Tom Cruise Sticks To The Process At Cannes Tribute

One of the hottest tickets in town on the second day of the 2022 Cannes Film Festival wasn’t for a world premiere or even a swanky, beachfront party. Attendees, press, and fans were hyped for an hour-long tribute to the one and only Tom Cruise, a star not known for public Q&A’s let alone serious interviews these days. The box office star was in town for the Cannes premiere of “Top Gun: Maverick” and many hoped this might be a candid conversation about what has genuinely been a remarkable career. Sadly, it was not.

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Cruise spent most of the 40-minute-plus conversation, moderated by French journalist Didier Allouch, discussing his quest to learn as much about the filmmaking business and craft as possible. There were no fun or enlightening anecdotes about working with Stanley Kubrick, Ridley Scott, Steven Spielberg, Jack Nicholson, or Paul Newman, among any other filmmaking legends. There wasn’t even a deep dive into his motivations as an actor or his love of global cinema (he did say he liked a “wide range of movies”). Instead, his comments always circled back to how he’s studied the intricacies of the movie-making business. Everything from his passion to learn different lenses to what people at the studios and agencies do (CAA has probably never gotten as much love at a Cannes Q&A).

Here’s Cruise responding to a question on why he’s so passionate about making sure his films go to theaters.

“Look at us all together. We are all united. Speaking different languages. Different cultures,” Cruise says. “Different ideas about art and cinema and storytelling, but we are united in being able to come together as a community and share in a shared experience is something I’ve had some incredible times in my life. I understand the business, but there is a very specific way to make a movie for cinema and I make movies for the big screen. And I know where they go after that, that’s fine, but I always thought of a film not only for its opening weekend but for the distance. How do I make a movie and you hope to a movie that will entertain and engage for an opening weekend but down the line. I love this experience. And I know there are lots of other people who want that experience and I want other filmmakers to have that experience and have it as an outlet.”

He eventually added, “I always go to the movie when they come out. I’ll put my cap on and sit in the audience with everyone. I’ll come in. I wanna see the trailers.”

And if a studio called and tried to get one of his films on streaming instead of in theaters? A simple response, he notes, “That was not going to happen ever. Just not gonna happen.”

In one insightful reflection, Cruise did discuss his role as motivational speaker Frank Mackey in Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Magnolia” and how his version of the character differed from what was written on the page. Cruise says that originally Mackey was supposed to be dressed in preppy garb. He built a stage (unclear if this wast the one used in the film ) and wrote the monologue at the beginning from notes from the audience in the scene. He invited PTA over for a wardrobe fitting but instead preformed his pitch. He didn’t share the filmmakers direct response. Instead he noted, “I spend a long time developing characters and working. Everything depends on the character and the story and I’m constantly…I go from that point of view and there is a physicality with that character and I think all actors whether there is movement or no movement, there is a physical presence and a physicality to everything.”

Asked why he performs his own “super dangerous” stunts, Cruise was actually somewhat candid, noting, “No one asked Gene Kelly why do dance? Why do you do your own dancing? Why do you do your own singing? When I do a musical I wanna sing and I wanna dance and I wanna see how I do it.”

Lastly though, perhaps Cruise stuck to the same themes because he’s rarely been one to look back at his career. Perhaps, and this is just conjecture, it shook him to see the depth of over four decades of work.

“It’s wild seeing this reel,” Cruise says of the tribute that played before his arrival on stage. “It’s like your life in 10 minutes. It’s very trippy.”

“Top Gun: Maverick” debuts in theaters on May 24.