Tom Cruise Saves The Day: Actor Rescued Oscar-Winning Movie by Not Getting a Penny For It
Before Tom Cruise saved Hollywood, he came to rescue one particular movie.
Jerry Maguire is perhaps one of the most inspiring movies ever made, encouraging viewers to start something new against all odds. Tom Cruise won a Golden Globe and an Oscar nomination for his performance and the movie is still one of Tom Cruise's best and most emotional projects.
For a long time, director Cameron Crowe hoped that Tom Hanks would play the title role, but the script had been in the works for more than three years, and as a result, the director felt that Hanks had come out of the age that the movie needed.
That’s when Tom Cruise offered his services. After Days of Thunder and Interview with the Vampire, the actor wanted to return to the days of Risky Business and Rain Man, when he portrayed complex and ambiguous characters.
Crowe, who had never worked with such big stars before, was initially intimidated by Cruise, who was rumored to be taking the reins on set and making the movie his way, not the director's. Crowe once said in an interview:
“Your friends take you aside and say, ‘When Tom Cruise says yes, you lose your power. You can’t do a thing.’”
But it turned out to be just the opposite. Cruise quickly proved to the director that the success of the movie was more important to him than ambition. At first, the actor agreed to work for less than his usual fee, and then Tom even announced that he would work for free:
“Tom […] came from London to New York and said, ‘Boys, I’m gonna do some promotion.’ […] It was the brawn of him coming to say, ‘OK, guys, I act for free. This is what you pay me for. I’m going to give them everything I’ve got for this movie.’”
Test screenings of the movie didn't go well, and it was Tom Cruise's decision that he wouldn't make a dime because he would spend his entire fee on promotion, but the movie would get the attention it deserved.
As a result, Jerry Maguire, released in 1996, grossed $274 million worldwide and ranked ninth among the top ten highest-grossing movies of the year. The film was later nominated for five Academy Awards and won one for Best Supporting Actor.
What can we say except: All hail Tom Cruise!
Source: Here’s The Thing Podcast