- Cruise, Tom
- (July 3, 1962– )Born Thomas Cruise Mapother IV,Tom Cruise dropped his father’s surname after his parents’ divorce when he was an adolescent. Cruise saw his father very little after that, until one final visit as his father lay dying of cancer. Cruise told Vanity Fair: “He was very, very . . . ah . . . tough on me. Ver y, very tough. In many ways. . . . Physically. . . . I mean, now you’d call it abuse. As a kid, I had a lot of hidden anger about that. I’d get hit, and I didn’t understand it. ” In 1980, Cruise joined the Glen Ridge (New Jersey) High School production of Guys and Dolls, after a leg injury forced him off the school’s wrestling squad. He recalls,“All of a sudden, I felt like I knew what I was doing. I got all this attention, and it just felt right. ”Within a year, he was appearing on the big screen, in Taps (1981), but his first film role was a small part in Endless Love (1981). “I didn’t know who Franco Zeffirelli was,” Cruise admits. “It was just a bunch of people wanting me to read. ” Next came a role in Francis Ford Coppola’s The Outsiders (1983), which Cruise was filming when he tested for his breakthrough role as Joel Goodson in Paul Brickman’s sleeper hit Risky Business (1983). For that film, Cruise won the Golden Globe Award for best actor. His next major role came in All the Right Moves (1983), in which he portrays a young man hoping that his football prowess will help him escape life in the depressed steel town in which he grew up. Following his role in Ridley Scott’s Legend, Cruise portrayed a fearless jet pilot in Tony Scott’s Top Gun, the number-one film at the box office in 1986. Then, Cruise began to establish a more serious reputation as an actor, costarring with Paul Newman in Martin Scorsese’s The Color of Money (1986); with Dustin Hoffman in Barry Levinson’s Rain Man (1988; a performance that Molly Haskell called “magnificent, generous); and starring in Oliver Stone’s Born on the Fourth of July (1989) as paralyzed Vietnam veteran Ron Kovic.In 1994, already a huge international star, Cruise surprisingly attended Denver’s StarCon, a science fiction convention, to promote the film version of Anne Rice’s popular 1976 novel Interview With the Vampire. There, in response to Anne Rice’s initial strong objections to having him play the lead role of Lestat, Cruise told Fangoria: “Originally, Anne [Rice] didn’t think I was right for it; she was trying to protect these characters that she created and loved. . . . When Anne did see the movie, and she saw how her material was handled . . . she had enough grace and class to acknowledge what Neil [Jordan] and the other actors had accomplished. That meant a great deal to me. ” One of Cruise’s most profusely lauded performances was in the title role in Cameron Crowe’s Jerry Maguire (1996), which earned Cruise the Golden Globe Award nomination, Academy Award nomination, Screen Actors Guild Award nomination, and National Board of Review Award, all for best actor; the Golden Satellite Award, best actor in a comedy or musical motion picture; MTV Movie Award, best male performance; and Blockbuster Entertainment Award, favorite actor in a comedy or romance. So far, the Oscar has eluded Tom Cruise, but he remains one of the top male stars, in terms of box-office draw, in the world; and Janet Maslin calls Cruise a real “oldfashioned movie star. ”Cruise’s tremendous star appeal made him Kubrick’s top choice for the male lead in EYES WIDE SHUT (1999), the great director’s underappreciated swan song. In his book Eyes Wide Open, Frederic Raphael relates a conversation which he had with Kubrick, in which the director describes having Tom Cruise and NICOLE KIDMAN come to his house to read the script:“They came out here to the house, by helicopter . . . landed right out there on the lawn. Sat right over there while I told them about the picture. They held hands. It was sweet. Now and again they’d kinda consult together. He’d look at her, she’d look at him and he’d say, ‘Okay, Nic?’ and she’d say, ‘If it is with you. ’ . . . It was kinda touching. ” Of the match-up of Cruise and Kubrick, Molly Haskell writes:“You have to admire the actor for taking virtually three years out of his career at his bankable prime to offer himself up to the erratic genius of Stanley Kubrick. If the movie proved to be a disaster of overreaching, it was not Mr. Cruise’s