It used to be that action stars had a shelf-life. As an actor or actress ages it becomes more and more improbable that they could pull off some of the feats of daring do that they, well, do. Fortunately (or unfortunately based on your perspective) that hasn’t stopped actors like Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger from constantly returning to the genre that made them famous, despite being in their 70s.
Another ageless actor who shows no signs of slowing down is Tom Cruise. The fifty-seven year old Oscar nominee has made quite the name for himself in the genre in the last fifteen years with actioners like EDGE OF TOMORROW, KNIGHT AND DAY, and of course the MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE series. Cruise also starred in the 2012 actioner JACK REACHER where he portrayed the title character, a drifter and former U.S. Army Military Police Corps officer that exists beyond the law. Tom Cruise also reprised the role for the 2016 sequel JACK REACHER: NEVER GO BACK. Although Cruise was down for more films, the movies failed to produce at the box office. Jack Reacher author Lee Child decided to end the franchise and reboot the character in a television series. According to Child, Cruise was reluctant to go that route, something the author was fine with because he thinks Cruise is too old:
“Cruise was reluctant. He had his own investment in it, he was going to argue against it. It sounds extremely patronizing but I think it’s good for him. He’s too old for this stuff. He’s 57, he needs to move on, transition to being a character actor. He could get another 20 years out of it. He has the talent. He’s a terrific guy, very considerate, good fun.”
While I don’t necessarily agree with Child, I do see his point. Cruise certainly looks like a man twenty years his junior, no doubt due to healthy living and some Scientology juju. However, Cruise is so much more than an action star. The guy is a talented actor as exemplified by his dramatic roles in BORN ON THE FOURTH OF JULY and MAGNOLIA. I sincerely hope that amid the delicious fudgey sundae that is the MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE movies, he sprinkles in some drama fare as well. After all there’s only so long Cruise can continue to do his own stunts before his body breaks down, only so many times he can play Ethan Hunt.
Next up for the constantly running actor is TOP GUN: MAVERICK, the sequel to his 1986 breakout hit. The high flying film sonic booms its way into theaters June 26, 2020. After that Cruise will dive back into the IMF as he’s set to film MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 7 and 8 back-to-back with director Christopher McQuarrie sometime next year.