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Feature: Minority Report

Justice must be seen to be done

Spielberg and Cruise on-set for Minority Report A Science Fiction adventure? A futuristic film noir? A murder mystery thriller? A meditation on crime and punishment? Starburst asks Tom Cruise and Steven Spielberg to explain Minority Report

Minority Report is, on screen, the story of detective John Anderton's struggle to clear his name. Off screen, it's the tale of when Hollywood's two top players got together…

Tom Cruise
We understand that you brought Minority Report to Steven Spielberg; the idea being that he'd direct it with you starring as Anderton. How and when did you discover the story, and what caught your eye?

When I was doing Eyes Wide Shut, actually. I read an early draft of the script and then I read the original short story by Philip K Dick. It was the short story that really grabbed me. Then I sent it to Steven and then (screenwriter) Scott Frank came on board. He was Steven's first choice.

It was just a great idea that I felt was very relevant: being able to stop murders before they happened, and the whole story about the power of precognition. It made me sit back and think ‘What would I do in that situation? Would I want to live in that society?’ The moral questions really tug at you, because you think about the increasing crime rate and what the world is like today. At first, having this power to predict future events seems very seductive. But then you see the argument's other side, which is: what would happen if the people who had that kind of responsibility couldn't handle it? If they were inside the system, would they be able to see the flaws in it?

So that basic storyline showed great potential for a movie. When Steven came onboard I got very excited, thinking, ‘What is Steven Spielberg going to do with the future?’ Our setting is 2054, which is not so very far in the future, but Steven sat down and really looked at where we are headed as a society. That focused all our minds...

Steven Spielberg
You assembled a large group of futurists to help develop the look and feel of Washington DC in 2054. What did they come up with that particularly impressed you?

My favourite was that our kids would live to be 100 and 130. I liked that, God willing! There were some things that I didn't use, like the smart toilet that tells you, based on what you ‘feed’ it, what you should or should not be eating, instantly. I couldn't find a place for it in Minority Report. The Farrelly Brothers could really make hay with that!

How did you find working with Tom Cruise?
The only people that will make Tom stop working when the phone rings is his family, but we just had a blast. Even doing the darker, more serious parts in Minority Report, it was just fun to try things, and Tom will try anything - literally! He's just completely fearless: we both know when something is not working, but it doesn't scare him when I throw one harebrain idea after another at him...

by Dave Roberts

Read the full 7-page interview feature, plus Alan Jones' review in:
Starburst #288

© 20th Century Fox
Feature © Visual Imagination 2002. Not for reproduction

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Starburst #288, see below for ordering options
Starburst #288
August 2002
ships from Jul 4 2002
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