Tom Cruise really, really loves movies. They’ve made him a very rich man. But for him, it’s about far more than money. In interviews and in his films themselves, you can always sense his boyish enthusiasm, his need to entertain no matter what. Time and time again, he’s nearly killed himself to wow us. In “Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol,” he hung off the Burj Khalifa in Dubai — the world’s tallest building. In the series’ next film, “Rogue Nation,” he jumped onto a plane as it was taking off.
For “The Mummy,” Cruise “only” spent two days in a “vomit comet.” That is, he filmed a key scene in a plane that nosedived from the sky, creating zero gravity. But equally important to Cruise was that his new film brought back an old genre: the monster movie. “The Mummy” is the first in a new franchise called the “Dark Universe,” which will revive Universal’s classic creatures, including Dracula, Frankenstein’s monster and the Creature from the Black Lagoon. Even after some 35 years in the business, Cruise, 54, is far from jaded. He still just wants to entertain.
We talked to Cruise as he was doing international press for his latest blockbuster, trotting the globe to talk to journalists and fans alike.
It is amazing the way you interact with all of your fans on red carpets.
Listen, I came up with this idea of doing premieres in different countries, because I wanted to have that time to celebrate movies. I am a film fan first and foremost, so I love that kind of engagement. It makes the job fun. And it gives me the chance to dress up. [Laughs]
You’ve done a lot of action movies. What’s special about ‘The Mummy”?
“The Mummy” is totally different. First of all, it’s a monster movie — the kind of movies that established Universal Pictures as a viable film company. So when they came to me and asked if I wanted to be part of this “Dark Universe,” be the one who launched the first movie of this new universe, I felt it was a good opportunity to help define the genre of monster movies for a new audience. I love monster movies. I saw the original ones in black-and-white on television when I was a kid — the ones that were made in the ’30s.
Why do you love movies so much?
They just inspire me. I’ve watched movies since I was a kid. Since I was four years old, I dreamt of making movies about the places where I grew up. I want to travel the world but not just as a tourist. I want to learn. I love history and I want to be part of the culture. Movies allow me to see a different way of life, different cultures. It’s a language that transcends all barriers, everything. I love it.
So, it’s the love of your life?
Yes, it is.