Tom Cruise and Oprah

It's hard to deny it—the camera loves Tom Cruise! After Oprah spent a day with Tom at his Telluride, Colorado, home, she invited him back to Chicago to celebrate his 25-year career of making audiences laugh, cry and cheer as a leading man in film.

Tom's performances have earned him three Best Actor Oscar® nominations for the films Born on the Fourth of July, Jerry Maguire and Magnolia.
Tom Cruise surprises Nancy with a meaningful gift.

On hand to celebrate Tom's life in film is his biggest fan, Nancy! In 2001, Oprah Show cameras surprised Nancy with a seat in the audience during an interview with Tom. In April 2008, we got Nancy again!

She's back...and Tom has a special gift for her! Tom presents her with flowers and a framed, signed photo of the two of them from his 2001 visit. "You have no idea what this means to me," Nancy says. "Congratulations on your marriage and your beautiful baby, and best of luck for another 25 years of movies."
Tom Cruise talks about 'Risky Business.'

Risky Business is the little movie that started it all. Tom Cruise played a high school teenager who lives it up when his parents go out of town. In one unforgettable scene, Tom blasts Bob Seger's "Old Time Rock and Roll" on the stereo and dances around the living room in his underwear. It's been 25 years, but Tom's still remembered for that classic scene, which launched the unknown actor into superstardom.

Tom was only 19 when he filmed that infamous scene. At first, Tom planned to dance in his bare feet. "I kept falling," he says. "So I thought, 'Well, I'm going to put on my socks.' I got on the floor. I literally waxed the floor on my hands and knees to get it prepped."
Tom Cruise on the advice he'd give his younger self

If Tom could give any advice to that 19-year-old strutting around in his underwear, what would it be? "I would have said, 'You know what? It's going to be okay,'" he says. "I was always trying to enjoy every moment that I could because I thought, 'If this is the last film I get to make, then at least I lived that dream.'"

"I had no idea that I'd be here 25 years later doing this," he says.
Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith

Two of Tom's best friends in Hollywood wanted to join in on our celebration—Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith. "Every man can't just slide in a room nekkid with sunglasses on and pull it off," Will says. "So I knew at that point—he's a star."

Tom and Jada starred together in Collateral. "He's really wonderful to work with," she says. "Always full of energy. That's how he and I became friends because we just had a real good time together."

Jada says Tom's professional accomplishments are impressive, but there's much more to Tom. "To me, nothing that he's done professionally holds a candle to who he is as a human being. And that's real."

Will agrees. "I've met very few people who have made that commitment that when they leave this place, they want the world to be better, period, because they were here. And this dude has made that," he says. "There's not a single piece of press, there's not been a single interview, there's not been a single image in the 25 years of his career that gets anywhere near capturing who he is."

"Well, Tom, man, congratulations," Will says. "We've got nothing but love for you, T.C."

Tom says Will and Jada's friendship means everything to him. "They're just true, real people, and I love them," he says.
Tom Cruise on 'Top Gun'

One of Tom's all-time classic movie moments has been imitated by men in bars across the country. In Top Gun, Tom Cruise's character, Maverick, serenades Kelly McGillis with a rousing rendition of "You've Lost That Loving Feeling."

Tom even serenaded Katie with the song at their wedding! "Were you a little more on key?" Oprah asks. Tom says he hopes he was. "I don't know why I wasn't offered musicals after that," he jokes.

Filming Top Gun was a dream come true for Tom. "I always wanted to be a pilot," he says. "[As a kid,] I used to travel with two pictures when we moved around. I had a picture of a P-51 and a Spitfire. And I used to make models all the time of airplanes."

What Tom remembers most about filming the movie was riding motorcycles and flying in an F-14 plane. "I said, 'When I make this film, I've got to be able to fly in that F-14. I need three flights in that F-14.'"

Even now, Tom says he has a "need for speed." Two of his favorite pastimes are riding motorcycles and piloting his own plane!
Tom Cruise on 'Jerry Maguire'

Of all Tom's films, one more than any other made women around the world swoon. In Jerry Maguire, Tom plays a sports agent who has a moral awakening.

