Cannes called it a MasterClass Conversation, but the mastery on display was Tom Cruise’s unwavering ability to keep things quiet.

Tom Cruise would rather be boring than lose control of an interview. He learned from his aberrations, from jumping on the couch to advising people not to take prescription drugs. So his participation in a May 18 MasterClass Conversation at Cannes could have been an extension of Paramount’s 68-page press kit for “Top Gun: Maverick,” which essentially sidesteps director Joseph Kosinski to promote the all-powerful producer of the movie (with lip service to Jerry Bruckheimer).

Tom Cruise waited until he could do it right. Tom Cruise worked for years to find the right script (perhaps with the help of Messrs. Christopher McQuarrie, Eric Warren Singer and Ehren Kruger?), as well as the best time and place to execute it. (By the way, the film is an engrossing, tense, and hugely entertaining E-ride.)

And of course, Cruise insisted that the studio wait until the film was released in theaters. The only defining moment in French journalist Didier Allouch’s valiant attempt to open his Cannes career was the setting up of a message that Cruise is happy to promote: the film has waited two years to be released because his films will not be broadcast. only in theaters. No broadcasting allowed! “They couldn’t do that,” he said. “That wasn’t going to happen, no.” (Loud applause.)

In fact, some box office analysts think Paramount waited too long to release its golden egg. Yes, it’ll gross between $85 million and $100 million in its May 24 opening weekend, but it’s possible the movie didn’t have any Thanksgiving competition. Now he has “Jurassic World Dominion” coming June 8th.

The Cruise sizzle reel reminded us of its range. “Risky business.” “Interview with a Vampire.” “Days of Thunder”. “Vanilla Sky.” “War of the Worlds.” “Collateral.” “Some good men.” “Valkyrie”. “The last Samourai.” “Edge of tomorrow.” And there are his three Oscar-nominated films: ‘Born on the 4th of July’, ‘Jerry Maguire’ and ‘Magnolia’. But the interview was boring as dishwater. Having had the chance to discuss his heartbreaking bedside scene with his dying father (Jason Robards) in “Magnolia,” Cruise preferred to take credit for coming up with the character and showing Paul Thomas Anderson his creation for the first time on stage.

“The last Samourai”

Warner Bros.

In the 41 years since his “Taps” breakout, the guy gives the same interview every time. Don’t stop me if you’ve ever heard this: As a four-year-old, he dreamed of flying planes and making movies; he is grateful to be able to do both. He liked to climb to the tops of trees in the wind.

When he was a little older, he tried to parachute off the roof with a sheet and escaped unscathed. He mowed the grass, shoveled snow, sold holiday cards for money to share with his family and to buy movie tickets. He tried to learn everything he could about how movies were made, from agencies and marketers to every department on the team. Directors like Harold Becker let him watch dailies and explained performances and goals to him. Cruise never forgot how to look at his performance objectively, as if he were the audience. And as he continued to shoot films all over the world, he studied what made different audiences laugh and cry.

"Eyes wide closed"

“Eyes wide closed”

Warner Bros./Everett Collection

“The derivation of art is skill,” he said. “I looked for it. It’s talent. Because my goals were: How can I be skilled at many, many things? I grew up on movie sets in writers’ rooms and editing – I’ve spent my life, and it’s an incredible, very privileged life – because it’s something that I’ve wanted to do. And I’ve always loved an audience, and I make my films for the audience. Because I am an audience first and foremost. It’s a different skill to write a film than something for television, in the way of filming and communicating. Just as theater is different from cinema. is a whole different set of skills.

While he might suggest he still doesn’t know everything about how a movie is made, he takes singing and dancing lessons and is constantly adding to his skills, whether it’s speeding up motorcycles , planes or racing cars. He loves danger and is prepared when he does his “Mission Impossible” stunts, but he’s also scared. “You know, nobody asks Gene Kelly, why are you dancing?” he said. “If I do a musical, I want to sing, I want to dance. And I want to see how I can do it. You have to understand that it’s not just about doing it. How is that part of the story? How to invest the public in it? It’s always better to go for it, it’s always better to try than to tend not to. It’s always better to ask the question and not be afraid.

What does Tom Cruise have to teach us? I guess it’s that working hard, taking risks and learning your craft can take you far. Maybe all that repeating and reworking on Stanley Kubrick’s “Eyes Wide Shut” was worth it. “You just found it and you know what’s right,” he said. “You prepare for something on camera that is immediate, that is alive. I don’t want people to see the work behind it.

Tom, we have this in common: I’d rather watch a “Top Gun” movie than listen to you talk about it.

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