Photo: LOIC VENANCE/AFP via Getty Images
Historically, when Tom Cruise sits on comfortable furniture and converses with a journalist for more than ten minutes, he says or does something delightfully crazy and sometimes image-destroying: He hops on Oprah’s couch, glibly calls Matt Lauer, puts the person’s dignity in Question British Monarchy. Today at the Cannes Film Festival he sadly abandoned that grand tradition, sitting in a leather chair on stage for 40 minutes and repeating four of the same talking points over and over again until people started walking and the French teenager next to me sullenly removed his language translation headphones.
Cruise was in town to promote and discuss the premiere of Top Gun: Maverick, his new film in which he battles a nameless, faceless enemy to promote warfare as the national conflict strategy of choice. The event – which, it should be noted, was titled “Rendezvous With Tom Cruise” but is known to me colloquially as “Tomdezvous” or “Rendezvous With Tom Cru” or “Rendezcruise” or “Tomdezcruise with Ron Vous” – was hot Ticket so hot I had to beg to get in. In the hours leading up to the chat, crowds of insatiable Cruise fans, some taking object lessons top gun and sidestepped that intrepid reporter, crammed the streets outside the Debussy for a glimpse of Cruise’s well-preserved flesh.
After a searing French introduction and an oddly long montage of clips from practically every single film he’s ever made (the French seem to prefer his work in Risky Deals Jerry Maguire and the Missions: Impossible), Cruise took the stage to a standing ovation from a thousand people and bored everyone to death. I’m sorry to be the one reporting this, but Tom Cruise has gone from being an agent of chaos to an agent of repetitive, PR-approved, essentially meaningless talking points about goals, skills, his craft, “the art form ‘ and developed storytelling. He once said (to tepid, confused applause), “All I can do is the best I can do every day. That’s it.”
To give Cruise some credit became two, possibly three interesting moments during the chat. One was when Cruise referred to his ex-wife, Nicole Kidman, as “Nic” (!) while sharing a story about how he and Stanley Kubrick and Kidman worked together to find the tone eyes wide closed. Another was when he admitted to being so obsessed with the theater experience that he watches every movie that comes out incognito, “I put my cap on and I’m in the audience.” At one point, he claimed to be ” to remember every take” he’s ever done. “I remember everything,” he repeated, startling. Later, when the interviewer asked Cruise about his dangerous stunt work, “Why are you doing that?” — Cruise replied, “Nobody asks Gene Kelly, ‘Why are you dancing?'”
There was also a moment when Cruise seemed ready to go old-school nuclear power, but then caught up with himself: The interviewer asked Cruise if Paramount had ever pressured him to declassify him Top Gun: Maverick on a streaming platform, and Cruise’s face briefly went offline before returning with a smile. “No, they wouldn’t – that will never happen,” he said, still grinning. “That will never happen. je. That will never happen. No.”
Below I’ve compiled a partial list of things Tom Cruise has said over and over again, hoping you can get a sense of what it feels like to be in this sweaty room today, surrounded by increasingly disappointed French people.
To study: Cruise spent a lot of time talking about all of the study he does in every single department of every single movie he makes as well as every movie ever made in the history of cinema. He explained that during pre-production and on set, he likes to question anyone he works with about any aspect of their work in order to collaborate.
– On the set of cocks (another thing he mentioned at least five times), for example, he “studied every single department, went to every department and studied everything.”
– “I understand the business. I went through and studied and learned all the way and I understand.”
– “I say to everyone, ‘The best thing you can do is study every aspect of your art form.'”
– “[My movies] were great experiences for me. All … I was so young and went to college. Also with Franz [Ford Coppola], I would go to each department: How can I help you? What are you working?”
– “I studied films and the names of the credits to understand who did what. Not just their work, but why did this film work the way it did… I was trying to study things that are different and the same.”
– “I was studying Sydney Pollack’s films and then I said, ‘Please, I’d like to meet Sydney Pollack.'”
