The coronavirus has changed cinema. Even what we consider cinema. From that confinement, people discovered the comfort of the platforms and forgot about the rooms. It was two years in which the movies saved us. What few imagined is that in some way they also condemned the big screen. A change of model that many presaged was accelerated. Few in the industry opposed the change. Producers, directors, actors... they all saw an opportunity on the platforms. There was more work, new voices were given a voice, and the communal experience of sharing a story in the same space was forgotten. There are exceptions. Actors, actresses, directors, who continue to defend a way of enjoying that has nothing to do with algorithms. Among them stands out Tom Cruise. He is one of the last defenders of the rooms. Perhaps the last actor. He has never made a movie for a platform. He has never done a television series. He works for and for the cinema.
For theaters he has made Top Gun: Maverick, the sequel to the film that made him a star. A film that should have been released in June 2020 but suffered delay after delay. For two years the actor has endured the film to be able to release it as he conceived it. Many believed that it could end up premiering on Netflix, on Amazon or on any platform. But for Cruise it was never an option. He has confirmed it at the Cannes Festival, where he has presented the film in style. It is one of the great premieres of the contest, which already had it selected for its 2020 edition and ended up screening it two years later.
Cannes has also dedicated a tribute to him, and in the words of Thierry Frémaux, one reason was that ironclad and seamless defense of the rooms. A defense that they share, since no film that is not released in theaters can compete for the Palme d'Or. In that tribute the question was forced, were you never tempted or pressured to release Top Gun: Maverick on a platform? His answer, emphatic: "That will never happen. Never. I go to the cinema and I see all those people working, those who put the popcorn that are raising the cinemas and I promise you that when I make a film I try to apply all the skills that I have learned during all these years to create an experience that has to do with people, with what is human".
His defense of the cinema has been one of the centers of this meeting with the press where he has underlined that "we must be united and as a community share jointly". "I understand this business, I have studied it, and there is something very specific about making a film for theaters. I make films for theaters, then they go wherever they want, but I always think of making a film that hooks the public, that entertains them, that go beyond the first weekend of release. I like that experience and I think there are a lot of directors who want this too. It's different writing a film for the cinema than it is for television. There's something about how it's shot, how it communicates ... everything is different. Movies are my passion. I go to the movies when every release comes out and I want to be there, see the trailers, spend time with the theater owners. I want to understand these changes and help the studios, because if a film that means I can do another later," he said at Cannes.
The actor recalled how his cinephilia began when he was four years old, when he felt he wanted to "have adventures." The typical boy who climbed trees, but also that he soon began to write characters to play. He started doing jobs like mowing lawns for neighbors or selling postcards for one reason: to go to the movies. After his second audition, he landed his first role, and there he realized that although he never went to film school, he "knew movies since he was a kid." His education was on the set. "I went to each department and studied everything that happened there. I understood that if I made movies I had to understand and study what was happening in each place. Everything. I studied every aspect of a film and that has been my cinephile education," he said about how he understands a profession in which he continues to learn and in which he believes that one should not be afraid to say "I don't know".
Cruise has thanked again and again and has assured that he is happy to have been able to work in what he loves and to have been able to "travel around the world": "Not only as a tourist, but to work in those countries and learn those cultures. I've wanted to meet these people, understand how they tell stories, what they laugh with, honor other cultures and share my stories with the world. Those are the things that interest me. The stories, the people…". He has also defended the common experience of making a film, the team over individualism and has highlighted the great technical teams with which he has worked and put the value of each department: "It is important to know everything, understand the lenses, why use one or the other. I always tell actors that the best thing they can do is understand every aspect of a movie and how they come together to make a movie. Understand why the set designer is important, why the costumes are important… I don't like people doing what I say, because it's not my movie, it's our movie, and I need everyone to contribute to making it, because that's the most fun."
One of the characteristics of the actor's films is that he always performs all his action scenes, and in Cannes he acknowledged that "of course they scare me", but doing so is a way of giving himself over to the public and thinking about what four-year-old boy would like as a spectator. "When someone says that something is impossible, I think, well, maybe it is possible, and I try. I always advise that it is better to try something and fail than not to do it. Better to ask yourself and not be afraid to do it. I give my life for this profession because I feel privileged and I love it. I always think about what I can give the audience so that they think it was worth it, because then you see their faces, and I don't want to disappoint them, especially the new generations" .
Before entering the premiere of the film, the actor spent a good time taking photos with his fans, greeting them and signing autographs. One of the last big Hollywood stars who knows that promotion is essential. In fact, Cruise recalled how he began to include as a condition to "make premieres in every city in the world, take the red carpets." Tom Cruise refuses to give up and will keep rolling to build those rooms that made him the star he is now.