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Profile: Tom Cruise

A creative path from the movie star and defender of Scientology to one of the last actors of the enduring Hollywood era.

Tom Cruise in the film "Mission Impossible: Consequences." Photos of Paramount Pictures
Tom Cruise in the film “Mission Impossible: Consequences.” Photos of Paramount Pictures

July 26 in the Russian box office came out a sixth of the spy thriller “Mission Impossible”, the main role in which again played Tom Cruise. Despite the 56-year-old age, his Hollywood image of the “superhero” is still attracting millions of viewers to the cinema halls, and, apparently, this is the image the actor plans to develop further. This is indicated by the release of the continuation of the “Best shooter” in 2019 – another cult film Cruise.

The actor was repeatedly criticized for his commitment to Scientology, which, according to media investigations, cost him a relationship with Nicole Kidman and parts of the reputation. However, now with skepticism to the act and act criticism, believing that his current image in the movies – this is only a shadow of its past success.

The Golden Boy of the 1980s

July 3, 1962, while Hollywood was still discussing the recently released “Lolita” Stanley Kubrick, in the small town of Syracuse (New York), Tom Cruise was born. Together with his three sisters, he lived in poverty and from an early age attended the Catholic Church. The house was ruled by a father – a rude man who often beat and humilated Cruz. Against the background of family problems, his health problems, including dyslexia (impaired ability to read and write), worsened.

Coupled with the main problems, the Cruz family constantly moved. For 14 years the actor has replaced 15 schools, including in Canada. This instability deprived him of the opportunity to make friends and overcome dyslexia. After a divorce from his father, his mother returned with children in the US, where Cruz studied for a while at a church school and decided to become a priest. Everything changed at the age of 17 when the young man played in a school play and realized that he wanted to dedicate his life to acting.

My mother taught drama lessons, so I always liked it. I told my parents that I was leaving for New York. I still never planned to go to college. I saved my money and planned to fly to Europe to find a “big stage” there.

Tom Cruise
actor

But the “big scene” had to wait. Two years later, in 1981, Cruz played in his first films: “Endless Love” and “Otboy”. If the role in the first film and remained a line in the biography, the second role was postponed in the memory of the actor. In Otbo, he played a young cadet who, together with friends, defends his military academy from demolition.

Because of the harsh character of the hero and the tragic ending, the originator of which became Cruz’s character, Hollywood perceived him as a man playing only inadequate characters. It almost cost him a role in the movie “Risky business”: director Paul Brickman for about a year looking for the lead role, but when Cruz offered his candidacy, Brickman considered him “abnormal.”

On the shooting of the movie "Best shooter". Photos of Paramount Pictures
On the shooting of the movie “Best shooter”. Photos of Paramount Pictures

At that time, the actor had already played a secondary role in the film “Outcasts” of the Hollywood giant Francis Coppola, and he offered him a new role. However, Cruz firmly decided to break into the picture of Brickman. When he persuaded the director, he had to come to the author of “Apocalypse Now” and “Godfather” and tell him that instead of working with him, he chose a movie about a teenager who discovered the underground business of prostitution.

As time showed, Cruz made the right choice – the role of the young schoolboy Joel Goodson brought the actor worldwide fame, and the film – the love of critics and spectators. From that moment the golden era of the 1980s began for the Cruz. He succeeded not only in the role of stupid but talented handsome men (“The Color of Money”), or heroes of pathos fighters (“Best shooter”), but also more serious role of that decade – “Rain Man” and “Born on July Fourth.”

I knew that the “Best shooter” – this is not the only genre that I get. They came to me and offered to take a sequel. But I knew that I do not have time for a sequel. This time has passed. Then for me the defining moment was the work with Paul Newman and Martin Scorsese [it’s about the picture “Color of Money” – noted] .

Tom Cruise
actor

In 1996, the world met Cruz in the role of Special Agent Ethan Hunt in the Mission Impossible. This series not only revived the public’s interest in spy works, but also provided Cruise with a safety cushion in case of cash failures of other films.

After receiving the opportunity to further audition in a risky movie, three years later, Cruz played in two author’s paintings. In the “Magnolia” Paul Anderson, where he played the role of sex guru, preaching his views on communication with women (“Respect the member”, “Tame the vagina”). And in the last picture of Stanley Kubrick “With wide eyes closed,” which was released after the director’s death.

Cruz talks about his relationship with Kubrick and experiences after the director’s death

The death of Kubrick for a long time tormented Cruise: in 2001 he took part in the filming of the documentary “Stanley Kubrick: Life in the cinema”, where he talked about relations with the director. In the same year in Cruz’s life, another serious event happened – after almost 11 years of marriage, he divorced from Nicole Kidman. Confidently answer the question why this happened, it is unlikely to work. However, it is pointless to deny that in part this could have been implicated in Cruise’s other interest besides cinema – Scientology.

