Tom Cruise is without doubt one of the world’s biggest film stars. In a career spanning four decades he has lit up the silver screen with his acting talent and undeniable star power. But the A-list actor apparently has a strange rule that he insists on for every movie that he’s in.
In his stellar 40-year career in Hollywood, Cruise has starred in everything from blockbusters to serious dramas. In those action movies he has become known for doing something impressive and quite unusual, at least for a leading man. Yes, the American actor has developed a reputation for performing his own stunts.
This daring attitude has seen Cruise largely dispense with the body and stunt doubles which are commonly utilized by leading men in Hollywood. The actor evidently loves the challenge and the adrenaline rush that comes with performing his own action sequences. And doing so has seen him rise to the top of the blockbuster game.
In truth, although deep into his sixth decade, Cruise is as successful an action star as he’s ever been. The seemingly ageless actor is right up there with the likes of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Jason Statham when it comes to box-office bankability. And as any keen film buff will tell you, a massive part of his blockbuster success has come via the Mission: Impossible franchise.
Those breathlessly paced flicks have featured an improbable number of adrenaline-spiked sequences – some of them downright bizarre. Do you remember, for instance, in Mission: Impossible when Cruise’s Ethan Hunt jumps and sprints away from a giant fish tank that has just exploded in Prague Old Town? Of course, much bigger and more impressive stunts would follow as the M:I saga grew.
One of the most remarkable sequences came in Mission: Impossible: Fallout when Cruise performed a death-defying stunt in a helicopter. The actor turned his chopper 360-degrees in a downward spiral maneuver amidst mountains. An aerial assistant who worked on the film claimed the famously driven actor accrued about 2,000 flying hours just to prepare for the action sequence.
Elsewhere across the franchise, Cruise has performed a variety of breathtaking stunts. For instance, in Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, the Hollywood superstar clambered up the world’s tallest skyscraper, the Burj Khalifa skyscraper in Dubai. Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation saw him hanging precariously from the side of a plane: we don’t want to spoil the magic, but apparently he did have an unseen harness attaching him to the aircraft for that one.
Curiously, nearly all of Cruise’s movies – action or otherwise – have featured him running. For seasoned watchers of the A-list actor, it must have begun to feel as if something was going on. The whole thing is very peculiar indeed. But throughout his long and storied career, it is fair to say Cruise has been no stranger to the bizarre.
In truth, Cruise’s behavior on and off the set has often provoked a lot of comment, and sometimes outright bewilderment. His path to becoming a leading Hollywood actor and action hero effectively began when he was in his mid-teens. Back then, the 16-year-old was urged by a tutor to take part in his school’s upcoming production of the famous musical Guys and Dolls.
Cruise – whose mother Mary was herself an amateur thespian – duly landed the coveted lead role of Nathan Detroit in the school’s musical. The teenager soon discovered that he felt really at ease performing on the stage. Academically he had struggled a bit, at least in part due to his dyslexia.
Interestingly, given his later penchant for running in nearly all of his movies, Cruise shone in athletics during high school. Indeed, until a knee injury put him on the sidelines for a prolonged period, he had seriously contemplated going into professional wrestling. Besides that dream, the teenager also briefly harbored an interest in becoming a Catholic priest.
Of course, Cruise ultimately decided to pursue his newfound acting dream. He famously set himself a deadline of a single decade to achieve his goal of making it big in Hollywood. The New York-born star would make that breakthrough in the early 1980s, landing roles in the Endless Love and Taps before working with Francis Ford Coppola and other so-called ‘Brat Pack’ actors in The Outsiders.
The movie that truly launched Cruise into the stratosphere though, was the mid-1980s blockbuster Top Gun. After a well-received turn in Risky Business, he appeared in the fantasy flop Legend. But his portrayal of Maverick in the flashy, fighter-pilot yarn put him back on track, and his star turn was arguably key to the film’s gargantuan success.
