Thursday, 5 August 2010

'A kid from New Jersey, wrestler...'

Y'know, I once sat in a booth at Trader Vic’s in Hollywood with Tom Cruise and Claudia Schiffer, inter alia. I hadn’t invited them to join me, it was my booth, I was just sitting there drinking Wild Turkey and I suppose I could have told them to sling it. Instead, it was me who crept away, left the great ones to their symposium... What I did notice – it was Awards Night next door, and Cruise had been nominated but came out empty-handed – was how exceptionally, avidly pleasant and enthused Cruise was being to everybody, especially winners; but then so companionable was the mood he made that maybe even a schlump like me could have stuck around longer…
On today’s Guardian my friend Ryan Gilbey writes about the inevitable usurpation of Cruise by Leonardo DiCaprio as Hollywood’s biggest male star. If you get to #1 the one thing you know for sure is you won’t always be there, but Cruise had an amazing run. DiCaprio is a brilliant actor and deserves every success. Cruise has done some good work in some good movies, but there are some notable offences in the oeuvre and the persona to consider also. What has to be respected is his work ethic. Ryan quotes adeptly from Sean Penn: His Life and Times, Sean talking about his work with Cruise on Taps when both were barely out of their teens:
"This was a guy who was ready for his chance, no question about it. He wouldn't have known that himself – he was second-guessing everything all the time. But that didn't stop him from committing when it was time. Cruise was so . . . like he was training for the fucken Olympics. I think he was the first person I ever said 'Calm down!' to..."

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