but Kubrick’s fault, inasmuch as the director wanted to have it both ways: a moody art film with a Hollywood marquee star to boost the budget and bring in the crowds. The sexual insecurity and introspective bent of the protagonist in the Arthur Schnitzler novel . . . is something Mr. Cruise simply can’t project. The reflective spirit of an intellectual, self-doubting man, anxious about middle age, is not in his repertory. ” On working with Stanley Kubrick, Cruise offers: “He doesn’t waste time; he’s not indulgent. He worked seven days a week. I got faxes from him at 3, 4 in the morning with scenes. . . . He’s not pretentious at all. Suddenly he’ll say something to you, or you’ll see how he creates a shot, and you realize this man is different; this man is profound . . . He takes his time. It takes him a long time to find a good story and something that he’s interested in. He just works on the script and keeps working on it. . . . But I gotta tell you, it’s very relaxed on the set. And he’s got a wonderful sense of humor. There are a lot of misconceptions about Stanley. ”After Kubrick’s death, Cruise was jealously protective of Eyes Wide Shut, insisting on protecting Kubrick’s vision to the best of his ability. When an NC-17 rating seemed imminent, Cruise proclaimed that anyone who intended to alter Kubrick’s cut would have to go through him first. Nonetheless, the version released in the U. S. contained digital imaging, which blocked out offending areas of the frame in the notorious orgy sequence. The official story says that Kubrick himself had prepared this version in anticipation of difficulties with the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA).As with any big star, Tom Cruise’s life has been subjected to intense scrutiny, criticism, and speculation from the press. Some writers have fixated on Cruise’s involvement with the Church of Scientology, founded by the late science fiction author L. Ron Hubbard, suggesting that the church controls every aspect of the actor’s life. Cruise steadfastly refuses to discuss his religion with the press. In August, 1998, Cruise’s lawyers threatened action over a book about homosexuality in the entertainment industry. The book discussed the rumors concerning Cruise’s sexuality, although the author and publisher insisted the book did not portray Cruise as gay. The letter from Cruise’s lawyers stated that while Cruise is not gay, he “does not disapprove of people who lead a homosexual lifestyle. ”In the 1990s,Tom Cruise branched out into producing, with tremendous success. He shared with Paula Wagner the 1996 Nova Award for most promising producer in theatrical motion pictures, awarded by the Producers Guild of America, for Mission: Impossible. Cruise’s other producing credits include Without Limits (1998), Mission: Impossible II (2000), The Others (2001), and Vanilla Sky (2001), and the upcoming Criminal Conversation. In the summer of 2000, Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman gave their generous support to a Stanley Kubrick retrospective at New York’s premier repertory cinema, Film Forum.References■ Chase, Chris, “At the Movies,” New York Times, August 5, 1983, p. C-8;■ Cruise,Tom, interview with Cameron Crowe, Interview 16, no. 5 (May 1986);■ Cruise, Tom, letter to the editor in “Cruise Control,” Premiere, September 1993, p. 89;■ “Cruise,Tom,” in Contemporary Theatre, Film and Television, vol. 26;■ Ginsberg, Merle, “Major Tom,” W, January 1997, p. 109+;■ Goldstein, Patrick, “Tom Cruise,” Rolling Stone, May 28, 1992, p. 36+;■ Haskell, Molly, “Tom Cruise, Team Player,” New York Times, April 30, 2000, sec. 2A, p. 10+;■ Higgins, Bill,“Once and For All: Tom Cruise Is Not Gay,” Variety, August 31, 1998, p. 4+;■ McDonnell, David, “Lestat Speaks!” Fangoria 139 (1994): 38+;■ Rensin, David, “20 Questions:Tom Cruise,” Playboy (ca. 1986): 107+;■ Roach, Mary, “TomBoy,” USA Weekend, May 17–19, 1986, p. 4–6; Sessums, Kevin. “Cruise Speed,” Vanity Fair, October 1994, p. 190+;■ “Tom Cruise: ‘Charlie Babbitt,’” press book for Rain Man, ca. 1988;■ “Tom Cruise: Biography,” press book for Losin’ It, Embassy Pictures Publicity Dept. , ca. 1982;■ Weinraub, Bernard,“Cruise Talks but Cat Stays in the Bag,” New York Times, September 15, 1998, p. 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The Encyclopedia of Stanley Kubrick. Gene D. Phillips Rodney Hill. 2002.