3:27 pm - 05/25/2010

Tom Cruise Esquire Cover

The Making (and Remaking) of Tom Cruise: Cover Preview

In his own words, the star of Knight and Day — and Esquire's new 'How to Be a Man' issue — on how he figured things out, from forgiving his father to being one. And that whole thing on Oprah's couch.

On His Father

"I remember looking at my dad and wanting to understand him. I didn't want to just write the guy off. He was lost. I can't speak specifically in terms of why and how he got to where he was — that was his journey. All I can tell you is, he was overwhelmed by life... My mother basically did all the work, and then they got separated and I didn't see him for a long time. He didn't try to help the family financially or spiritually, and I lived with the effects of the chaos."

On the Value of Family

"You hear about people who have lifelong friends. I never was in a place long enough to have them. So that role was filled by my family.

"If anyone was teasing my sisters, I really felt it... I'd create different characters and ad-lib sketches to make my sisters and my mother feel better. I'd try to make them laugh. I'd do Donald Duck as John Wayne. I'd watch Soul Train and imitate the dancers. I guess you can say that's where it started. I always had a dream to be in movies, [my family] didn't say, That's impossible. They laughed."

On Knowledge

"Now, I'd ridden bikes a lot. When I was a kid, I'd set up ramps for jumps, like Evel Knievel, and crash all the time. I'd done it all — but never on a minibike. I got on. Of course, all I wanted to do was go fast, so I hit the throttle. I started off by a neighbor's yard, went past our yard, which had a little hump, and suddenly I was airborne... Rrrrrrrrrrr! The minibike is still going. Oh, no, I'm alive... Okay, I'm alive. The minibike was wedged between the bumpers of the two cars. What a lesson: Know before you go. [You don't] have to curb your enthusiasm. Just fill it in with a little knowledge."

On Humanity

"I got to talk to an astronaut and I asked him, 'What's it like going out into space and looking back at the world?' He said that it changed his perspective. Looking back at the world, you think, My God, how small it is. What are we doing? We don't need barriers and borders. But I already understood that. I understood it going from Canada to Kentucky."

On the Joy of Work

"We shot [A Few Good Men] in one go. You could sense how it was going to be edited — like butter. At a certain point it goes beyond work, which is when it's fun. All I can tell you is, I remember being sad afterward that it was over."

On His Big Break

"The audition [for Taps] was in New York. I said one line. That was it. I had long hair at the time, so they said, 'Hold up your hair.' Then 'Thank you.' I don't know why, but... I thought I'd get it. It wasn't arrogance. I had a quarter in my pocket — and that was it. I'm telling you: I didn't have bus fare to get back to where my mom was living in Jersey. I remember... standing outside the Holland Tunnel, and hitchhiking.

"I walked up the driveway and saw my mother. It was a distance, but I remember her face. She looked at me and I looked at her, and I thought, I got it."

On Forgiving His Father

"Risky Business had become a hit. I hadn't seen my father in about ten years. I found out he was dying, and I went to see him in the hospital.

"He knew that he'd blown it. There was deep regret. I think he was torturing himself. We tend to do that. All I could do was tell him, 'Look, it's okay.' I wasn't going to live in blame and regret. I wanted to understand what happened. I wanted to understand, so I could answer the question, What can I do to make things better? I looked at my father there dying and thought, How can I not be that guy?"

On Being a Father

"I'll never forget the moment I became a dad. But it's hard to describe — that level of responsibility, the desire to give such joy. The clarity: Nothing is more important than this. I remember that first night, just staring at Bella. I was checking her every second, just looking at her, feeling that immediate bond. I was probably looking at her so much that I was keeping her up.

"I made a promise to her: All I can do is the best I can. But I'm not going to say I'm gonna do something and then not do it."

On the Oprah Interview

"What happened, happened... I wanted the audience to be happy just like I wanted to make my sisters and my mother happy when I did those skits as a kid. But I'll take responsibility for my actions... Afterward, wild things were being said about me, and once they're in the ether, there's nothing you can do about it. It felt like being the new kid in the schoolyard again and the other kids are whispering and whispering about you and suddenly you hear what they're saying, and you think, What? That didn't happen. Look at the reality of the situation."

On the Oprah Fallout

"There was a confluence of events. My deal with Paramount was up and it wasn't extended. At first it was, Huh? I don't get it. But people have misconceptions about that whole thing, too. Sumner Redstone and I are friends. It's a business."

On Success

"Those are times you learn a lot about life. You're back to, How do I figure this out? I'd lived through so many different periods in life that I had a good idea. You just get back to work. You move forward. That's what I did. Here we are today. Mission: Impossible IV."

On Suri

"It's come full circle. Now I'll put Suri on a swing and tell her stories when I'm working on a script. I'll start with the beginning of the movie and take her through the story beat by beat. Of course, I make it age-appropriate. She's four years old. But she asks all the right questions: Why does that happen? Those are the bad guys? You're the good guy, right?"

On Teaching His Children Well

"It comes down to the same thing as when I was a kid. Can I create a character that will make her happy, that will make her laugh? And you know what? She makes me get better and better, because she's always asking me to do it again."

On Katie Holmes

"Because we do live in a cynical world. It's easy to be cynical. Making the choice not to be cynical is important. You can keep dwelling on what didn't work, or you can figure out how to fix it. Which is what being a parent is all about. You know, I'm married to such a special woman. Every night before we go to sleep, Kate and I look at each other and it's like, How'd we do today?"

