Tom Cruise is currently out there promoting his latest cinematic adrenaline-jacked masterpiece, Top Gun: Maverick. And his latest stop has been in Cannes, at the Cannes Film Festival. And Tom Cruise himself would like you to know that he’s not just some guy who spends 120 minutes running away from stuff or jumping onto things or while you shove handfuls of greasy popcorn in your mouths. He’s THE guy to do all of that. According to Tom Cruise, his face is up there in the pantheon of top-of-their-game icons like Gene Kelly.
The Guardian says that during a Q&A about Tom’s career, he talked about working with Stanley Kubrick, and direct-to-streaming films (Tom says there’s no way he was going to let Top Gun: Maverick skip a theatrical release). But generally, the conversation was about how much effort Tom Cruise puts into his work. Tom Cruise is notorious for wanting to do his own stunts, to various degrees of success or emergency room traction. So Tom was asked why, at 59-years-old, he’s still charging around like he’s some kind of showbiz super-soldier.
[Moderator Didier] Allouch became serious and asked him about doing all his own super-dangerous stunts. “You are a family man with children! Why do it?” Tom was ready for this one: “Would you ask Gene Kelly why he does all his own dancing?”
It would have been great if the follow-up question to that had been, “Quick, name those children I just mentioned, and try to estimate the last time you saw the youngest one.” But like I said previously, Tom was there to talk movies, not his allegedly Scientology-complicated relationship with 1/3 of his kids.
But back to Gene Kelly. Tom’s comment about being driven to do his own stunt work in the same way Gene Kelly couldn’t help but tippity tap his toes makes it seem like Tom’s desire to do stunts is some kind of gift the universe blessed him with. And sure, some people might not think hanging from a waist-wire harness off the side of a cliff is talent. But I think it’s definitely a type of skill worthy of bragging about. Clearly, Tom has some kind of hyper-trained neurological spacial orientation and equilibrioception that allows him to remain in full control of his body as he’s running and jumping and pumping his arms like he just got his hands on a new E-meter. Had he not, he might be unable to perform even the most basic of stunt work. And like Gene Kelly, Tom Cruise is very good on his feet. Let’s see someone else jump backward onto Oprah’s couch and successfully stick the landing!