What? Not a single comment on the new pictures??? I’m taking that you don’t want more…..
What? Not a single comment on the new pictures??? I’m taking that you don’t want more…..
When Tom Cruise was sent the script for his upcoming epic, “The Last Samurai,’ all he knew about Japan’s ancient warriors came from watching Akira Kurosawa movies and, later, their Jedi cousins in George Lucas’ “Star Wars’ series. As a young man, Cruise thought samurai were cool, what with the swords and the flowing garb, but now, as he started reading up, he discovered their Meshido code of honor. Today, he can’t stop talking about it.
“Honor, loyalty, compassion: Those aren’t just words, they are action, they are a way of life,’ Cruise says. “This movie has a lot of adventure and battle scenes, but I wouldn’t have made it if it didn’t explore the samurai’s code. The purity of that is stronger than any battle scene we could have dreamt up.’
As Cruise says this, he and “Samurai’ director Ed Zwick are flying in a private jet somewhere over the Pacific Ocean. They’re returning from a whirlwind trip to Japan, and we do mean whirlwind. They were on the ground for less than 12 hours, in the air for more than 24. But this code thing has proved to be a hard habit to shake, and Zwick promised Japanese officials that they’d be the first to see clips from the movie, which will be released in the States on Dec. 5.
“It’s their culture, and I think they were a little reticent at first about us making a movie depicting it,’ Cruise, 41, says. “Now I get the feeling that they’re excited. We’ll see. In Japan, young people today don’t really know what Meshido is or the code of the samurai. I don’t know how much of a history lesson this is, but at least it will be out there for them to absorb.’
Indeed. Cruise’s movies don’t usually want for exposure, although this year he’s going to have to fight for the attention of moviegoers. “The Last Samurai’ is a historical epic in a holiday season crowded with period yarns: Peter Weir’s “Master and Commander’ sails the high seas, John Lee Hancock remembers “The Alamo,’ and Anthony Minghella’s Civil War love story “Cold Mountain’ will have the Miramax marketing might behind it. Each one is a potential box-office blockbuster and best-picture contender.
Like “Cold Mountain,’ “The Last Samurai’ is set in the Civil War period. Cruise plays Nathan Algren, a tortured Union officer, a former war hero turned drunk, haunted day and night by the massacre of a Sioux tribe. Algren comes to Japan in 1876 when the Japanese emperor decides to modernize his army and teach them Western warfare. That spells the end for the samurai.
Algren is, at first, the good soldier. But the more time he spends trying to eradicate the samurai, the more he comes to appreciate their ways. Events conspire to bring Algren’s conflicted loyalties to a head, and from that point, the man puts his money where his Meshido is.
Zwick has wanted to make a samurai movie ever since, well, forever. He first saw Kurosawa’s movies while a freshman at Harvard. He remembers when he saw each one and where, and counts the moment when he shook the master’s hand at a reception for “Kagemusha’ in 1980 as one of the greatest in his then-young life.
But wanting to make a samurai movie and getting a studio to green light it are two different things, even for a director like Zwick, who has proven himself commercially both with movies he has directed (“Glory,’ “Legends of the Fall’) and produced (“Traffic,’ “Shakespeare in Love’).
“When you go to somebody and say, ‘I want to make a movie about the Meiji Restoration of 1878,’ generally it’s a kind of dull, blank stare that you get,” Zwick says. “You have to show them what you mean, talk about the dramatic changes in the social structure and the internal revolutions Japan was facing, then you have to deliver it all on the page and then you fight about money — a lot.’
That’s one reason why it’s taken Zwick the better part of a decade to put “The Last Samurai’ on the screen. Not surprisingly, when Cruise signed on board last year after dropping out of “Cold Mountain’ (different movies, different time zones, same time period), Warner Bros. president Alan Horn was happy to give Zwick all the money he needed (which was a lot) to realize his vision.
To play the Yankee-turned-samurai, Cruise did all the requisite training so he could perform the heavy lifting the film required. He pitched a tent on a tennis court at his house seven months before filming began, enlisted Nick Powell — who taught Russell Crowe and Mel Gibson their savage sword moves for “Gladiator’ and “Braveheart,’ respectively — and went to work. Cruise gained 20 pounds — most of it went to building muscle in his thighs, forearms and shoulders — to be able to comfortably wear the samurai armor and wield all the weaponry.
“I knew something was working when I tried putting on one of my suits and couldn’t get my arm in the sleeve,’ Cruise says, laughing. “Carrying those swords just builds up your forearms beyond belief.’