– “I study and work constantly.”
On the subject of storytelling: Cruise loves talking about storytelling, a word that’s been rendered meaningless by advertisers for at least 15 years, but still has value for him.
“I always tell people, ‘I want to hear your story. What do you think this movie is? … This is not my film! never say that This is our movie.’”
– “It’s not about me. It’s about the story. I’ve always been looking for stories and I meet the people involved that I work with and we spend time together because I want to understand what their commitment is, who they are are and what kind of film we can make together.”
– “People interest me. history interests me. If you look at what art is…”
– “I spend a lot of time developing and working on characters. Everything depends on the story. That depends on the character.”
– “The potential of a story – I work on things for years. Years!”
– “You have to understand how a story is structured.”
– “I was precocious, high-spirited. But I was very interested in always being there and learning. I realized when you talk to actors and see actors, they all have different ideas about stories.”
– “I think about stories and characters all the time. Like, oh, ‘Here’s a story I want to make.’ And then the studio gave the green light to this film and I would take the script and put the story that I wanted to do into this film. [Laughs.] And this character. That’s kind of what I did.”
– “I always know that there is another story.”
About skills: Cruise said the word “skills,” a Scientology catchphrase, at least two dozen times, often in connection with his studies mentioned above.
– “The derivation of ‘art’ is ‘dexterity’. I looked it up. It’s ‘ability’.”
– “As a child I thought If I could do that for the rest of my life, if I could be skilled at it and understand it for myself and become competent…”
– “It’s a different skill to write a film than to write for TV.”
– “When I make a film, I use all the skills of everyone I know.”
– “If you look at my films, whether it A risky venture slide across the floor taps, Learning ocean physics, skydiving and skydiving, these are things I’ve done my whole life – the skills I’ve developed over time. I am an Arab pilot and I fly with the speed and I take dance and singing lessons.”
– At the end of a long story about jumping off his roof as a 4-year-old: “Now here I am on a film set. I was the kid who climbed the rafters and climbed the tallest tree in the wind—that’s what I wanted to do. And how do I take those skills and make them part of the story* (*see: storytelling) and character?”
– “On days of thunder, I would drive cars for Paull Newman. So I learn all these skills like in Old Hollywood. Because I studied Old Hollywood* (*see: studying). You could see that they had to learn to dance and sing* and that system is gone. Even when I wasn’t working on a film, I studied film* and pushed myself to learn different skills.”
To goals: As a person who hunts skills, Of course, Cruise is happy about goals.
– Once the interviewer said: “[Frequent Cruise collaborator] Christopher McQuarrie told me, ‘Tom’s only goal is to find a new goal when he’s achieved a goal.’” Cruise replied, “Yes.”
– “As a kid, I wrote goals on the wall about what kind of movies I liked or what I wanted my life to be like, and then I worked toward those goals.”
– “My goals were, how do I become skilled* (*see “Skills”) in many, many things?”
– “I thought, when I was 18, as I lay there, I want to try to make every type of film I can and learn about this art form. I really set myself these goals. I had these goals. The same goals I had when I was a little kid. For me it is every phase.”
About Dreams: You can’t tell stories without dreams.
– “I was a big dreamer.”
“Everyone knows you have a dream. We all dream of how we want to shape our lives. this is my dream Suddenly it’s my turn cocks.”
– “I was interested in adventures in life. It has helped me dream about things. For me I thought It is possible. Even if others said: “This is impossible. That can’t happen.’ I held on to my dream and thought It is possible. And that’s what I’m going to work towards one day.‘”
Recognitions: Questions, Curiosity, Lenses, Character, Explore, Adventure, Audience, Cinema, People, Help, Work.
https://www.vulture.com/2022/05/tom-cruises-boring-promotion-of-top-gun-maverick-at-cannes.html Tom Cruise’s boring promotion of Top Gun: Maverick in Cannes