Five sweethearts and one religion

In 1954, when it was easy to find a Bible and a miniature crucifix in most American homes, a veteran of the Second World War and science fiction writer Lafayette Ronald Hubbard founded a new religion called Scientology. The ideology of belief is that a person must regularly undergo the so-called “purification” rite to develop one’s mind and soul.

This “cleansing” goes through a kind of confession, which, like most services in the Church of Scientology, needs to be paid. The higher a person ascends the hierarchical ladder, that is, “reaches mental and mental appeasement”, the more expensive the services become. Expenditures of adherents range from 30 to 300 thousand dollars. Formally, a person can remain on the hierarchical level as much as he wants, but among the adherents of the church this is being blamed.

I think it’s a privilege to call yourself a Scientologist, and that’s what you need to deserve, because Scientologists do just that. He or she has the ability to create new and better realities and conditions. As a Scientologist, you look at someone and know for sure that you can help him.

Tom Cruise
actor

Cruz met Scientology in the late 1980s on the advice of his first wife, Mimi Rogers. According to the actor, it was religion that helped him overcome dyslexia and deal with the psychological problems of childhood. After the death of Hubbard, his place at the head of the church was taken by David Miskevij, who soon became friends with Cruz. As follows from the Vanity Fair investigation, the church leadership considered it very important to keep the actor among its members, so when he divorced from Rogers and married Nicole Kidman, the organization was alert.

Kidman was not interested in Scientology, and her father was a psychologist, to whom Scientologists had been negatively treated for a long time. In addition, over the years, Cruz began to devote more and more time to the family (with Kidman they took from the orphanage two children), moving away from the church. As follows from the documentary of the HBO television channel, in the late 1990s Miskevij gave employees the task to disrupt the relationship of the spouses.

Cruz and Kidman in the late 1990s. Getty Photos
Cruz and Kidman in the late 1990s. Getty Photos

Until the end it is not clear how exactly this operation was organized and whether it actually happened in the way the press describes it. According to some reports , Scientologists installed a wiretap on Kidman’s phone, tried to recruit spouses’ children and told them about how their mother wants to harm the family. Perhaps the role in the disagreement was played by Cruise’s position on psychology – like other Scientologists, he believes that this practice has flourished because of the brutal experiments of the Third Reich.

After the divorce, Kidman Cruz met with the actress Penelope Cruz for about three years, but, as Vanity Fair writes, Miscavige also did not approve of these relations. According to one version, because the Spanish actress did not want to give up her Buddhist views in favor of Scientology.

Tom Cruise receives the highest award of the Church of Scientology, 2004

When the actor broke up with Cruz, Miskevij decided to reduce him to a Scientology girl, supposedly to exclude the risk of leaving the church. As the “agent”, the head of the organization chose actress Nazanin BONIADI: she was introduced to the artist and soon relations began. Everything went well, until the scorched Boniadi once met Miskevidge. As the girl claimed , because of poor health she answered the head of the church indifferently and inattentively, so he got angry with her. Shortly thereafter, Cruz shouted at the girl allegedly for her ignorance, and then ripped all contacts.

Representatives of the Church of Scientology completely deny the story of Boniadi and claim that they never interfered in the personal life of Tom Cruise.

2005 was no less great for tests for Cruz and his religious beliefs. During the Oprah Winfrey show, the actor jumped from the sofa to the floor several times, jumped on one knee and constantly smiled, and then declared: “I’m in love.” A few minutes later, he returned to the studio with his new girlfriend actress Katie Holmes, who, on the advice of her partner, was also interested in Scientology. Since then, the record of the show has been used more than once by Cruise critics as proof of his psychological deviations and was ridiculed in the parody movie “Scary Movie 4”.

An interview with Cruz from Oprah

But what really hurt the reputation of the actor, so this is an unwitting appearance in the “South Park” in November 2005. In the series “Stuck in the closet,” one of the main characters Stan accidentally undergoes a check with Scientologists and is taken for the reincarnation of Hubbard. After that, in a sign of respect for his home comes Cruz, but Stan complains that it would be better to come to him Napoleon Dynamite (comic hero of the early 2000’s). For this actor takes offense and hides in Stan’s closet, flatly refusing to go out.

Tom Cruise in the "South Park"
Tom Cruise in the “South Park”

According to Vanity Fair, the series so offended Cruz that he threatened Paramount Pictures to terminate the shooting agreement “Mission Impossible 3”, if the series is shown again on the air. Since the channel Comedy Central (has the rights to display the “South Park”) and Paramount Pictures common owner, the management gave way.

Throughout the series, the heroes of the “South Park” called Scientology several times “a big scam”, ridiculing its adherents.

In 2012, Cruise and Katie Holmes separated after six years of marriage. According to the court’s decision, their daughter Suri stayed with her mother. Soon after the divorce, the actress returned to the Catholic faith, and her daughter moved to a new private school. Since then, the relationship between father and daughter has been kept at the level of letters, calls and rare meetings, but in July 2018 in the media there was unconfirmed information that the actor allegedly plans to remedy this situation. With what it is connected – is unknown.

