Tom Cruise is undeniably one of the biggest Hollywood stars of all time. He’s been a megastar for decades thanks to films like Top Gun, A Few Good Men and Jerry Maguire, and is still going strong with hit blockbusters like Top Gun: Maverick and the Mission: Impossible series.
Given his huge starpower, and his sometimes eccentric personality, many rumors have swirled about him over the years. But in a new interview, one of his most frequent collaborators debunked the “weirdest” Tom Cruise rumor.
With the new Mission: Impossible – film releasing this week, The Sunday Times interviewed the film’s director and co-stars about the one-of-a-kind leading man to understand “the real Tom Cruise.”
Throughout the piece, the interviewees debunked the oft-held image of him as an unapproachable, egomaniacal A-lister. Director Christopher McQuarrie, a frequent Cruise collaborator, recalled asking him about the “weirdest story” Cruise had ever heard about himself.
In response, Cruise said it was a rumor that people on set “were not allowed to look me in the eye.”
Cruise debunked the rumor — and McQuarrie confirmed that Cruise is actually much more down-to-earth than his reputation suggests, happy to stop and talk with a fan about her dog and have “dance-offs” with the cast and crew on set.
The team also said that Cruise is “not a snob” when it comes to making movies, and prioritizes making populist entertainment that doesn’t talk down to its audience.
“In our first meeting, Tom said, unashamedly, ‘I make mass entertainment,’” McQuarrie told the Sunday Times, saying he would have the director take lines out of the script that audiences wouldn’t “get.” “A wedge has been driven into the industry. Are you an artist or an entertainer? Tom doesn’t see them as mutually exclusive.”
“He doesn’t want to make movies now to punish an audience,” Hayley Atwell, who co-stars with Cruise in the new Mission: Impossible sequel. “He doesn’t want films with the message that if you do not understand this you’re not smart… Tom’s not a snob.”
Interviewees also said that Cruise puts his all into his film productions, meticulously overseeing everything from the stunts to the costumes and catering.
In 2020, an angry on-set outburst by Tom Cruise was recorded and released online, making headlines: Cruise threatens a crew member breaking Covid social distancing protocols, saying “If I see you do it again you’re f***ing gone.”
While the outburst would seem to support the image of Cruise as a scary and intimidating figure on set, co-star Simon Pegg defended the star, saying they were under a lot of pressure filming during the pandemic.
“Everything that Tom cares about, in terms of his job, was at stake due to the pandemic,” Pegg told the Sunday Times. “For him there was a danger this virus could wipe cinema off the face of this earth.”
Pegg, who has co-starred with Cruise in the Mission: Impossible films for 17 years, also said that Cruise is a lot more “normal” than he often seems.
“I’ve been able to hack my way through all the bizarre mythology that surrounds him,” Pegg said. “On one side he’s Tom Cruise — this enigmatic film star everyone wants to know about. And on the other he’s just a guy. I like being normal with him.”
In a previous interview, Pegg says he will joke with Cruise and make fun of his mega-fame, but says he never asks Cruise about his highly-publicized association with the controversial Church of Scientology: “That would be me abusing my privileged access that I get to him,” Pegg told Variety in May.
“My relationship with him is just very simple and amiable,” Pegg added. “It’s always been a very easy relationship. I think you realize, when you meet the person rather than the thicket of mythology that’s built up around them, it’s a different experience.”
Cruise, now 61, has no plans on slowing down: he recently said he hopes to be starring in films for another 20 years, like Harrison Ford.
“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. “I hope to keep making Mission: Impossible films until I’m his age.”
We’re glad hear that Tom Cruise is more down-to-earth than he often appears, and that the wildest rumors about him are untrue. Looking forward to seeing the new Mission: Impossible movie!
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