For nearly 40 years, Tom Cruise has been one of the biggest movie stars in the world. From his breakout role in Top Gun to the franchise lead in Mission Impossible, few stars boast the resume that Cruise has. He’s also worth a cool $500 million. He’s kind of a big deal. With four decades of movies under his belt, it’s fair to assume a lot of interesting things have happened behind the scenes. Here are the craziest Tom Cruise movie secrets you need to know!
He Won’t Sign Onto A Movie Unless He Gets To Do His Own Stunts
Tom Cruise famously performs the most dangerous stunts in all his movies. Watch any Mission Impossible movie, and it’s shocking how much danger the action star is willing to put himself in. Cruise reportedly refuses to sign onto movies that won’t let him do his stunts.
Say a movie wants to cast Cruise but won’t let him jump from high rise to high rise for a critical chase scene. The producers better start looking for a different, more risk-averse actor. Tom Cruise feels the need, the need for speed!
He Took Lead Role In Valkyrie Because He Looked Like The Real Person
The movie Valkyrie is based on the true story of Colonel von Stauffenberg’s assassination attempt on Hitler during World War II. When Cruise was offered the role, there was no sales pitch that convinced him to sign on. Instead, he noticed that he bared a striking resemblance to the German soldier.
Cruise was sold, proving sometimes looks are all that matters. The movie was a moderate success, earning $200 million worldwide. Doing his own stunts has its downfalls. Coming up, the time Tom Cruise broke his ankle jumping onto a building!
Mission Impossible: Fallout Literally Broke Tom Cruise
Mission Impossible: Fallout came close to missing its summer 2018 release date after Tom Cruise broke his ankle performing a stunt. The film had to take a break from filming in 2017 after Cruise couldn’t stick his landing after a scary jump. The hiatus put the movie’s release in serious doubt.
Never doubt Tom Cruise, though. After a brutal seven-week recovery, cameras were able to roll again. He also continued punishing his body by doing his stunts. All his hard work paid off. A seventh movie in the profitable franchise is already being planned.
The Last Samurai Almost Killed Tom Cruise
Tom Cruise earned an Academy Award nomination for his role in The Last Samurai. If it wasn’t for his co-star saving his life, we’d be writing a very different article right now. Using real samurai swords rigged for safety was a bad idea when one of the rigs broke.
The sword came one inch from Cruise’s neck before Hiroyuki Sanada stopped it. That reminds us of the helicopter scene at the end of the first Mission Impossible! Somehow it always comes back to Ethan Hunt. Up next, all the drama that came with his casting in Interview With A Vampire.
Anne Rice Hated His Casting In Interview With A Vampire
Without author Anne Rice, there would be no Interview With The Vampire. Having written the book, she was not happy to see the film cast Tom Cruise in the role of the vampire Lestat. She was so upset with his selection that she publicly criticized Cruise and everyone involved with the film.
After the movie came out, Rice changed her tune. It turns out Tom Cruise was perfect for Lestat, and he proved it with his performance. To apologize, Rice bought a two-page ad in Daily Variety praising Cruise’s portrayal of her most famous vampire. For another role, no apologies were needed because it created it himself!
Les Grossman Was Created For Tropic Thunder By Cruise
When Ben Stiller was struggling to write Tropic Thunder he had Tom Cruise read the script. Cruise suggested he include a movie executive in the film as a way to create pressure on the characters. Later, he decided to play the role of Les Grossman himself, under two very odd conditions.
The first condition was the character have fat hands. The second condition was that the bald and overweight studio executive be a dancer. And that is how one of the most memorable characters in movie history was created.
The Iconic Risky Business Dance Was Adlibbed
Even if you’ve never seen Risky Business, you’ve probably seen Tom Cruise’s infamous underwear dance. According to the actor, he made up the routine himself, on the spot, “that’s something that I did as a kid at home.” Admit it; you’ve done that at some point in your life, too.
But how did he stick the landing on his slide to enter the scene? As he explains, “I dusted the floor and then put stick (tape) on the other side so I would get center frame on that and wore the socks.” Is there anything Tom Cruise can’t do? Keep reading to find out!
The Mummy Was A Real Monster Behind The Scenes
The Mummy was supposed to start Universal’s “Dark Universe.” That is until Tom Cruise got his hands on it. According to reports, Cruise took over every aspect of the film, from the story to the direction, and even the editing.
Despite having a team hired by Universal, Cruise brought in his own editor and screenwriter, then wrangled control of the direction away from Alex Kurtzman. For all his meddling, Cruise’s version of The Mummy earned terrible reviews and scared audiences away. Made for $190 million, the film only grossed $80 million stateside.
Cruise Destroyed A $100,000 Camera Filming Days Of Thunder
Tom Cruise’s “need for speed” is iconic, and it got the better of him while filming Days of Thunder. Playing NASCAR driver Cole Trickle, Cruise drove his stock car during several scenes. In one scene he lost control of the car and crashed into a wall, destroying a $100,000 camera in the process. Oops!
Hut Stricklin, a NASCAR driver, was consulted on the movie tried to warn Cruise that stock cars are designed to turn left but, “He didn’t really know what I was talking about.” We think he probably got the message after the movie studio sent him the bill. Still ahead, the movie Cruise put his reputation, and salary, on the line for.