Tom Cruise without Ethan Hunt

If you type on “The best tricks of Tom Cruise” on YouTube, you can watch for a long time as an actor climbs on rocks, jumps on houses, arranges chases on high-speed motorcycles and conquers skyscrapers. Hard to deny – a weighty part of his career Cruz built on the risk and fearlessness.

In the 1980s, he spent months to learn how to pilot the F-14 jet fighter for the “Best shooter”. No one forced Cruz, because there were enough stuntmen in Hollywood, but the actor fulfilled the childhood dream of becoming a pilot. Since then, he professionally flies on airplanes and helicopters.

During the filming of “Mission Impossible 2” the actor insisted that he would perform the initial climbing scene himself. When he just expressed this idea, director John Woo opposed it sharply, but Cruz did it anyway. Because of the sunny weather, the episode was photographed seven times, but the actor did not seem to be upset. “Tom kept saying:” It’s fine, John, do not worry, I want to do it again “, – Wu recalled .

How to shoot the climbing scene in “Mission Impossible 2”

It’s enough to read several interviews of Cruz to understand one of his main working principles – he always tries to immerse himself in all the details. Since the first roles, the actor watches all the films of the directors with whom he will work. He learns the language spoken by his character (“Operation Valkyrie” about the officers of the Third Reich), or holds 12 hours a day for billiards, to learn how to play the same way as the hero in “The Color of Money”.

A similar rule is followed by the director Michael Mann, who in 2004 shot the film “Partner” with Cruz in the title role. According to the actor, the author of the film met with real assassins and operatives of secret services in order to build a cold-blooded image of the main character. Mann came up with a character biography and photographed the places where he grew up, and then sent them to Cruz.

Shot from the film "Participant"
Shot from the film “Participant”

The second principle of the actor is physical preparation. In 2018, he turned 56, but in a new part of the Mission Impossible, he moves almost on a par with the 35-year-old Henry Cavill. According to Cruz, to maintain the form, he regularly swims on a kayak, is engaged in speleotourism, fencing, lifting weights, climbing, walking and running.

In a sense, every new part of Mission Impossible became a personal board for Cruz. Here it hangs from a multi-storey building in Dubai in the “Phantom Protocol”, relying only on one safety rope. But four years later, the 53-year-old actor clings to the plating of the take-off plane and repeats this trick eight times for a better take. In “Consequences” Cruz went on and jumped out of the plane at an altitude of about 7600 meters. He opened the parachute only 600 meters to the ground. As Esquire writes , earlier no Hollywood actor performed such a trick.

A detailed analysis of the jump of Cruz from an airplane in “Mission Impossible: Consequences”

However, it is difficult not to notice that the last time Cruz played a serious dramatic role in 2008. In the film Operation Valkyrie, he played the role of the German officer Klaus Schenck von Stauffenberg, who together with his accomplices committed an attempt on Adolf Hitler in the last years of World War II.

Ten years have passed since that role. The actor has changed, although the old one is still difficult to name. In “Consequences” he participates in motorcycle chases without a helmet, climbs the rope in a flying helicopter and controls it himself, and then fights against a group of enemies. It took him only six weeks to recover from an ankle fracture during the filming of “Consequences”, although by that time his leg had not yet healed.

Storyboard unsuccessful jump, during which Cruz broke his ankle, but still pulled to the roof and ran out of the frame

But after more or less successful attempts by Cruz to seem younger, one can clearly see how his repertoire has changed. The actor, once balancing between costly fighters and risky dramas, disappeared. Instead, he remained an impressive, but still an ambiguous hero.

In 2019, “Best shooter 2” comes out – the one that young Cruz once refused to work with Scorsese.

Spectators are used to seeing Cruz as a superhero: strong, smiling and brave. His characters are almost never mistaken, and if they are mistaken, they are always corrected on time. This tendency was noticed by the director Doug Lyman, who took Cruz to the main role in “The Face of the Future”. There, his pathetic look briefly dissipated – he looked like an ordinary clumsy man in an exoskeleton, who was completely unborn to save the world. But besides Lyman, no one else experimented like that.

Both the Western and Russian press recognize that old age will catch up with Cruz, however much he tries to ignore it. True, no one can answer what he will do after that, what genres will go and, most importantly, whether these genres will bring him as much joy as the fighters bring. It’s enough to look at the videos from the next series about Ethan Hunt, to understand how much Cruz loves adrenaline, and how much will miss him.

In one of his first major interviews, in 1986, the 24-year-old Cruz said he wanted to continue playing “great heroes” in the distant future. As an example, the actor brought 61-year-old Paul Newman – he played with a young man in the film “The color of money.”

I’m still growing up! God forbid, if I do everything I dream about, until I’m 26 years old. When I get to Newman’s age, I plan to continue to play the role of excellent characters. I hope that the audience and everyone understands that I’m still growing. I feel the energy within me. I plan to work hard to achieve the maximum level of myself as an artist. I’m seriously killing for this. Because I know what I want to become.

Tom Cruise
actor
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