In fact, Top Gun was the biggest box office hit of 1986. As a direct result of the movie, Cruise came to be viewed as a bankable, A-list star. This was reflected in the next chapter of his career, during which he landed numerous lead gigs in big-budget movies, such as the NASCAR-themed racing flick Days of Thunder and intense legal drama A Few Good Men.
But it would not be until the mid-1990s that Cruise really began his ascent to becoming a leading action hero. As we’ve seen, in that final decade of the 20th century the American landed the plum role of Ethan Hunt in the film Mission: Impossible. The stylish, Brian De Palma-helmed movie was based on the American TV series of the same name, and was a box office smash.
The film was such a success that a sequel was soon prepared. And it was the second installment of the series that really turned Cruise into a leading action star. Mission: Impossible II was an endearingly over-the-top summer blockbuster, and ever since then the actor has become renowned for performing the majority of his daring stunts. In M:I2 this included climbing up a cliff face at Dead Horse Point in Utah.
To date, the Hollywood legend has starred in a further five installments of the action franchise. Movies seven and eight will be ready for summers 2021 and 2022, with director Christopher McQuarrie at the helm. Besides the Mission: Impossible films, Cruise has also appeared in the box office hits Jack Reacher and Oblivion, alongside his artier work including Magnolia and Eyes Wide Shut.
There’s no question that Cruise really has enjoyed extraordinary success as a leading action star over the last few decades. Yet alongside his astronomical accomplishments in Hollywood there have been persistent claims of eccentric behavior on his part. Plus there have been rumblings of bizarre demands the actor has made for both himself and his co-stars.
For starters, there is the thorny issue of Cruise’s religious affiliation. The actor is a member of the controversial Church of Scientology, which has been widely labeled as a cult. One defector has alleged the organization even actually chose a romantic partner for the Hollywood star, but the actor himself insists it is a “beautiful religion” that has helped him incredibly.
Anyway, Cruise’s supposed bizarre behavior and controversial views on medication and psychiatry were cited by Paramount as the reasons the film studio cut ties with him in 2006. A year before that, the actor was widely ridiculed after an idiosyncratic appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show. At one point during their chat, he bounced around on the couch and declared his love for then-girlfriend – and future wife – Katie Holmes.
Elsewhere, Cruise has allegedly ensured that his likeness cannot be replicated for either video games or action figures. Meanwhile, actress and former Scientologist Leah Remini has claimed in her tell-all book that the A-list actor liked to play hide-and-seek with other grown-ups; it has also been alleged that he believes himself to hold healing powers. What’s more, observers have noted the eerie similarity shared by the end of all of his serious relationships: Cruise has separated from all three of his wives – Katie Holmes, Nicole Kidman and Mimi Rogers – when they were aged 33. Is this just coincidence?
In terms of on-set behavior, well there have been rumors and tales of oddities pertaining to Cruise for many years now. Some of them, it has to be said, are merely endearing. One such example is the story of how the Mission Impossible star sends his co-stars cakes while he’s in training.
Cruise explained why he does this when he appeared on TV chat show The Late Late Show with James Corden in 2018. He told the British host, “I love sugar, but I can’t eat it because when I’m training, I’m doing all these movies — so I send it to everyone.” The actor thus effectively lives the experience of enjoying unhealthy treats via them. He added, “I wait for the calls. Like, tell me about it.”
But it appears that Cruise has one really strange on-set rule to which he expects others to adhere: a stipulation so important to him that he considers it almost sacrosanct. Well, at least that is what one of his co-stars has alleged in a tell-all interview with magazine The Hollywood Reporter in August 2020.
The co-star in question was Annabelle Wallis, an English actress. She had appeared in the 2017 action thriller The Mummy alongside Cruise, and has notably starred in both Peaky Blinders and The Tudors. The Oxford-born performer made the remarkable claim that the A-list actor doesn’t allow anybody to run alongside him onscreen.
Apparently the actor – who we earlier noted likes to run an insane amount on screen – doesn’t tolerate his co-stars keeping pace with him. Wallis went on to expand upon Cruise’s bizarre rule to the Tinseltown-focused publication. Perhaps most interestingly, she would describe how she was able to get the Top Gun star to break his golden rule for her.
