As his latest sci-fi blockbuster arrives in cinemas, this year also marks three decades since his star making role in Risky Business.
Oblivion is Tom Cruise’s 41st movie in a career that spans over 30 years, his films have made over $7.5 billion worldwide and he’s still considered one of the most powerful stars of the silver screen.
After a brief appearance in the 1981 film Endless Love it was his supporting part as a military student in Taps that got Hollywood’s attention. 1983 was a big year for the then 21 year old actor; a small role in Francis Ford Coppla’s The Outsiders was swiftly followed with leading man duties in All the Right Movies and Risky Business earned him millions of female fans all over the world.
Taking a two year break he returned in 1985 with Ridley Scott’s fantasy epic Legend, although it has amassed a cult following over the years the movie was a box office flop and threatened to prevent Cruise from becoming a Hollywood A-lister. For his next film he starred in Top Gun, directed by Ridley’s brother Tony Scott and produced by action kings Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckhiemer the movie was a massive hit and propelled Cruise to superstardom.
The back to back hits just kept on coming, Rain Man, Cocktail, A Few Good Men, Interview with the Vampire and Mission Impossible transformed him into he most bankable actor on earth. Cruise shrewdly deferred his usual $20 million fee for Mission Impossible to secure a sizable share of the profits, the exact sum is still speculated but it’s believed to be over $70 million, as his production company co-produced all four movies this franchise alone has made him a very wealthy man.
Despite his box office success the one thing that has eluded him is an Academy Award, it’s not for the want of trying as he has been nominated 3 times but has lost out on each occasion. His first nomination came in 1990 for his powerful portrayal of a Vietnam veteran in Oliver Stone’s Born on the Fourth of July, he would have to wait 7 years before his next chance came around with the crowd pleaser Jerry Maguire in which he played the title character. His supporting role in Paul Thomas Anderson’s Magnolia earned him his most recent nomination and saw Cruise immerse himself in the unforgettable role of Frank T.J. Mackey. This type of part comes along once in an actor’s career and Cruise gives what is still considered his finest performance.
Recent years has seen his public image take a beating that in turn has caused a couple of his movies to suffer at the box office, although both world war 2 thriller Valkyrie and light but fun action comedy Knight and Day were not flops by any means they weren’t the usual Cruise sized hits. Almost at the height of his minor career downturn he made a surprise appearance in Ben Stiller’s comedy Tropic Thunder, wearing a fat suit and bald cap to play movie producer Les Grossman, the usually dapper Cruise is barely recognisable. Critics and audiences praised him for his ability to poke fun at himself and embrace a full on comedy role rather than his usual straight faced serious persona.
After the disappointing Mission Impossible 3 it was rumoured that Paramount Pictures were looking to replace Cruise as the lead in any further sequels. Shortly after M:I:3 was released in cinemas Paramount opted not to renew their production contract with Cruise/Wagner ending a successful partnership that had lasted 14 year.
In 2011 Cruise returned to play Ethan Hunt for Ghost Protocol and scored the biggest hit of his entire career, despite following this with a supporting role in the flop musical Rock of Ages he’s back on track with the likes of blockbusters Jack Reacher and Oblivion. The next two year promises several exciting projects, he’s back on science fiction territory with All You Need is Kill due out next year, a reworking of Van Helsing and a big screen version of The Man From U.N.C.L.E are in development. A fifth Mission Impossible is also in the works and has been earmarked for a 2015 release although given his busy schedule this date could well be moved. Turning 51 this year Tom Cruise shows no signs of slowing down and regardless of his personal life he has remained at the top of his game for 30 years.
Oblivion is out now in cinemas everywhere.