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Tom Cruise and ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ Touch Down in Cannes

Tom Cruise and ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ Touch Down in Cannes

Wednesday, 18 May, 2022 - 17:00
US actor Tom Cruise smiles during a "Rendez-Vous With Tom Cruise" at the 75th edition of the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, southern France, on May 18, 2022. (AFP)

Tom Cruise mania descended Wednesday in Cannes where the actor made a whirlwind appearance at the French film festival to screen "Top Gun: Maverick," exalt the big screen and sit for a rare interview.

Cruise brought a palpable buzz to the Croisette, where throngs gathered around the Palais des Festivals to get a glimpse of the 59-year-old star. Cruise hadn't been to the festival in three decades. But with plenty of media disruption challenging the theatrical experience, Cannes and Cruise exuded the vibe of long-last pals. "He is devoted to cinema," declared artistic director Thierry Fremaux. Cruise's enthusiastic welcome smacked in some ways of an action hero sent to save the day.

"I make movies for the big screen," Cruise said to applause in an interview on stage at Cannes' Debussy Theater.

The festival honored Cruise with a tribute that consisted of a career-spanning video montage, after which Cruise spoke about his dedication to filmmaking in an interview that stayed away from any personal questions. Instead, he responded to prodding from interviewer Didier Allouc about why, Monsieur Cruise, do you take such risks doing your own stunts?

"No one asked Gene Kelly ‘Why do you dance?’" answered Cruise.

The Cannes stopover for "Top Gun: Maverick" is part of a worldwide tour for the film ahead of its Memorial Day weekend opening. It has already touched down at CinemaCon in Las Vegas and premiered aboard an aircraft carrier in San Diego.

Paramount Pictures delayed its release two years during the pandemic, a move that appears to be paying off with glowing reviews and box-office expectations that "Top Gun: Maverick" will easily mark Cruise's biggest opening weekend.

Asked if he was ever tempted to steer the film to a streaming service, Cruise replied emphatically.

"No, that’s not going to happen ever," responded Cruise to loud applause. "That was never going to happen."

Cruise spent the majority of the conversation explaining his extreme dedication to the craft of moviemaking, how from an early age he dug into every element of film productions and analyzed how particular modes of acting worked best on the big screen. Shooting the 1981 film "Taps," with George C. Scott, he returned to again and again as a formative experience.

"Please," Cruise said he thought at the time, "if I could just do this for the rest of my life, I will never take it for granted."

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