He Didn’t Get Paid For Minority Report
Tom Cruise was so passionate to film the 2002 film Minority Report with Steven Spielberg that he refused to take a paycheck. Spielberg refused money also, something he claimed to have on his last eight films. Instead of getting money upfront, the pair cut a deal to earn 15 percent of the movie’s gross.
Minority Report made $358 million worldwide, netting Cruise and Spielberg around $54 million each. That’s pretty amazing. They took a chance on a passion project and it paid off big time!
He Was A Passenger In A Car Accident During Filming For Edge Of Tomorrow
For Edge Of Tomorrow, Emily Blunt had to drive a van with Tom Cruise as her passenger. The van needed to be seen shaking for one particular scene, so producers had Blunt make a hard turn at a pretty high speed. But she lost control and the van crashed into a tree.
She was upset that she could have injured (or even killed) Cruise, but fortunately, they both walked away unharmed. And even laughed about the incident later.
One Stunt He Didn’t Perform
We know that Tom Cruise prefers to perform even the most dangerous stunts himself. But according to director Martin Scorsese, there was one stunt that he didn’t complete when filming the 1986 drama The Color of Money.
His character had to perform a bunch of complicated pool shots, which wasn’t a problem for Cruise. Except for one: a shot where his ball had to leap over two others and sink a third. Scorsese said that he thinks Cruise could have made the shot but it would have taken two days. And that’s just too long during movie production, so an expert was brought in to do the shot.
He Broke His Thumb Making The Outsiders
The 1983 coming-of-age drama The Outsiders featured a fight between two rival gangs, the Greasers and the Socs. Things got pretty out of control during filming and one of Cruise’s thumbs was broken in the scuffle.
He wasn’t the only one to get hurt in the fight, either; two of Cruise’s fellow actors were also injured. Tom Howell got a black eye and Emilio Estevez’s lip was cut. That must have been quite a brawl!
He Lost A Lot Of Weight For Risky Business
The creators of Risky Business really wanted Tom Cruise to be as baby-faced as possible. To prepare for the role, he got serious about dropping weight fast. He told People that he followed a strict eating plan and jogged daily in the brutal Florida sunshine for five weeks. And then when he hit his target weight, he stopped exercising completely “so I could put on a little layer of baby fat.”
“[Joel Goodson is] a very vulnerable person,” Tom explained. “I didn’t want any physical defenses up for him. No muscle armor at all.”
Tom Cruise Has An Impressive Set Of Lungs
For 2015’s Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, Tom Cruise had to hold his breath for almost six and a half minutes! We knew he did all his own stunts but this might be one of the craziest of them. He called the experience unpleasant, but explained his training technique to EW.
“You get rid of the regulator, get rid of the bubbles, get on the side and we wanted to do it one shot, so they were very, very long shots,” he said. “I’d have to hold it consistently, you know safely, up to four minutes almost for every take.”
He Really Sang In Rock Of Ages
For the 2012 musical Rock of Ages, Tom Cruise insisted on singing his own parts. Of course he did, right? He trained for four months, up to five hours each day to perfect his voice.
Cruise also filmed the scene where he sang “Pour Some Sugar On Me” while Def Leppard (the band that originally performed the song) watched. The guy just doesn’t like to make things easy for himself.
Born On The Third Of July
In the 1989 war drama Born on the Fourth of July, Tom Cruise played a real-life Vietnam War veteran named Ron Kovic. Kovic was actually born on the 4th of July, as the title indicates.
It turns out that Cruise and Kovic almost share the birthday. Cruise was born on July 3, though, just a day early. Audiences didn’t mind the discrepancy (as if they were even aware of it), as the film pulled in $161 million worldwide.
He Wasn’t Expecting Emily Blunt To Kiss Him In Edge Of Tomorrow
Maybe he hadn’t read the script thoroughly, because it sounds like Tom Cruise was surprised when Emily Blunt kissed him during filming for Edge of Tomorrow. She opened up about the moment to Yahoo. “I mean, [it was] great. I don’t think he was expecting it. I just sort of planted one on him,” she said.
Blunt continued, “I think he was a bit taken aback. He was like, ‘Oh my god! This is what we’re doing.’ Well, Tom had read the scene but he hadn’t really read the stage directions. There were some new pages.”
He Holds A Huge Box Office Record
We already know that his movies rake in tons of money at the box office, but Tom Cruise holds another distinction in that area. He became the first actor ever to star in five consecutive movies that each made more than $100 million in the United States.
The films were A Few Good Men (1992), The Firm (1993), Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles (1994), and Jerry Maguire in 1996. That’s a pretty good run for the money.
Cruise Inspired A Character In A Movie He Wasn’t Even In
Although he’s been in some live-action Disney movies, Tom Cruise hasn’t yet voiced an animated character for the studio. However, he was the inspiration for a very famous Disney prince. Can you guess which one? Turns out that Aladdin was based on the actor!
While providing commentary for the 2004 DVD release of the film, producers revealed that executive Jeffrey Katzenberg decided that the animation should be modeled after Cruise because of his “iconic hero” look.