Tom Cruise spoke to college reporters in a phone interview last Friday about his upcoming summer blockbuster “War of the Worlds.”
As Cruise prepares to publicize the movie he did with Steven Spielberg, he offered reporters the opportunity to ask him questions about the movie and the types of character roles that he enjoys taking on.
“War of the Worlds,” is a remake of the H.G. Wells’ novel, in which earth is in danger of being overrun with aliens. The classic book has been made into a movie once before, but this version promises to be packed with so many special effects that it will scare the public into believing that something like this could actually happen.
“The Wells book opened up our imagination,” Cruise said. “We enjoyed the book and we paid tribute to it.”
He added that the movie is much like the book, but adds a new twist to the themes.
The retelling is from a subjective viewpoint, but Cruise called it “pretty scary.”
Cruise explained a new technique called pre-visualization, which was used to add to many of the movie’s effects. This is when a lot of computer effects are used to create the background of the movie, but these elements are partially recreated on the set so the actors have a feeling of their surroundings.
“Spielberg did a good job with this,” Cruise said. “I made sure I did a full range of movements. I asked myself what would this really be like, and then made it work. It was a real challenge but it was fun.”
“You can have all the effects in the world,” Cruise added. “But if you don’t have the emotions, then it is worthless.”
Along with answering questions about the movie itself, Cruise answered some questions about the difficulty of being a celebrity, and wanting to shed his Hollywood image.
“What people say about me doesn’t matter,” he said. “I do movies that I want to do, not what people say I should do.”
Cruise is adamant that the projects he chooses to be a part of are ones that spark his imagination.
Cruise has found every experience he has had in the movie business to be been rewarding.
“Every experience has been unique to who I am as an artist and as a man,” Cruise said. “I look for not limiting myself. As an artist you have to find your own voice in your character.”
When asked which character most represents who he actually, Cruise chose a recent role.
“My character in Samurai is right up there with what I believe a man is,” he said. “He learns and he is a spiritual being and he has integrity.”
He added that many characters he has portrayed over the years have had different characteristics that he sees in himself.
Although he is a role model to some aspiring to be high-profile actors, Cruise says that he also had important role models when he dreamed of being on the big screen.
“My first hero was Muhammad Ali,” Cruise said. “I was about four or five and I remember how inspiring he was.”
Later in life, actors became his role models. He looked primarily to Paul Newman and Dustin Hoffman.
“Their movies inspired me, and then years later I got to meet them which was amazing,” Cruise added.
Even though Cruise is undoubtedly one of the movie industry’s most well-respected actors, he still remembers where he came from. He remembers the times when he was younger and went to movies and watched actors on the big screen.
“I spent a lot of my life convincing people to take me to the movies,” he said.
Now instead of convincing people to take him to see those movies, Cruise is actually a part of them.
* Contact Andrea Ragni at (408) 554-4546 or [email protected]