It's been a big week for Tom Cruise. The first trailer for Jack Reacher landed online, he was named Hollywood's most profitable actor, he turned 50, and to top it off, he was served with surprise divorce papers from wife Katie Holmes. Where does he find the time?
The couple was in Baton Rouge for three months up until just a few weeks ago while Cruise filmed sci-fi thriller Oblivion at Celtic Media Centre. But nothing that went down in the Red Stick was a source of the split as Holmes was allegedly planning her escape—okay, divorce—for some time.
All this crazy Cruise action has me wondering the professional fall out from this personal life crisis will mirror a stretch in his career when he seemed open to taking supporting roles more avant garde fair instead of his typical cocky leading man shtick.
I'm talking about a period that spanned roughly 1999-2004 which began with Cruise's mystified and moody performance as a distanced husband seeking answers in Stanley Kubrick's final film Eyes Wide Shut and ended with the iconic actor taking on his first outright villain role as a cold-blooded hit man in Michael Mann's Collateral.
In between he earned his third, and most recent, Academy Award nomination—Best Supporting Actor for P.T. Anderson's heartbreak epic Magnolia—starred in his first historical epic, The Last Samurai, and top-lined two brainy head trips in the form of Cameron Crowe's surreal Vanilla Sky and Steven Speilberg's dystopian Philip K. Dick adaptation Minority Report. Throw in John Woo's Mission: Impossible II in that mix, and I'm not sure any actor has ever worked with such a brilliant and diverse series of directors in a span of six straight pictures.
This period of risky business with his film roles came toward the end of his relationship with Nicole Kidman and ran straight through his bachelor years before marrying Holmes. Could his latest divorce lead to a similar shift in projects he selects?
With six projects in the pipeline already, it's difficult to say what immediate effect audiences will see, but if is what it takes to get Cruise back to Collateral shape as a character actor, this news is a win for Holmes and a win for audiences, too.
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