But he’s quick to add that samurai aren’t all about fighting, and again goes back to the code — the loyalty, honor and compassion that the ancient warriors possessed. And as much as people focus on Cruise’s physical transformation — he grew out his hair and did his best to patch together a beard (he jokes those two things alone accounted for five pounds of his weight gain) — Cruise says the emotional work he devoted to his character was far more strenuous and time-consuming.
Marshall Herskovitz, Zwick’s long-time writing and producing partner, backs him up. Herskovitz was a producer on “The Last Samurai’ and took a pass at the screenplay last spring after Zwick basically told him to put up or shut up.
Herskovitz believed the movie needed to deepen the relationships between Cruise’s soldier and the film’s other characters. He wanted more emotional involvement all the way around. His question: Would Cruise want those same things?
“There’s always a certain amount of trepidation when you’re dealing with someone of Tom’s power,’ Herskovitz says. “They want what they want, and if they want something that you don’t want, it’s going to be a difficult situation. And usually what they want comes from some combination of vanity and fear. They want to protect themselves.
“But what I got with Tom is: ‘I want to be challenged. I want to do something I’ve never done before and I think this is the way to do it.’ And then he offers these remarkable insights about what makes a character work, things we had never thought of, things that were no less bold from an acting standpoint.
“I think what has happened,’ Herskovitz continues, “is that, over the years, Tom has put himself in the hands of people he considers to be masters of the form, whether it’s Scorsese or Kubrick, and has quite openly wanted to learn from them. And what’s interesting is to see him now coming into his own as a man — he’s 40 years old (actually 41) — having internalized a lot of this stuff, having a vision that’s informed by a lot of what these guys taught him. And it’s very sophisticated.’
Cruise won’t cop to that, although, like the samurai, actions speak louder than words. He’s moving from “The Last Samurai’ to playing a contract killer in Michael Mann’s new movie, “Collateral,’ another left turn for another great director.
“You want to do something that’s exciting, and excitement usually comes with risk,’ Cruise says. “But that’s half the fun of it, I think.’
Here’s a better version of another poster from The Last Samurai.
View it here
Chantal has sent me some cool articles confirming Tom in The Few:
Once again, Tom Cruise feels the need… the need for speed. According to Variety, the ”Top Gun” star is hoping to climb back into the cockpit to play a fighter pilot in Paramount’s World War II drama ”The Few.” He’d play real-life war hero Billy Fiske, an Olympic athlete-turned-fighter pilot who led the group of American flyboys who covertly joined Britain’s Royal Air Force in 1940, well before the U.S. entered the war, violating the official American policy of neutrality and risking possible jail time. The role may also have Cruise doing something he’s never done on screen: die. Fiske was the first American pilot killed fighting the Germans.
”The Few” would reunite Cruise with some of his current collaborators. Directing is Michael Mann, who’s about to shoot Cruise’s first villain role in ”Collateral,” in which Cruise will play a hitman. In talks to write the script is John Logan, screenwriter of another Cruise war movie, ”The Last Samurai,” which opens in December.
Well, his character is in the latest movie he has signed on to, The Few. In the film, Tiny Tom plays Billy Fiske, the first American pilot to die in WWII (and whose son would one day go on to rule New York City crime with a chubby fist, trapped in an endless grudge match with a blind lawyer). It seems that while the US was still neutral, Fiske and a small group of Americans risked prosecution to fly Spitfires for the decimated RAF.
The project is like a reunion – the script will probably be written by John Logan, who scripted Cruise’s winter film The Last Samurai, and it will be directed by Michael Mann, who is helming Cruise’s next film, the cab thriller Collateral.
From Cinema Confidential
Variety reports that Tom Cruise is taking it to the skies again in “The Few” for Paramount Pictures.
Cruise will reteam with “Collateral” director Michael Mann, which will begin filming shortly. In “The Few,” Cruise will play Billy Fiske, the first American pilot killed fighting the Germans in World War II. Fiske was an Olympic athlete who was half-British, half-American. He broke U.S. rules and fought with the British against the Nazis.
“The Last Samurai” scribe John Logan is in negotiations to pen the script based on a book by Kershaw.
Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World helmer Peter Weir is in talks to direct The War Magician, a WWII epic for Paramount and producers Tom Cruise and Paula Wagner.