Tom says he has many good memories about working on the film. One highlight was starring opposite his A Few Good Men co-star Cuba Gooding Jr. Their most memorable scene involved four little words: "Show me the money!" "I loved doing that scene," Tom says.

Tom says he also shared wonderful moments with Renée Zellweger, his love interest in the film. "It was one of those movies that had so many dynamics that just came together."
Renée Zellweger

Jerry Maguire was the breakout role for Oscar® winner Renée Zellweger, and it's a role she thought she'd never get. "I remember driving to the audition, and I remember being very calm because I was thinking, 'This is never going to happen.'"

It did, and together Tom and Renée filmed one of the most romantic scenes in movie history. After a separation, Tom's character bursts into a room full of women, determined to get his wife back. In the scene, Tom tearfully utters the line: "You complete me." Renée says she had no trouble responding. "I don't know what he was thinking about when he came through that door, but he was a wreck," she says. "He brought something with him that day."

Renée wants to share her warm wishes for Tom on this momentous anniversary. "He was born with some magic about him, and you can't describe it, and you can't dissect what makes Tom Cruise special," she says. "He just is."
David and Victoria Beckham

Tom's close friends David and Victoria Beckham say one of Tom's movies has special meaning to them. "One of our first dates, we went to the movies to see Jerry Maguire, and I wore glasses," Victoria says. "It was first time David kissed me, and he completely steamed up my glasses."

"When we got to know Tom, we told him the story of how it was one of our first dates, and he sent us the jacket that he wore in one of the scenes, and he signed it," Victoria says. "And David hasn't taken the jacket off since. I make him wear it," she jokes.

While Maverick from Top Gun is Victoria's all-time favorite of Tom's characters, David says he earned a lot of respect for Tom when he played the role of Nathan Algren. "The Last Samurai was one of my most favorite films, and when he spoke to me about how he trained for that a year before, you can see that in the films—and that's why he is the best."
Tom Cruise talks about filming 'Mission: Impossible.'

Based on the original television series, the three Mission: Impossible films became worldwide box office blockbusters thanks to Tom's portrayal of American spy Ethan Hunt. The films are action-packed, edge-of-your-seat thrillers with death-defying stunts and car chases.

What audiences may not know is that Tom actually did many of the stunts himself! In Mission: Impossible II, Tom slides down the edge of a mountain and dangles off a ledge with nothing but his bare hands to keep him from falling.

"I really wanted to give the audience a thrill," Tom says. "We spent four days doing that scene, and I was on the mountain with just a thin wire kind of holding me as we were doing it. It was really exciting."
Jamie Foxx

Jamie Foxx played an ordinary cab driver forced to take the ride of his life with a contract killer, played by Tom, in the 2004 thriller Collateral. "Mr. Cruise was so gracious it changed my life as far as my acting career goes," Jamie says.

Of all Tom's films, Jamie says Born of the Fourth of July is his favorite. "Born on the Fourth of July, to me, was where he is an actor. It was a departure from his movie star," he says. "You saw how wide his acting muscle was and he reached, in that movie, Oscar-worthy, everything-worthy."

On Tom's 25-year mark as a leading man, Jamie has a special message for his friend. "25 years? Why don't you give me some of those magic beans you taking, man, because you look like you're about 25 yourself!"
Tom Cruise talks about 'Born on the Fourth of July.'

Born of the Fourth of July tells the true story of Ron Kovic, a soldier paralyzed in the Vietnam War who felt betrayed by the country he fought for after returning home. "When I made that film people said, 'This is going to ruin your career. Why are you doing this after you did Top Gun. Why not just do Top Gun 2?'" Tom says. "I wanted to challenge myself."

"There was a time when I thought, 'This is when I'm going to know if I'm—can I go to that next level?' Because I did Rain Man and Born on the Fourth of July back-to-back, and I thought, 'Can I do this? Do I have talent?'"

Tom was given his answer. His passionate portrayal of an anti-war, pro-human rights activist earned him a Best Actor Oscar® nomination in 1990. Director Oliver Stone was awarded the Best Director Oscar for his work in this intensely moving film.

