Amid the hype surrounding Tom Cruise’s upcoming sequel Top Gun Maverick and its recent landing at the Cannes Film Festival, several press outlets noted one dubious detail from the French Riviera fête.
A video tribute played during the festival that celebrated Cruise’s life and career but curiously excluded Nicole Kidman, the actor’s wife of 11 years, mother of his oldest two children and co-star of three movies. After meeting on 1990’s Days of Thunder, the pair also headlined 1992’s Far and Away and 1999’s long-in-the-works Stanley Kubrick swan song, Eyes Wide Shut.
It’s hard to say which of those films would be the definitive Cruise-Kidman collab, but a case could definitely be made for Far and Away, Ron Howard’s sweeping romantic epic released in theaters 30 years ago Sunday.
As Howard told Yahoo Entertainment during a 2016 Director’s Reel interview, Far and Away “was kind of their honeymoon project” (watch above, with Far and Away starting at 3:42).
“And that feeling kind of permeated the movie,” added Howard, who also called the film “a great adventure” and said he “really enjoyed working with Tom and Nicole.”
Filming began in May 1991, just five months after Cruise and Kidman tied the knot. They played 1890s Irish immigrants (he a laborer, she the daughter of aristocrats) who flee to America together for the promise of owning their own property — eventually taking part in the Land Run of 1893.
Though it was the ninth feature film directed by the Andy Griffith Show and Happy Days child actor-turned-director, the genesis of the project dated much further back.
“Far and Away really began probably when I was 6 years old, maybe 7, and I visited my great-grandmother in Kansas,” Howard told us. “And she pulled out of her drawer this newspaper and it was from the 1890s, and it was a photo for the Oklahoma land rush starting line. And she thought that her future husband was in the lead on a horse.”
That character would become Cruise’s Joseph Donnelly.
Cruise and Kidman divorced in 2001, two years after the release of Eyes Wide Shut.