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Feature: Vanilla Sky Tom Cruise

The Sky's The Limit

Tom Cruise in Vanilla SkyAfter the critical and commercial successes of Jerry Maguire and Almost Famous, a new Cameron Crowe film is a ready-made cinematic event. Get a flavour of the project from the director and his star, Tom Cruise

Cameron Crowe, on the advice of Tom Cruise, checked out a well regarded, but relatively little-seen Spanish thriller entitled Abre Los Ojos (Open Your Eyes). Crowe, like his Jerry Maguire star Cruise, was hooked on the 1997 film written and directed by Alejandro Amenábar (whose most recent film, The Others, starred Cruise's ex-wife, Nicole Kidman, and was executive produced by Cruise).

"I couldn't stop working on my version of it from the second I saw the Amenábar version," Crowe recalls. "It was fantasy on my part, because I'd never think of collaborating with someone without their permission. But I later found out that Amenábar really liked Jerry Maguire and was honoured at the idea of us giving it a shot."

And so Crowe wrote and directed Vanilla Sky, casting Cruise as David Aames, a cocky and rich publishing executive without a care in the world. Aames parties all over town and sleeps around, no strings attached, or so he thinks, with Julie (Cameron Diaz). And then he meets the beguiling Sofia (Penélope Cruz, reprising the role she played in Abre Los Ojos). Just as he gets to know her, however, Aames takes one last ill-fated ride with Julie, a ride that leaves him hideously scarred...

Once again, Tom Cruise has done something different but what needs to be understood is that Vanilla Sky is not a remake of the original. As Cruise explains, the movie is based on Open Your Eyes but was written conceptually as interpreted by Crowe.

"Cameron wrote it and directed it. The script is Cameron's script but the story is Alejandro's story, but the characters and the script, they're very much out of Cameron's imagination and mind. He pays homage to Open Your Eyes and there was a lot of dialogue between the two of us about the film and its concepts, but it's very much Cameron Crowe.

"It is a very personal film to me also and a very personal film to Cameron," Cruise adds. "I mean, when I first saw the original I literally, as the credits were running, got on the phone to Paramount and said, ‘Buy this picture!'

"It's interesting because even Alejandro said himself that he felt like it was two brothers who were asking the same questions after he saw the film... Cameron wanted to bring the whole essence of pop culture, the effect of pop culture on a society, and he wanted to create like a pop culture ride, but that also allowed him to pose questions about casual sex, about the little moments in our lives where in every moment you do have a chance to turn things around and change your life..."

by Jean Cummings and John Reading

 Vanilla Sky opens in the UK on January 25

 Get the full six-page feature, with further thoughts from Crowe, Cruise and his high-profile co-star Penèlope Cruz - plus Scott Andrews' on Cameron Crowe's rise and rise - when you buy
Film Review (Feb 2002).

Images © Paramount Pictures / UIP
Feature © Visual Imagination 2002. Not for reproduction

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Film Review Feb 2002, see below for ordering options
Film Review #614
February 2002
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