Tom Cruise and ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ touch down in Cannes - British Herald
November 29, 2022

Tom Cruise and ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ touch down in Cannes

Cannes (France)- Tom Cruise mania descended on Cannes on Wednesday when the actor walked the red carpet, received a surprise Palme d’Or, and watched a squadron of French fighter jets fly over the European premiere of “Top Gun: Maverick.”

Cannes went all out to honour the 59-year-old star, honouring him with a rare on-stage interview and a red-carpet premiere that included a flyby of jets trailing coloured smoke and the unexpected presence of an honorary Palme d’Or. Festival president Pierre Lescure announced the award — about 15 honorary Palmes had previously been given- before the screening began — on stage. The audience applauded Cruise as he accepted the Cannes Film Festival’s top prize.

Cruise brought a palpable buzz to the Croisette, where crowds gathered around the Palais des Festivals shouting “Tom!” to get a glimpse of the 59-year-old star. “Great Balls of Fire” blared on the carpet.

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’s reception, here to save the day.

“I make films for the big screen,” Cruise said to applause during a staged interview at Cannes’ Debussy Theatre.

The European premiere of “Top Gun: Maverick,” directed by Joseph Kosinski and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, drew one of the most star-studded red carpets of the Cannes Film Festival, which began Tuesday runs until May 28. Viola Davis, Dakota Fanning, Omar Sy, and Eva Longoria were in attendance, “Top Gun: Maverick” stars Miles Teller, Jennifer Connelly, Jon Hamm, and Glen Powell.

While Cruise arrived by helicopter at the film’s San Diego premiere aboard an aircraft carrier, he came to the Cannes premiere more traditionally, with the film’s cast and filmmakers in a cavalcade of cars. Cruise paused for several minutes to sign autographs and take pictures with fans lined up across the street from the red carpet.

Before that, the festival honoured Cruise with a tribute that consisted of a career-spanning video montage. 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 Allouch about why, Monsieur Cruise, you take such risks doing your 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 May 27 launch in theatres. It has already touched down at CinemaCon in Las Vegas and premiered in San Diego. Paramount Pictures delayed its release two years during the pandemic, which appears to be paying off with glowing reviews and box-office expectations that “Top Gun: Maverick” will easily mark Cruise’s biggest opening weekend ever.

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

“No, that’s never going to happen,” 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. 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 it again and again as a formative experience.

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

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