Hanging on the telephone: Tom Cruise in M_I-2

Tom Cruise can currently be seen undertaking a second Mission: Impossible, so Jean Cummings’ mission, should she decide to accept it, was to find out how involved he was in the production

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Mission: Impossible 2 is more than a movie for Tom Cruise, it’s a project. That’s a word used in Hollywood when someone is involved with a film from beginning to end and, in this instance, that’s exactly what Cruise was.

With a long-time relationship with Paramount Pictures, the actor was given co-producing privileges in working with director John Woo in the sequel to the highly-successful original.

“I worked on the script right from the beginning with Robert [Towne] and with John, and certainly there was an involvement in every element,” he says. “But producing a movie, it’s a collaboration – but it’s very much a John Woo movie and what he wanted to do. As a producer, I’m there to service the director and try to create an environment in which he feels confident and comfortable to be creative and to do what he wants to do.

“Woo’s action is like a dance and he has that mythic quality in his pictures that Robert Towne brought out in his script. So I also worked on the script with Robert; we collaborated together but Robert wrote it. I was there working on the story and kind of getting John’s ideas and Robert’s ideas and my ideas and the three of us just kept working the story.

The obvious question that must be asked is, whose film is it? “John’s,” Cruise says without hesitation. “He’s got the final cut and when John came, it was really what he wanted. It was his. It’s a John Woo movie within the conventions of Mission: Impossible. This picture has a tremendous amount of suspense that Robert Towne created in the character that Woo loves also.

“The idea behind it was really creating a myth,” he adds. “If you know anything about Woo’s movies, he deals a lot in mythical images and this movie is an adventure picture. It’s the good versus evil. This is a picture where the character and the narrative are moving ahead and they’re more important than a simple story line.”

Of course, Cruise’s character is the focal point of the film, including a spectacular scene in which he’s hanging on the edge of a cliff. And whether one is a fan of the actor, or of the film series, or of neither, you can’t help but wonder whether it was really him.

“I know John was very nervous when I was doing it. But, for me, it was one of the greatest days I had on the picture,” he says. “I had a lot of fun on the movie, but to be out on that mountain and to climb that mountain, it was great fun...”

Get Xposé #46 for the full feature and review.
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See also these issues for more Mission: Impossible 2 coverage:
Starburst Special #44Starburst #263
Film Review Special #31 (web edition forthcoming)

Tom Cruise photo © Paramount Pictures / UIP
Fetaure © Visual Imagination Ltd 2000. Not for reproduction