Cruise, Tom

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Tom Cruise played Lestat de Lioncourt in the film Interview with the Vampire.

Cruise, Tom (1962–)

(pop culture)

Tom Cruise, the actor who portrayed the vampire Lestat de Lioncourt in the movie version of Anne Rice‘s Interview with the Vampire was born Thomas Cruise Mapother on July 3, 1962, in Syracuse, New York. He grew up in New York and New Jersey and began his acting career soon after graduating from high school. His first professional part was a role in a dinner theater production of Godspell. Cruise’s debut in motion pictures was in 1981 in Endless Love, followed by Taps and Losin’ It. He became a star after his performance as a young rich kid left on his own in his family’s suburban Chicago home in the comedy Risky Business. A series of starring roles followed, including All the Right Moves, Legend, Top Gun, The Color of Money, and Rain Man, movies in which he worked with many of Hollywood’s finest actors and actresses. Cruise took a major step forward with his portrayal of a Vietnam veteran in Born on the Fourth of July (1989), which earned him an Academy Award nomination. More recently he has continued his appealing performances in A Few Good Men and The Firm. In 1993 he was presented with the Actor of the Decade Award at the Chicago International Film Festival.

In the summer of 1993 it was announced that Cruise had been signed to play Lestat in the long-delayed movie version of Interview with a Vampire. He was given the part opposite Brad Pitt, who would play Louis. The announcement unleashed a controversy between author Anne Rice and the studio, Geffen Films. Rice decried the selection of Cruise, whom she saw as too young, too American, and, most of all, lacking in the primal quality of Lestat. Cruise’s career had been a series of almost stereotypical male roles quite different from the character of Lestat. Unlike the traditional vampire, Lestat develops close relationships with other males and shows a number of feminine characteristics. Fans were quick to jump to Cruise’s defense and to note that he had grown with each part he had played. His fans claimed that his performances in Rain Man and Born on the Fourth of July demonstrated that he could adapt to many different roles. Cruise reportedly accepted a slight cut in salary for what he saw as a risky part that would test his acting ability. It was the first time he would portray what was considered a dark role. The film was to be completed and released in the fall of 1994, and became one of the largest grossing vampire films of the twentieth century. After seeing the film Anne Rice rescinded her comments and said Cruise did a wonderful job. Cruise did not star in the sequel, Queen of the Damned, but has gone one to play in a number of outstanding roles and has remained a center of controversy due to his religious commitments. Rumors periodically surface that he is considering a second attempt to play Lestat, but no manifestation beyond the rumors have appeared to date (2009).

Sources:

Silver, Alan. “The Vampire Cruise?” DGA Directors Guild of America News 18, 5 (October–November 1993): 27.