Action Star Tom Cruise Reportedly Wouldn’t Mind Occasionally Doing Auteur-Driven Movies Like ‘Magnolia’ Again

New Line Cinema

You might not believe this, but Tom Cruise wasn’t always a death-defying action star. In fact, he’s mostly doing the action star thing in reverse. Despite Top Gun — in which he’s mostly sitting down — he didn’t really do action movies until the first Mission: Impossible, when he was in his mid-30s. Before that, as a young, strapping Adonis, he mostly did dramas. Did you know he’s been Oscar-nominated for his acting three times? Now that he’s, well, in his 60s Cruise reportedly wouldn’t mind going back to misspent youth, doing movies where he doesn’t have to literally put his life in danger to entertain — a thing, mind you, he didn’t really start doing until he was nearly 50.

Buried in a sprawling piece about Warner Bros. Discovery by Variety is a bit about Cruise, who’s teamed up with them to make movies in an un-exclusive manner, despite the company having a nasty habit of deleting completed films to save a couple bucks. Variety reports that Cruise doesn’t just want to make big, splashy franchise movies with them. He’d also, the article claims, “like to return to working with auteurs like Paul Thomas Anderson.”

Indeed, Cruise’s most recent acting nomination is for 1999’s Magnolia, Anderson’s third feature and his first after Boogie Nights. Cruise went well against type to play sleazy, repulsively confident but secretly self-loathing proto-MRA motivational speaker T.J. Mackey, one of the movie’s ensemble of San Fernando Valley sadsacks who aren’t sure what to do when it suddenly [spoiler!] starts raining frogs.

Back in the day Cruise made a lot of serious movies for adult moviegoers. Believe it or not! After his breakthroughs Risky Business and Top Gun, he worked with no less than Martin Scorsese, shooting pool to Warren Zevon in The Color of Money. His first Oscar nomination was for Oliver Stone’s Born on the Fourth of July, though he should have netted that honor for the previous year’s Rain Man. Cruise held his shouty own with Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men, and he was at his arguable best in Jerry Maguire, his second Oscar nom. (And he’s excellent, apparently riffing on his fear of aging, in his and Cameron Crowe’s underrated reunion, Vanilla Sky.) Even after Cruise crossed over into Ethan Hunt Land, he would still do things like going gray and psychotic for Michael Mann’s more serious actioner Collateral or spend over a year shooting with Stanley Kubrick for the once semi-maligned, now beloved Eyes Wide Shut.

Anyway, point is, Tom Cruise, serious thespian is something the movies have been missing. Put the guy in a suit, make him stand in rooms talking to other humans, and you’ll see he can make that as cinematically thrilling as hanging off the Burj Khalifa, maybe even moreso. More importantly, maybe it’ll be him who can finally vanquish WBD cartoon villain David Zaslav.

(Via Variety)