Tom Cruise Interview For ‘Oblivion’
In 2073, a former-Marine Commander Jack Harper (Tom Cruise) is one of the last few drone repairmen stationed at Earth which was nearly destroyed by an alien invasion 60 years ago. As part of a massive operation to extract the planet’s remaining vital resources, he lives in an airborne “town” floating thousands of meters above the Earth. His mission nearly complete, Jack’s soaring existence comes crashing down when he rescues a female stranger (Olga Kurylenko) from a downed spacecraft. Her arrival triggers a series of events that forces Jack to question everything he knows about the war and its aftermath. ‘Oblivion’ is released on April 10th in the UK and April 19th in the US. From writer/director Joseph Kosinski (Tron: Legacy), ‘Oblivion’ also stars Andrea Riseborough (Victoria Olsen), Morgan Freeman (Malcolm Beech), Mellissa Leo (Sally) and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Sykes). Look out for part 2 of this interview later this week.
Can you remember your first time meeting with or speaking to Joseph Kosinski about ‘Oblivion’? Maybe even seeing some of his concept art, reading the script…?
Tom Cruise: Yeah. I read the story for ‘Oblivion’ and I’d seen the commercials that Joe had directed prior, so I called him up. We met, he showed me pieces of ‘Tron: Legacy’ and I was amazed by it. I thought, “Wow. This guy’s a big filmmaker, and he’s very talented.” Joe is someone who creates other worlds, and his vision for ‘Oblivion’ is what interested me. I’ve never seen anything like it: the way that he wanted to direct it and all the elements that were involved. Although I haven’t made a sci-fi film since ‘Minority Report,’ I love the genre and I knew that Joe works well in it. And what I love about Joe, who I think is a visionary filmmaker, is that he can make a very personal story, but put it in a massive landscape with epic stakes. Literally the fate of the world is at stake. Also, I just loved the stories unique twists and turns, which happen all the way up to the very last frame of the movie.
And your character in the film, Jack, what was it about him and his arc that you found interesting?
Tom Cruise: Jack is a futuristic blue collar guy, basically. At the start of the film he believes he’s the last man on Earth. He’s a guy who fixes drones and he’s in charge of security for the resource gatherers and those big machines that are gathering up Earth’s sea water, to be utilized for the new colony on Titan. And that’s his job, everyday he goes down to Earth while Victoria stays in the Skytower and he’s essentially just fixing the drones and trying to not get killed (laughs). But Jack, he feels such a pull to Earth, that this is his home – I think that’s a big theme in the film: what is your home? And Earth is his home, he is questioning whether he wants to leave or not, even though all the resources are going. Victoria can’t wait to go to Titan, she’s done the five year tour of duty and she’s ready to move on.
Jack seems like an inquisitive guy, and with him having that pull towards Earth, he wants to understand why….?
Tom Cruise: Yeah (laughs). Jack doesn’t know why he feels nostalgic for certain items that he has, whether that’s the hat or New York, and I think that’s part of the mystery of the movie. With something like The Empire State Building, which features largely in the film, and is a romantic element to the picture and a tragic element and a dangerous element, he’s intrigued by it. But he doesn’t know why, and Jack is curious, Jack wants to know, he wants to understand things. He’s not satisfied with not knowing the answer to something. He’s a guy who fixes things and he understands how the drones work and he’s a very curious guy. Also, in the story, all of a sudden this woman arrives and obviously she’s a mysterious woman, she’s a human. This spaceship has crashed in his zone of operation and suddenly there’s that woman that he’s dreamed about. He’s tried to block it out, but he feels this pull to this woman and now she’s here.
Talking to Morgan Freeman, he was telling me how you two had spoke with each about working together years ago. How was it finally going toe-to-toe with him?
Tom Cruise: Oh man, that was great. I met Morgan Freeman in 1990 when both of us were nominated for Oscars. I was nominated for ‘Born on the Fourth of July’ and he was for ‘Driving Miss Daisy.’ I so admired him, and I remember that night at the Oscars how I was looking forward to saying hello and telling him how much I loved him in the movie and we both said we should work together sometime. I’m sad it took so many years before this occurred (laughs), but I’m happy to have had the opportunity to work with him. He’s a wonderful man, and he’s an extraordinary actor. We had a great cast on this film.
I know you get a kick out of performing your own stunts and working on practical sets, so what was it like working with the Skytower, Bubbleship and Moto Bike?
Tom Cruise: That was awesome! With the Skytower, not acting with green screen does help as an actor. It’s interactive, so it was without a doubt the most beautiful and peaceful set I’ve ever shot on. This natural lighting became our lighting. With the clouds projected all around us, it gave the set a very ethereal, yet organic, feeling. It’s so vast and so beautiful, hauntingly beautiful. The aesthetic is so cool.
Being on the Bubbleship, Joe showed me the drawings and the concept art, and I just thought, “This is so cool.” I’m a pilot, and I love the way he designed it. It’s as beautiful as it is on screen. Every piece of it was so smooth and elegant, and they designed it to fit my body for all the action. I want someone to build it so we can fly it for real (laughs)!
Then with the Moto Bike, it’s a tricky design because when I was riding there were moments that I had to carry Olga. The guys that designed this did a sensational job with not just the look of it, but changing the balance of the bike. Since I was doing jumps and running through Iceland, it had to be safe enough for me to travel at very high speeds without a helmet. I know it was tricky for them to figure out the balance of that bike, and I had a blast riding it.
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