Pretty much everyone who has worked with Tom Cruise says the same thing. We were particularly impressed with this quote by “Cabin In The Woods” director Drew Goddard, who described his 2008 meeting with the legend in Entertainment Weekly:
“That was definitely one of those surreal experiences.
“It was wonderful. I mean, Tom Cruise — at least in my experience with him — I’ve never met a more enthusiastic, creative, and supportive person.
“He has that energy and to feel that energy directed towards you about you, it’s like a drug. It’s wonderful.
“He was so excited about the script and so complimentary and really just pointed out scenes in the movie that he felt we should bring out more. And he was totally right.”
Amazing, right? After seeing this quote (which also appears in the new Joss Whedon biography we have been covering obsessively), we were inspired to look up more descriptions of what it’s like to work with Cruise.
“He has the best reputation in the industry, by far,” screenwriter Ken Miyamoto wrote of Cruise on Quora. “He works his arse off and has this utter positive energy that he brings to the development phase, the set, and beyond. He’s the hardest working actor in the industry (and most that have worked with him have said so) and he’s known as one of the nicest actors to work with.”
“He’s so sweet and generous,” said the actress. “And such a pro at this stuff. He was so emboldening and encouraging. I wanted to do my own stunts because he does his own stunts.”
“Oblivion” screenwriter Karl Gajdusek also spoke positively of working with Cruise.
“He’s a very good collaborator,” Gajdusek told ScreenwritingU of his experience working out of Cruise’s house for about three weeks during one phase of the writing process. “The reason he wants to work with you is that you’re spending more hours a day on this thing than he is, and if you don’t know it — in some ways better than him — and can resist ideas when they don’t seem right for the film, then you’re useless, you’re just a stenographer. … That’s not to say that he didn’t win arguments. He usually wins the argument.”
During their working relationship, “We talked constantly,” Kingsley says. “He was an insomniac. I liked the fact that he was so much fun. And he was so thoughtful. He remembered birthdays, my daughter’s birthday. He came to her wedding; she was registered somewhere for the china, and he bought out everything. They have got things they haven’t even opened yet, and they have been together 15 years!”
Cruise’s infamous ties to Scientology supposedly played a role in his split with Kingsley and have dogged the actor for years. His intensity has sometimes led to controversy too, like when he started jumping like crazy on Oprah’s couch. But what concerns there are about Cruise tend to be outweighed by his star power and personal charisma.
Perhaps the greatest story about Tom Cruise comes from comedian Bill Hader, who shot promos for the2010 MTV Movie Awardswith the actor as their “Tropic Thunder” characters — Cruise as movie mogul Les Grossman, Hader as his lackey.
While filming the promos in Los Angeles, new dad Hader heard that a man had tried to set off a car bomb in Times Square, near where his wife and new baby lived, and couldn’t reach them.
When Cruise saw the nervous look on Hader’s face, he took action.
“He comes over and he’s like, ‘Are you ok, man?'” Hader recalled what happened next to Vulture:
“He thinks for a second. ‘We’ll get you home tonight.’ And in that moment, Tom Cruise, as Les Grossman, in a karate gi, began to direct all my coverage,” Hader explained. “All my footage, all my close-ups. Boom! We do three perfect takes. Boom, boom, boom. Everyone’s chest-butting each other, some people are chest-butting themselves, people are going insane.” Two days’ worth of work, Hader said, “and he got it done in 45 minutes.” Then Katie Holmes came up to him and handed him a piece of paper with his new flight information. “You’re on the red eye tonight,” she told him. “I’m like, ‘What?!'” Hader said. Because Cruise got him out of work and on a plane that night, he was able to surprise his wife and daughter by 7:45 the next morning and check in on them in person. “So that’s what it’s like to work with Tom Cruise,” Hader said.
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