Tom Cruise, now approaching the age of 60, has never reacted calmly to frustration. This week, his carefully structured life was put on hold by the delays of his two announced mega films: The Top Gun continuation and the seventh Impossible mission.
Can Hollywood survive another year without Cruise? Or can Cruise?
The egos of stars sink into paranoia even at the best of times and it’s the worst, with celebrities around the world finding themselves sidelined. Besides film delays, China has now declared war on celebrities and pop stars in general. Could others follow suit? (More on this below.)
Celebrity narcissism is normally a cringe, but this time I sympathize with Cruise for his frankness and tenacity. “I need some action,” Cruise once told me, a half-crazy look in his eyes. He had just produced and played in Lions for lambs, a brave anti-war film about two young soldiers who had served in Afghanistan. Robert Redford had directed and co-starred. He bombed.
“Top Gun: Maverick” flies Thanksgiving through Memorial Day weekend; ‘Mission: Impossible 7’ ignites in fall 2022
His own company had funded and released the film, and its failure was a blow to Cruise’s ego as well as United Artists, the company he had recently acquired with manager Paula Wagner. Suddenly, the unthinkable had happened: Tom Cruise apparently had nothing more to do.
That was 15 years ago and he has never let that happen again, backing his successive successes, promoting each with relentless zeal. Paramount previously canceled Cruise’s deal due to an ego war with Chairman Sumner Redstone, but the studio had now decided to give him what he wanted.
Then came the Delta whiplash. Suddenly Top Gun: Maverick, the super suite, has been postponed from November 2021 to May 2022. To accommodate it, Mission: Impossible 7 was postponed from May to September 2022 (both co-produced with Skydance). How could this have happened to a man whose films had grossed $ 10 billion worldwide?
Certainly, other studios seem to follow suit, a repetition of the ritual repressions of a year ago. Indeed, the outlook for entertainment in general had turned bleak again – especially in China, whose government oddly views entertainment as a cultural enemy.
The current mandate in China is to curb the “cult of celebrities”. His cyberspace administration now bans any site promoting fan clubs or ranking celebrities by popularity. The names of big stars like Zheng Shuang or Zhao Wei are being erased online. As part of President Xi’s “national rejuvenation”, censors have also been ordered to put an end to “sissies” or other characters in movies or on television who suggest “abnormal aesthetics.” .
While celebrities outside of China do not face an aesthetic test, their managers are well aware of another cultural phenomenon: current stars and influencers trace their influence to TikTok or Instagram and their income to YouTube. , not to traditional media. New celebrities can be stock pickers or fashionistas, but not movie stars. Like Mel Ottenberg, the new editor-in-chief of Magazine interview, says, “People always want superficiality to fill the narcissistic void – hence TikTok.”
While his films may be delayed, Cruise still symbolizes a more traditional version of fame: a celebrity whose business is entertainment, not product launches.
He set his sights on mainstream hits like Jerry maguire and A few good men, and also behind risky companies like Born July 4 Where Thunder in the tropics. Cruise had his business stumbles, like Rock of ages (2012) or The Mummy (2017) and his ardent advocacy for Scientology opened him to criticism, especially in Europe.
Yet Cruise’s professionalism has always impressed his filmmakers, even early in his career. Francis Coppola remembers the shoot The foreigners in 1981, a film that offered escape opportunities not only to Cruise but also to young rivals like Rob Lowe, C. Thomas Howell and Patrick Swayze. “Each night, while his co-stars partied, Cruise would lock himself in his room, studying his lines and trying to figure out how to become an actor,” Coppola recalls. In less than a year, Cruise starred in Risky business while his friends were looking for work.
And now Cruise is looking for work. It won’t last long.
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