Anxiety strikes us all, and when there are millions of dollars involved, even the best can crumble down in fear. Something similar happened to acclaimed filmmaker Edward Zwick, who worked with Tom Cruise in The Last Samurai (2003). Struck by the fear of getting the film doomed, Zwick recalled how he and his movie were saved by Cruise.
During an interview with IndieWire, Edward Zwick recalled confessing his fear to Tom Cruise, while filming The Last Samurai. Although he initially hesitated to share with Cruise, Zwick revealed how the actor helped him pick himself up and even saved the underrated film from almost near doom.
Edward Zwick Recalled the Pressure From The Last Samurai
Among Edward Zwick’s renowned movies, the filmmaker seems to hold his 2003 Western theme juxtaposed with the samurai genre – The Last Samurai, close to his heart. Often speaking about the film, the director recalls the bond he created with Tom Cruise while filming. The actor played the role of Nathan Algren, a US army veteran, hired to train the Japanese army in the modern warfare techniques, by their emperor.
In his upcoming mémoire set to release on February 13, Edward Zwick noted his enchanting Hollywood journey and spoke about the experiences he had while filming his renowned projects, with Hollywood A-listers. But before his mémoire hits the shelves, the director sat for an interview with IndieWire to discuss his journey in detail. During his exclusive interview, Zwick recalled his work with Tom Cruise in The Last Samurai.
Discussing the pressure he experienced from the production studio, Edward Zwick recalled almost succumbing to the stress and pressure. He noted how the pressure of making The Last Samurai rushed to him as once in a lifetime opportunity. Thus, taking on the pressure, Zwick admitted failing to handle his anxieties. Recalling the millions of dollars invested in the project and the expectations surrounding the success of the movie, Zwick noted how he almost felt he might doom the film.
Tom Cruise Single-Handedly Saved the Movie From Doom
That’s when Edward Zwick turned to Tom Cruise for help. Although he initially felt hesitant to approach someone of Cruise’s stature with such an issue, eventually his decision paid off well. Reaching out to the actor for help was the best thing that he did. It not only helped him find his confidence but also built a strong bond of friendship with the Top Gun actor.
“At first I thought, ‘Oh God, he doesn’t want to hear it.’ I realized later he had been in this situation so many times before. He wanted me to be that person who he could count on, who had these things handled. It was a teachable moment for me, which is to say that you have to own your size in those moments.”
Revealing how Tom Cruise helped him with utmost genuineness, Edward Zwick implied that the actor saved The Last Samurai from an almost certain failure. Zwick admitted nearly losing control which almost led his 2003 movie to its downfall. But surprisingly, Cruise’s unwavering support helped Zwick realize it’s his responsibility to own his position, because a director is someone whom people look up to, and can count on.
“It actually turned out to be something positive. [Cinematographer] John Toll said to me something that Conrad Hall said to him, which is, ‘You only get to make this movie once. That’s true for every shot. It’s true for every day, and you’re going to live with it.’”
“My job at certain times has been to save the studio from themselves. I’ve encountered the studio having even more anxiety about the money going out or the risk that they’re taking. And there are people who believe in the story, they believe in the script and the actors and you. You have to finally say, ‘I’ve got this.’”
With Tom Cruise instilling confidence and strength in Edward Zwick, the director implied how the actor indirectly saved The Last Samurai from crashing at the box office.
The Last Samurai is available on Prime Video.