So how do star’s maintain their stardom? After all I think we’ve all witnessed some silence at the Cruise camp after the whole Opera scientology, sofa antics. And judging by the carefully chosen film roles and appearances he’s made since the studio system is reluctant to bank on him as they once did (look at the posters for his new film Valkerie – equal representation to the other actors)
They do it like this. Mission Impossible 1 (1996) watch the title sequence and notice that although Cruise is the only named actor (comes before the film title) he is in disguise (big reveal at the end) and is portrayed as being part of a team. There are gadgets a plenty, bond style girls and the kitsch (albeit funked up) TV theme tune hammering away in the background. You know exactly where you are, Cruise isn’t threatened by his co-stars and it’s going to be a rid roaring spy filled adventure.
Mission Impossible 2 (2006) you get John Woo in to film you at your best (ever fight scene was designed to suit Cruise’s ability and height – just watch the extras) and relish in an almost gratuitous 15 minute scene of man conquering nature by single handedly climbing a passionately red mountain. Phew. It’s epic. You almost feel like you’re a voyeur watching something you shouldn’t (or don’t want to). What’s more, you get Metalicca in to do the soundtrack just so anyone who though Cruise was a sissy is fully back in their box.
Horrid. Why? Because Mission Impossible 2 over zealous love of Cruise as a “star” showed how obviously threatened his stardom had been by Eyes Wide Shut, Kubricks films where his then wife, Nicole Kidman emerged as the “star”, probably quite unpredicted by Cruise.
Eyes Wide Shut started with his character weakened and emasculated by Kidman’s character and ended with his acting abilities smashed by Kubrick’s direction and Kidman’s clear superiority. (Just look at the party scene in the opening 15 minutes. Kidman’s obvious height over Cruise is so openly revealed (think of all the hard work on Top Gun it took for Tony Scott to make Kelly McGillis look shorter).
So what do you do to recover? Divorce Kidman, hire John Woo and don’t look back, the star is re-born. But then you accept an invitation onto Oprah and star the process all over again … oh dear.