“It was a teachable moment for me”: How Tom Cruise Saved His Most Underrated Movie from Almost Certain Doom

Tom Cruise’s help saved the 2003 ‘The Last Samurai’, as Edward Zwick almost succumbed to anxiety.

SUMMARY

  • Among Edward Zwick’s renowned movies, the filmmaker seems to hold his 2003 'The Last Samurai' close to his heart.
  • Discussing the pressure he experienced from the production studio, Edward Zwick recalled almost succumbing to the stress and pressure.
  • With Tom Cruise instilling confidence and strength in Edward Zwick, the director implied how the actor indirectly saved 'The Last Samurai' from a certain failure.
Show More
Advertisement

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. 

Featured Video
Tom Cruise in Top Gun
Tom Cruise in a still from Top Gun

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. 

Advertisement

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. 

Tom Cruise in The Last Samurai
Tom Cruise in The Last Samurai (2003)

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

Advertisement
Tom Cruise in Top Gun: Maverick
Tom Cruise in Top Gun: Maverick

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. 

Advertisement

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.” 

Tom Cruise as Nathan Algren in Edward Zwick’s 2003 movie
Tom Cruise as Nathan Algren in Edward Zwick’s 2003 movie

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.’

Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt
Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt in MI: 6

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. 

Advertisement

The Last Samurai is available on Prime Video. 

Avatar

Written by Krittika Mukherjee

Krittika is a News Writer at FandomWire with 2 years of prior experience in lifestyle and web content writing. With her previous works available on HubPages and Medium, she has woven over 1000 stories with us, about fan-favorite actors, movies, and shows. Post-graduate in Journalism and Honors-graduate in English Literature, when this art enthusiast isn't crafting your next favorite article, she finds her escapism in coffee, fiction, and the Wizarding World.