The Peter Buchman-scripted adaptation of the David Fisher book tells the story of a patriotic British stage magician who volunteered his illusionist abilities to help battle the Nazis. After proving his potential value to skeptical commanders, Maskelyne and a few cohorts were sent to North Africa, where British troops were being pounded by Gen. Rommel.
Maskelyne helped halt Rommel’s charge through a campaign of deception. He camouflaged a key British-occupied harbor by creating a bogus one that bore the brunt of nightly bombing raids; shielded troops in the Suez Canal through a system of anti-aircraft searchlights and mirrors that blinded Nazi pilots; and camouflaged British weaponry and used props to give the appearance of a stronger fighting force.
The film was originally set up as a starring vehicle for Cruise, but he plans to limit himself to producer at this point.
Read my below after reading this…, I need your opinion!! Also, I just learn how to create skins, which is gonna be very helpful, since some of you dont like the current layout…, I’ll make several!
Anyways, David sent me this
This should interest you…Tom Cruise is jumping back into a cockpit once again for Paramount Pictures. Cruise, who shot to superstardom back in the 80s playing an ace fighter pilot in TOP GUN, will enlist with the RAF during World War II in THE FEW.
The idea for Cruise’s new picture originated with a book proposal by Alex Kershaw. Kershaw wants to tell the story of a real-life American pilot named Billy Fiske who enlisted in the Royal Air Force at a time before America was involved with WW2. England had just suffered devastating losses to its air force from German fighter pilots and had planes sitting inside hangers but no pilots to fly them. Then British Prime Minster Winston Churchill launched a recruiting campaign aimed at American civilian pilots to enlist with the RAF to provide the skilled personnel the country so desperately needed. Even though it meant facing a possible prison sentence when they returned from battle (if they did), a handful of Americans signed up and fought on behalf of the RAF. Fiske was one of these men and became the first American pilot killed in action by the Germans.
Screenwriter John Logan, who wrote THE LAST SAMURAI, will write the script for THE FEW. Director Michael Mann, who is about to work with Cruise in the upcoming thriller COLLATERAL, will also direct the actor in the new Paramount picture.
Thank you David!
And, there’s already a thread on this on the forum. Go give your opinion!
Would you guys prefer a layout where you can choose the color themes? I’d put a few options and you chose… ?
fans of action movies, the marriage of American gunfighting and Japanese swordplay has yielded an almost biblical genealogy. Hollywood influenced Akira Kurosawa, who made “Seven Samurai,” which John Sturges westernized as “The Magnificent Seven,” which spurred Kurosawa to reply with “Yojimbo,” which Sergio Leone and Clint Eastwood copied as “A Fistful of Dollars.”
Now comes “The Last Samurai,” opening Dec. 5, a film that may prove to be more than the latest in this line of begats. By casting Tom Cruise as an American frontiersman in 19th-century Japan, “The Last Samurai” does not just engage in East-West exchange; it takes this cultural traffic as its subject. In doing so, “The Last Samurai” also brings to the surface a common theme of these movies: loyalty to a lost cause.
Like westerns, samurai movies are often populated by veterans of civil war who can face death impassively because their defeat is already an accomplished fact. The great swordsman and military thinker Musashi Miyamoto perhaps defined this type for Japan, as the central character in a novel by Eiji Yoshikawa (“Musashi,” published as a serial in Japan from 1935 to 1939 and in an English abridgement in 1981) and in its movie version, Hiroshi Inagaki’s influential “Samurai Trilogy” (the first installment of which was released in 1954, the same year as “Seven Samurai”). Like many a Confederate soldier who traveled west after Appomattox, making his way as a gunslinger, Musashi became a wanderer with a code of honor after fighting on the losing side at Sekigahara, in 1600.
Since “Yojimbo,” samurai movies have been less than entirely serious about the nobility of defeat. This is partly because the wised-up samurai picture is as much a gangster movie as a western, and partly because people with no love of the Confederacy have made their way into the genre. Witness Omar Epps as a South Central yakuza in Takeshi Kitano’s “Brother” or Forest Whitaker as a soulful hit man in Jim Jarmusch’s “Ghost Dog: Way of the Samurai.”
“The Last Samurai” promises a return to classic form, with less irony and more elegy. Granted, Mr. Cruise’s veteran fought for the Union rather than the Confederacy (as you might expect of the director, Edward Zwick, who also made “Glory”).
On the other hand, when Mr. Cruise joins with Ken Watanabe’s samurai forces, he finds his way into a losing cause