Thandie Newton has revealed that she was scared of Tom Cruise while filming Mission: Impossible 2. The actress starred alongside Cruise in the 2000 action flick, which was the first sequel in the long-running franchise that is still going to this day. But, as Newton tells it, Cruise was a lot to handle on set.
The reveal came as part of a candid and wide-ranging interview with the Westworld star. At one point, Thandie Newton was discussing screenwriter Paul Haggis, who she worked with on Crash. Haggis is currently embroiled in a sexual assault case. Newton expressed her surprise that “smart” people end up being associated with Scientology, which brought her to Tom Cruise. When asked why she never did another Mission: Impossible movie, Newton said the following.
“Oh, I was never asked. I was so scared of Tom. He was a very dominant individual. He tries superhard to be a nice person. But the pressure. He takes on a lot. And I think he has this sense that only he can do everything as best as it can be done. There was one time, we were doing this night scene, there were so many extras with pyrotechnics and you name it, and it was a scene with him and me on the balcony.”
“And I don’t think it was a very well-written scene. I get angry with him. We’re frustrated with each other. And we’re looking out over Spain. It wasn’t going well. And John Woo, bless him, wasn’t there. He was downstairs looking at everything on a monitor. And John had made a decision at the beginning of the movie, unbeknownst certainly to me, that he didn’t speak English. Which I think was very helpful to him, but it was extremely unhelpful to the rest of us.”
Tom Cruise has had a career that spans nearly four decades. The actor is known for being intense and dedicated, going so far, in recent years, to learn how to fly jets for Top Gun 2. Speaking further, Thandie Newton detailed the unflattering side of that dedication and intensity. While filming a scene, Cruise, attempting to be helpful, made Newton feel insecure.
“So this scene was happening, and Tom was not happy with what I was doing because I had the shittiest lines. And he gets so frustrated with having to try and explain that he goes, ‘Let me just, let’s just go do it. Let’s just rehearse on-camera.’ So we rehearsed and they recorded it, and then he goes, ‘I’ll be you. You be me.’ So we filmed the entire scene with me being him, because, believe me, I knew the lines by then, and him playing me. And it was the most unhelpful … I can’t think of anything less revealing. It just pushed me further into a place of terror and insecurity. It was a real shame. And bless him. And I really do mean bless him, because he was trying his damnedest.”
Thandie Newton even claims she watched a zit form on Tom Cruise’s nose from all the stress he was under. She calls the experience a nightmare, going on to explain the situation.
“I remember at the beginning of the night, seeing this slight red mark on his nose, and by the end of the night, I kid you not – this is how his metabolism is so fierce – he had a big whitehead where that red dot was. It would take anyone else 48 hours to manifest a zit. I saw it growing, and it was like the zit was me, just getting bigger and bigger. I remember calling Jonathan Demme. I described the night to him: ‘A nightmare.’ As I was describing it, it was clear that I thought I was the big fucking problem. And Jonathan was like, ‘Thandie, shame on you for not backing yourself.’ He was really sweet.”
Despite the terrible experience, Thandie Newton did seem to be taking the whole thing in stride all of these years later. But the story doesn’t end there. As the actress recalls, Tom Cruise ended up wanting to reshoot the scene. What’s more, it was Cruise’s then-wife Nicole Kidman who got Newton the job in the first place.
“Tom called and I thought, Oh, this is it. The apology. No, he was just like, ‘We’re going to reshoot this next week.’ I’m like, ‘Way brilliant.’ And the next time we shot it, I went in there and I just basically manifested all the, because I realized what he wanted. He just wanted this alpha bitch. And I did as best as I could. It’s not the best way to get the best work out of someone. He wasn’t horrible. It was just, he was really stressed. I had the most extraordinary time, and you know who got me that role? Nicole Kidman. I’ve never actually outright asked her, but when your husband is like, ‘Who would you mind me pretending to shag for the next six months?’ You know what I mean? It’s kind of nice if you can pick together. Nicole was a huge advocate for me.”
Even without the Mission: Impossible franchise, Thandie Newton is doing quite well these days. Aside from Westworld, she recently starred in Solo: A Star Wars Story and is set to star in the new sci-fi/thriller Reminiscence alongside Hugh Jackman. Tom Cruise, meanwhile, is gearing up for Mission: Impossible 7 and 8, which are set to shoot back-to-back. This news comes to us via Vulture.