December 13, 2017

 




Interview:
Tom Cruise and Steven Spielberg

By Dan Epstein




What took you guys so long to get together and make a movie?

SPIELBERG: I think that we always knew we were going to work together. When I first met Tom on the set of Risky Business, I said to him ďI really want to direct you in a movie.Ē We were patient because it was inevitable. It wasnít going to happen because we forced it to happen but because something felt right. For this project Tom and I both felt it was right. Weíve come close a couple of times but we really felt good about this one.

Anything to add, Tom?

CRUISE: Ditto [laughs]

SPIELBERG: Iím like a precog because I knew you were going to say that.

Steven is quoted as calling your performance in Minority Report a slow smolder, the way Humphrey Bogart used to be when contemplating danger. Did you feel that way?

CRUISE: Steven and I talked about keeping an undercurrent with this character and for him to not see the danger coming. This character starts out with a tremendous amount of loss that has to be there. That emotional thrust. Personally I love Stevenís choices with me as an actor, the takes he wanted and how he directed me. It was a lot of fun for me. Hereís a guy thatís a leader of men and it needed that undercurrent.

Is playing a darker role more fun?

CRUISE: Yeah, Iíve never played a dark role before. Iím joking [laughs] but itís not a good joke.

I love this character and to have this character with all the eye-candy and this great story is wonderful. I also like humor in movies and Steven kept coming to me with ideas for the movie like the eyeballs and the rotten sandwich. It was fun for that character to do stuff like that.

I also like the complexity of this character. As an actor to have a role like this is great.

What are the challenges of setting a movie in the future?

SPIELBERG: The challenge of setting a movie in the future is to not be futuristic. For me it was to be levelheaded about it and to bring it to as close to our reality as possible. The movie is set in 2054 and if you look at 1950 to 2002, the changes are profound in terms of information collecting and the Internet and certainly space travel even though we havenít gone very far. We donít know that much more than we knew in 1950. Thereís not a lot of changes. We still drive on four wheels. We did a big leap in this movie, they ride on a magnetic levitation system.

CRUISE: But fossil fuels are still widely used.

SPIELBERG: There is a closet environmentalist inside of me screaming to come out and I slipped a few messages in the movie. I felt like I wanted to set a future where we could all say, ďYes thatís feasible, itís not like The Jetsons, this could happen.Ē I was able to gather a symposium of 23 futurists from all across the nation. I started it a few years ago in order to find out what they thought the future might be. They were very practical and I skimmed ideas off the top of what they had to say.

So they didnít think of any flying cars.

SPIELBERG: No flying cars but you can see them in Star Wars: Attack of the Clones [laughs].

Even though you both found the perfect movie to work on together is there any project that you, Tom, would have liked to done with Steven and vice versa?

CRUISE: I could only be in one of Stevenís movies? [laughs] If I could I would put myself in every one of his films.

SPIELBERG: Itís called the world of digital. [everyone laughs]

CRUISE: When I saw Jaws as a kid, I wanted to be those characters. Plus I would have loved to be in E.T. For me Iím just so pumped.

What about you, Steven? Would you like be Joel Goodson [the main character played by Cruise in Risky Business] on the train with Rebecca?

SPIELBERG: That was easy to watch. I would have liked to have directed Jerry Maguire because itís one of my favorite Tom Cruise films. But thank goodness it wasnít me and thank goodness it was Cameron Crowe. He really understood that character. He made those guys on ESPN acceptable. That was one of my favorite films because of the pure energy in that movie.

Could you share your thoughts on the mind of Philip K. Dick? [Author of the original short story for Minority and Blade Runner]

CRUISE: Itís prophetic work. Just gripping. His ability to recognize the future, where crime rates are going. In terms of my character, he wasnít like that in Philip K. Dickís short story. For me hereís a guy who trains an elite group of people and believes in what heís doing and as the story unfolds there is a moral dilemma. The reason that Philip K. Dickís stories have been made into so many movies is how prophetic his work was. In Washington right now theyíre trying to make a computer program that will predict human behavior by the way they move to spot terrorists in airports.

SPIELBERG: What those computers will be looking for is anomalies in behavior. They will have a mean average of how people behave when walking. Then they will compare it to people whose behavior is more erratic.

The problem with that is that a nerd like me who does have a weird walk and doesnít exactly look like a normal person may be targeted [Tom laughs]. I imagine white vans pulling up to me, dragging me inside and taking me to an interrogation. So like Minority Report, not every system is perfect. Also, it makes me a little frightened of the powers to be that are going to be able to observe us, but itís all in the name of the common good.

What happens when this crisis passes and we finally have a handle on terrorism and we feel safe on the homefront. All these expansive powers that we are allowing the FBI and the CIA to have to protect us, are we going to be able to get it all back to the way it was before 9/11.

CRUISE: I donít think so.

SPIELBERG: Thatís how weíre going to have to be strong as a country and a people. We suspended our privileges and our personal freedoms to be able help all of us.

CRUISE: I want it back. But like anything it becomes the norm. Once you get the machine going it will be a dilemma to get it back. I donít even think the public realizes what they will be giving up in terms of personal freedoms.

SPIELBERG: In our movie the public gets eye scanned and then advertisements target you and call you by your first and last name. Thatís fine, that happens when those pop-ups happen on our computer. Often they know our name or e-mail address. But by the same token, we allow that to happen because we as a social species, we like interaction. We want to be included, we want to watch TV but we also want TV to watch us so we can be part of Survivor, be part of the shows. We want to be eventized ourselves and that is passive approval of allowing technology to look even deeper into our lives. Iím assuming that weíre going to protest this in a number of years but right now weíre letting it all happen.

Tom, how would you describe the difference between working with filmmaking icons like Stanley Kubrick [who directed Tom in Eyes Wide Shut] and Steven Spielberg?

CRUISE: Both are very different directors. For me I was looking forward to this happening with Steven. I loved working with Stanley, that was very challenging and a good time in my life. Stevenís been my friend for many years and now for me to have this chance to work with him, I will say that it was the greatest experience Iíve ever had. Itís something Iíd like to do again.

SPIELBERG: Hire me again [Tom laughs]. Iím for hire.

Steven, will there be a fourth Indiana Jones?

SPIELBERG: Yes, sir. There was always going to be another starting about 4 years ago. Frank Darabont [director of The Shawshank Redemption and The Majestic] is going to write it. Weíre going to start shooting in May of 2004 and itís coming out on July 4th holiday weekend of 2005. The only thing that would change that is the unforeseen. But Harrison Ford, George Lucas and I have all committed.

What about Sean Connery?

SPIELBERG: Thereís a whole bunch of spoilers I donít want to give away right now.

Thanks, guys.

 

 


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