"When I finished it ... I remember being so exhausted I was sitting on the sidewalk, and Oliver came in, and I just looked up at him and I just realized there's nothing more I could have given," Tom says. "It was a beautiful validation getting the Oscar [nomination]."
Dustin Hoffman


Dustin Hoffman starred with Tom Cruise in 1988's Best Picture Oscar® winner, Rain Man, as the autistic brother of Tom's yuppie character, Charlie Babbitt. In the film, one memorable scene takes place in some tight quarters—a phone booth.

"It was blistering hot that day. We had done several takes with the phone booth door closed," Dustin says. "I don't know why, but just before a take, I emitted gas, and you weren't able to open the door because they were going right into the take. And so [we] made it part of the scene."

Dustin says that's his favorite moment of any film he's ever done. "That includes Shakespeare that I've done on stage, anything," he says. "It's the fart scene."

Tom also fondly remembers the scene. "I looked at him, and he wouldn't let me open the door," he says. "I was like, 'How can you stand that? What is this?' You know, with Dustin, you just go."
Tom Cruise talks about what it was like to work with Jack Nicholson.

In the dramatic 1992 courtroom thriller A Few Good Men, Tom's character, Lieutenant Daniel Kaffee, is assigned to defend two Marines on trial for murder. When Jack Nicholson takes the stand as Colonel Nathan Jessep, the questioning begins and tension builds. In that moment, Tom and Jack deliver the famous lines that are still quoted today.

Jack: You want answers?

Tom: I want the truth.

Jack: You can't handle the truth!

When Tom first read the script, he says the lines were there, but he had no idea the scene would escalate with such intensity. "It was incredible. I feel so fortunate to have these experiences because when you're working with the likes of Hoffman and Nicholson, the scenes just go to a different place. We didn't know the scene was going to be like that. We just kept hammering on each other," Tom says. "He just kept pushing me, and I kept going back at him, and it just happened like that."
Tom Cruise talks about working as a team.

Tom says creating a fun team atmosphere is part of working on a film. "You know that you never do anything alone and you're all together and you're all going through this experience and you're going away from your families," he says. "I feel privileged to be able to do what I do, and I need everyone's help."

Tom says there are many actors on his roster that he'd still love to team up with in a movie. "There's [Al] Pacino. [Robert] DeNiro. That's really just to name a few. There's so many that I really want to work with, and that I want to work with again."
Steven Spielberg


When Steven Spielberg first met Tom, he says he was a young actor with only Risky Business under his belt. "The first thing I thought was, 'What do I have in the oven that he would be great in?' I couldn't find anything at that moment, and then, of course, his career took off and he left us all in the dust."

Steven has now made two films with Tom—Minority Report and War of the Worlds. Those two movies aside, Steven says Magnolia is his favorite of Tom's films because it's the deepest he has seen his acting go. "Tom compels the audience to listen to what he says," Steven says. "They listen when he says a line of dialogue or even when he's being silent. He's a magnet for our attention."

Tom says getting to work with Steven twice was huge. "To have that opportunity really meant a great deal to me, and I love him and his family, and they mean a lot to me."
Dakota Fanning

In 2005, Tom worked with Dakota Fanning in the action-packed War of the Worlds, directed by Steven Spielberg. When she arrived at the set, Dakota says she had one thing on her mind—when would she get to meet her famous co-star? "I was so excited to meet him that the backs of everybody's head looked like Tom Cruise to me," she says. When she finally saw him, reality sunk in. "That was the moment I knew that I was in for a really great experience with a very special person."

When filming ended, Dakota says Tom still kept in touch. "I just want to thank you for staying in my life after we finished the movie and calling me to encourage or support me, and sometimes for no reason at all, just to say hello," she says. "I think that's what means the most to me, and I really appreciate all that you have done."

Although she was only 11 years old at the time, Tom says Dakota was wise beyond her years. "Wise and talented," he says.

Twenty-five years have passed since Risky Business, but Tom still remembers what it was to be given that first chance to make a movie. "I'm actually surprised how much I've accomplished, and I just feel really privileged to be able to do what I do, and I thank you all for allowing me to entertain you," he says.

The movie set has now become like a second home to Tom. "I feel that this is what I'm supposed to do," he says. "I love it."
FROM: Celebrating 25 Years in Film with Tom Cruise
Published on May 29, 2008


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