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smithersss 25th-May-2010 07:39 pm (UTC)
he looks like my dad on the cover
opusdeihohoho 25th-May-2010 07:41 pm (UTC)
can i bang your dad
x_steffi_x 25th-May-2010 07:43 pm (UTC)
Lol, seconded.
jeru02 25th-May-2010 08:03 pm (UTC)
i'll blow him
pikapika217 25th-May-2010 08:38 pm (UTC)
LMAO at your icon. that vid is HILARIOUS
ch33rylips 25th-May-2010 07:39 pm (UTC)
I feel violated.
bluesforgotten 25th-May-2010 07:39 pm (UTC)
Is it weird that I'm a girl and I like Esquire? I really like the "What I've Learned" feature!
screamofwheat 25th-May-2010 07:40 pm (UTC)
i don't think it's weird! i like men's health.
bravetoaster42 25th-May-2010 07:46 pm (UTC)
well, that's weird.
psychicherz 25th-May-2010 09:45 pm (UTC)
lol, I find their articles (esp workout features) so much more positive and confident than the ones in women's magazines. it's refreshing.
ppgames 25th-May-2010 07:49 pm (UTC)
I'm a boy and I like Cosmo... haha
queenofthadorkz 25th-May-2010 07:50 pm (UTC)
I'm a girl and I looooooove Esquire
ekroe 25th-May-2010 07:59 pm (UTC)
yo i loveeee esquire and im a chick
fusilli_head 25th-May-2010 08:01 pm (UTC)
I read Details, and GQ too. I think men's mags have a lot more interesting content. Magazines geared toward women and are weight loss tips and how to please your men lists. Also, the fashion spreads in a lot of them are really corny. I get fashion mags for my fashion needs, editors.
entranced 25th-May-2010 08:42 pm (UTC)
I love men's magazines!
lovemusicbaby 25th-May-2010 10:59 pm (UTC)
I used to read my Uncle's w/e someone I liked was on the cover but it's just neat to get a "Guy's Perspective" on some stuff
juteux 26th-May-2010 12:16 am (UTC)
I love men's magazines, especially Details and GQ. There's no "lose 20 pounds or you'll never find a husband" kind of crap. Plus hot guys on the cover.
ledgers 26th-May-2010 12:40 am (UTC)
Esquire is just a really quality publication. I read it whenever I get the chance.
black_swan87 26th-May-2010 12:47 am (UTC)
No, I'm a girl and I love GQ.
rhcp 25th-May-2010 07:39 pm (UTC)
he is such a douche.
pindycindy 26th-May-2010 01:37 am (UTC)
screamofwheat 25th-May-2010 07:40 pm (UTC)
esquire nailed this. all my brothers were taught to swing on ropes offering tea and ride pocket rockets on their journey to manhood as well.
yhbt 25th-May-2010 07:52 pm (UTC)
omg, this lolll
cagedwild19 25th-May-2010 07:41 pm (UTC)
I have mixed feeling about Tom. He is a crazy person, but an extremely well-intentioned and nice crazy person, in public at least
drencrome 25th-May-2010 07:41 pm (UTC)
He's giving me so many mixed messages with this photoshoot. That bike photo doesn't make you masculine, Tom. You're still a tiny tiny sexually ambiguous Scientologist.
colossusx 25th-May-2010 07:42 pm (UTC)
"never fuck a man even though you really really want to."

- tom cruise
meangirl33 25th-May-2010 07:42 pm (UTC)

jessikins 25th-May-2010 07:44 pm (UTC)
ikr! idgi
colorzplosion 25th-May-2010 07:58 pm (UTC)
lol wtf?!
shinycuba 25th-May-2010 09:06 pm (UTC)
You KNOW he is all trying to be like Gaga with the tea cup!
fatesarchitect 25th-May-2010 07:43 pm (UTC)
Dear Tom,

You're still crazy and belong to a cult. I can't see any of your movies anymore without thinking about that. A photoshoot isn't going to fool me. Sry.
jessikins 25th-May-2010 07:45 pm (UTC)
Especially with nothing but crazy eyes in those photos
feel_iiinfinite 25th-May-2010 07:46 pm (UTC)
all religions are cults.
smnp 25th-May-2010 07:51 pm (UTC)
lol ita
mysticmaestoso 25th-May-2010 08:02 pm (UTC)
Exactly, his crazy wouldn't be so bad, in fact it would be endearing if it wasn't due to the fact he's part of a crazy cult that kills its ex-members.
shadowfax 25th-May-2010 07:43 pm (UTC)
I always liked the name Suri
opusdeihohoho 25th-May-2010 07:43 pm (UTC)
can't hate on tom ughghghgghg even though he hangs out with fucking tommy davis goddammit why>?!!
missthing19 25th-May-2010 07:45 pm (UTC)
LOL, it's like the two he had with Nicole don't even exist.
bellwetherr 26th-May-2010 04:53 am (UTC)
he talks about his first daughter in the interview. it was sweet, actually.
colossusx 25th-May-2010 07:45 pm (UTC)
on oprah he mentioned suri and connor but barely mentioned his giant daughter, i can't remember name, maybe he doesn't like her? idk
into_the_dust 25th-May-2010 07:44 pm (UTC)
He's so annoying but Suri is adorable!
kisarax 25th-May-2010 07:47 pm (UTC)
Here's to hoping she'll be more like her mama.
alzzers 28th-May-2010 09:57 pm (UTC)
tbh her mom's not that much better. But...lesser of 2 evils I guess
glamshizzam 25th-May-2010 07:45 pm (UTC)
it looks like he got his hand stuck in his pocket
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