Tom Cruise on Why He Endangers His Life for Stunts: ‘No One Asked Gene Kelly, ‘Why Do You Dance?”

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Tom Cruise showed just why he’s the biggest movie star in the world with his 45-minute masterclass at the Cannes Film Festival.

The sold-out crowd at the Grand Palais’ Debussy theater waited in line patiently for an hour under the blazing afternoon sun and could barely contain their impatience as festival director Thierry Fremaux introduced the event. They watched a montage of the actor’s most memorable scenes — set to Richard Strauss’ “Also sprach Zarathustra” — then broke out in frenzied applause during the famous lip-synching sequence from “Risky Business.”

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As soon as Cruise hit the stage, he received a standing ovation.

Following the retrospective nature of the montage, the main thrust of Cruise’s narrative during the event was looking back at his career, with an emphasis on learning the craft of cinema. The actor talked about learning from his directors, cinematographers and producers with anecdotes from the sets of “Taps” and “Eyes Wide Shut,” among others.

Cruise recalled working with legendary director Stanley Kubrick on the 1999 erotic psychological drama “Eyes Wide Shut.”

“We spent a lot of time talking about different lighting and lenses, and the tone that he wanted in the movie. He wanted it [to be] unsettling … in his own kind of style, and it was something that we had to discover.”

“I’ve had some incredible times in my life. And I understand the business. I’ve been studying and learning all the way,” Cruise said.

“Preparation is everything. Even if you throw it away, it doesn’t matter,” Cruise added. “I don’t want people to see the work behind it. They don’t know the work behind it. And I don’t want them to see it. I just want them to experience the world.”

The constant learning is in aid of serving his audience, Cruise said. “I love my audience. I make movies for audiences. … I make movies for the big screen,” Cruise said.

When asked if Paramount asked him to consider releasing “Top Gun: Maverick” on a streaming platform during the pandemic, the actor said, “That was never going to happen.”

Speaking about why he endangered his life for stunts on the “Mission: Impossible” films, Cruise said: “No one asked Gene Kelly, ‘Why do you dance?'” He also reminisced about jumping off the roof of his house using a bedsheet as a parachute as a child.

“I always thought there’s something that I can do and I wanted to push the art form, I thought, ‘How can I immerse an audience into a movie with this kind of action? And how can I entertain them? What can I do?'”

When Cruise wanted to make “Mission: Impossible,” he says his friends told him: “That’s a terrible idea. It’s a television series.”

As for what lies ahead, Cruise said, “I always know there’s another story. I’m thinking for future always, thinking, ‘What’s the next and what’s the next.'”

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