Tom Cruise is one of the most successful actors in Hollywood. He has now earned his biggest box office achievement of $1.4 billion thanks to Top Gun: Maverick.
The actor has had endless stardom in Hollywood since way back in 1986 when Top Gun came out — that’s like over 35 years of being a superstar. Staying top in Tinseltown for over three decades is a big deal, but Tom Cruise made it.
There is a quality of Cruise that made him land in some of the biggest roles. And because of that quality, he appealed to the Godfather director Francis Ford Coppola.
Tom Cruise’s “Intense” Quality Has Made Him a Hotshot in Hollywood
Tom Cruise has an “intense” quality which made him a go-getter since the 1980s when he was just starting out. In an interview with Cameron Crowe at Interview Magazine in 1986, Cruise revealed how he managed to snag a role in Francis Ford Coppola‘s The Outsiders.
The actor said that he first learned the things he wanted and the things he didn’t want. Then, he told himself he needed to work with good directors to grow. Young and enthusiastic Cruise then went to Francis Ford Coppola and said to him:
“Look, I don’t care what role you give me, I really want to work with you.”
The Mission: Impossible star wanted to perform with all those young actors and wasn’t just looking for any old role. He rather wanted a big ol’ mix of different stuff. After Taps, he was even offered every scary movie and psycho-killer part. But he had his eyes set on working with the Godfather director. It was because he wanted “intense” roles (which is his ultimate quality).
This determination led Coppola to cast the young actor (as Steve Randle) in his 1983 crime drama film along with Matt Dillon, C. Thomas Howell, Ralph Macchio, Patrick Swayze, and Rob Lowe. There were other actors Coppola had on his list, but he saw an “intense” quality in Cruise, which the actor still uses in his films.
One Quality of Tom Cruise That Made Him Win Over Big Names
During a 2021 conversation with The Guardian, Coppola discussed giving chances to young actors and described Cruise as an enthusiastic, “intense” youngster. He said:
“If my company was famous for anything, it was casting new, unknown actors. I believed in the concept of open casting calls – but I tried to do them in a way that was appropriate for the film we were making.”
Choosing young actors to star in his movies was one of his best decisions for Coppola. The director said that for The Outsiders, he had all the candidates, like his cousin Nicolas Cage, Mickey Rourke, Robert Downey Jr., Emilio Estevez, and more, sitting in a circle watching each other’s faces. Because, at that time, they didn’t know much about acting (according to Coppola). He then continued saying:
Tom Cruise, who ended up in a small role, was an intense kid who would do anything to make his part better.”
Undoubtedly, the director was talking about that “intense” quality of Cruise, which set him apart from all those actors Coppola had in mind. The director even said that Cruise had a very small role in the film, but his quality is what made the role stand out. Coppola saw something unique in young Cruise, and he wasn’t wrong either. Cruise is now one of the sought-after actors in the Hollywood industry – it’s all because of actors’ unstoppable enthusiasm and intensity that can still be seen in his movies.
Watch The Outsiders starring Tom Cruise on Hulu.