Tom Cruise’s Mission: Impossible franchise has garnered north of $3.5 billion dollars over the course of its six-film arc in the industry. The actor, well-molded as the super spy who is neither limited by territory nor rules, has delivered unto his audience an upgraded American version of James Bond, which fortunately also manages to be uniquely different enough to separate him from the otherwise ubiquitous British icon.
But just as Cruise manages to establish his onscreen alter ego as the IMF agent, his need to be perfect in the subsequent career-defining role in the most impressive way has often made him difficult to work with as a co-star in a packed cast.
Also read: Tom Cruise is Spending $112 Million More on His Next Action Project Than the Most Expensive Mission: Impossible Movie Yet
Thandie Newton Has Some Issues Working With Tom Cruise
Thandie Newton, Tom Cruise’s co-star in Mission: Impossible 2, revealed in an interview with Vulture, 20 years after the release of the movie, that she was thankful to not be called in to star with him after M:I 2 saying, “I was so scared of Tom. He was a very dominant individual.” Although the statement might not fully reveal the extent of Tom Cruise’s problematic attitude on the sets of a film or toward other people, it does scrape the surface of what is a bigger picture involving the actor.
Recalling how filming a scene with Cruise went for Newton, the actress claimed:
“I don’t think it was a very well-written scene. I get angry with him. We’re frustrated with each other… It wasn’t going well… And [director] John [Woo] had made a decision at the beginning of the movie, unbeknownst certainly to me, that he didn’t speak English. Which I think was very helpful to him, but it was extremely unhelpful to the rest of us.
Tom was not happy with what I was doing because I had the shittiest lines. And he gets so frustrated with having to try and explain that he goes, ‘Let me just—let’s just go do it. Let’s just rehearse on-camera.’ So we rehearsed and they recorded it, and then he goes, ‘I’ll be you. You be me.’ So we filmed the entire scene with me being him—because, believe me, I knew the lines by then—and him playing me. And it was the most unhelpful … I can’t think of anything less revealing. It just pushed me further into a place of terror and insecurity. It was a real shame.”
Also read: “We were in bed all day, I thought he was really aroused”: Thandie Newton Was Uncomfortable Making Out With Tom Cruise on Camera During Mission: Impossible 2
Not accommodating the rest of the cast’s needs or acknowledging their contribution can easily topple the production of a franchise film as huge as Mission: Impossible. Tom Cruise’s extent of talent would of course come with its own set of niche and unrealistic work ethics, however, the level of perfectionism that requires the actor to disregard his co-star can be just as demeaning as it can be detrimental to the success of a film.
Thandie Newton’s Cautionary Tale About Tom Cruise
Mission: Impossible 2 (2000), which primarily witnessed Tom Cruise’s return as Ethan Hunt alongside new addition Thandie Newton, was as much a spectacular success as its predecessor. Upon the film’s release, the heralding of a potentially epic blockbuster franchise under Cruise’s umbrella began to be the new talking point among the media of the time. His ability to consistently deliver box office successes mixed with the formula of what looked like a film series that could very well continue to churn out spin-offs seemed like an exciting idea to the industry and its partisans.
However, the illusion of an ideal situation soon began to show cracks that were mild enough to go unnoticed by people who didn’t care to actively look for faults with the franchise’s leading man. Newton further revealed during the interview:
“I thought I was the big f*cking problem […] And then Tom called and I thought, ‘Oh, this is it. The apology.’ No, he was just like, ‘We’re going to reshoot this next week.’ I’m like, ‘Way brilliant.’ And the next time we shot it, I went in there and I just basically manifested all the—because I realized what he wanted. He just wanted this alpha b*tch. And I did as best as I could. It’s not the best way to get the best work out of someone.”
The actress later claimed she was “surprised” by the amount of support that flooded in after speaking out against Tom Cruise.
Also read: Tom Cruise “Would Boil Up and Explode” as He “Harbored a Lot of Anger at His Natural Father”, Former Manager Claims
Renowned for his larger-than-life personality and his messianic contribution to saving the theatrical distribution business, Cruise’s stardom often blinds his contemporaries to the depths of his authoritative command over a situation. And yet, rumors have persisted on the sidelines along with the numerous controversies and conspiracy theories regarding his hands-on involvement and knowledge about the activities of the Church of Scientology.
Most recently, the actor is gearing up for the premiere of Mission: Impossible 7 which will mark the penultimate saga of his run as Ethan Hunt. The film, titled Dead Reckoning Part 1 will premiere on 14 July 2023.
Mission: Impossible film series is available for streaming on Paramount Plus.