Wallis revealed to The Hollywood Reporter how she was really keen to sprint alongside Cruise in the movie that they worked on together. But the veteran action hero, initially at least, put her firmly in her place. She explained, “I got to run on-screen with him, but he told me no at first.”
Wallis continued, “He said, ‘Annabelle, nobody runs on-screen with me,’ and I said, ‘But I’m a really good runner.’” Given what occurred in the film in question, the actress was evidently able to eventually get her way. So how did the English rose get Cruise to bend his sacred rule for her, and embark on a joint run in a scene of The Mummy?
Well, the determined actress devised a cunning plan to help change Cruise’s mind, and ultimately get him to give up his golden rule for her. She explained to The Hollywood Reporter exactly what that entailed. “So, I would time my treadmill so that he’d walk in and see me run.”
Amazingly, this simple ploy devised by the actress actually worked. The Collateral star was evidently swayed by Wallis’s determination and rather sneaky bid to prove her running credentials to him. In fact, the fruits of her labors eventually paid off in a rather unexpected way.
Astonishingly, Wallis had succeeded in her goal of making the Hollywood veteran break his golden rule. In fact, the way she told it, she had achieved something approaching a dream. She admitted to The Hollywood Reporter, “So, that was it. It was, like, better than an Oscar. I was so happy! I was so happy that I got to run on-screen with Tom Cruise.”
Actually, Wallis had previously revealed to London’s Evening Standard newspaper back in 2017 just how keen she had been to scamper alongside the actor in the movie. She told the free daily, “I was adamant that I was going to run on-screen with him because he’s so particular about his running.”
The actress revealed that she deliberately tried to get under Cruise’s skin on the set of The Mummy to earn her running opportunity. She recalled, “I was so cheeky with him that I said ‘Come on, I’ll run through the studio with you and beat you.’ And, oh my God, I did.”
Not that Cruise was too happy about that. Wallis revealed, “He has this turbo button and as he sees you creeping up he does not like it and he powers on through.” But the Hollywood A-lister must have been grudgingly impressed, as he went and did something with the movie’s plot.
Not content with breaking his strange rule just the once, apparently Cruise then went ahead and crafted a few more running sequences for the movie, so he and Wallis could further illustrate their sprinting ability. She told the Evening Standard, “He added all those running bits because when he saw me he said, ‘Wow, you run really well.’”
Wallis’ instinctive reaction to Cruise’s initially exclusive running scenes had evidently made her extremely jealous of him. The actress told the Evening Standard, “I wanted to do the same, and I was like, ‘I can do the same and I want to show Tom Cruise that I can do the same.’”
Perhaps it shouldn’t have been a great surprise that Wallis took to the action scenes with aplomb. At least, not for those that have known her from a young age. As she explained to the Evening Standard, “I grew up a tomboy. I rode motorcycles, I played paintball.”
Wallis continued, “I’m very physical naturally and I knew I wanted to get into the action space because I naturally feel comfortable there.” Besides, working with Tom Cruise evidently brought out her competitive side. She added, “When I was on set I realized that you just can, you take yourself to the next level.”
Cruise has certainly earned a reputation for being intense on set. His Mission: Impossible II co-star Thandie Newton – like Wallis a fellow Brit – went as far as saying that she was “so scared” of him. Newton also labeled the Hollywood icon a “very dominant individual” when he was in front of the lens. Wallis has made no such complaints though; rather, she seems to feel that the actor brought out the best in her.
Finally, it is worth mentioning a curious trend regarding Cruise’s running; one that was uncovered by the website Rotten Tomatoes. With painstaking research, the movie review aggregator discovered that, for the most part, the more the Hollywood legend runs in his movies, the better they are. As it turns out, films which saw him running more than 1,000 feet rate, on average, 71 percent with reviewers – significantly outperforming those movies in which he sprints less than that, or not at all. What’s more, they earn bigger bucks at the box office too. So, maybe there’s real logic behind Cruise’s legendary on-screen running after all…