(Cannes) Tom Cruise greeted the crowd from the top of the steps, in the company of the co-stars of Top Gun: Maverick Jennifer Connelly, Miles Teller and John Hamm, when seven Patrouille de France fighter planes streaked the sky with blue-white-red smoke above the Palais des Festivals.
Posted at 7:06 p.m.
Cannes loves passionately (not to say madly) its Hollywood stars. It was written in the sky: the screening on Wednesday evening as a preview of Top Gun: Maverick by Joseph Kosinski, in the presence of its star Tom Cruise, eclipsed the rest of the activities of the Cannes Film Festival.
After signing autographs for a long time at the foot of the red carpet, the actor of Magnolia and of Impossible mission received from the hands of the president of the Festival, Pierre Lescure, an honorary Palme d’or, before thanking the public. “It’s a privilege to be here tonight and see your faces,” he said. This film arrives 36 years after the first. We started working on it five years ago, but we postponed its release for two years because of the pandemic. I make films for you, for the public. »
A film intended to appeal to the general public, that is exactly what Top Gun: Maverick which hits theaters May 27 in North America. This crowd pleaser, as they say in Juan-les-Pins, will undoubtedly be a hit at international counters. It’s a blockbuster completely successful and perfectly calibrated, both funny, moving and effective, made of thrills and nostalgic winks, which keeps you going for 130 minutes.
Before presenting, during the tribute to Tom Cruise, a 10-minute montage of the most significant scenes of his career, the general delegate Thierry Frémaux recalled that the batting average of the handsome Tom was among the best of the superstars of world cinema. . He’s not wrong. And it’s probably true that Tom Cruise is underrated.
Reviewing these images reminded me, first, that I’ve seen most of the Tom Cruise movies since Risky Business and All the Right Moves ; then, that he indeed acted in very good films (among which The Color of Money, Rain Man, Jerry Maguire, Eyes Wide Shut and Magnolia)… before getting lost in the sequels, each worse than the other of Impossible mission.
Following Top Gun, fortunately, honors the memory (recently refreshed) that I had kept of one of the most striking films of my 13 years. It was not so much for the film that launched Tom Cruise’s international career that dozens of young people lined up in Cannes on Wednesday afternoon hoping to hear Tom Cruise’s masterclass, but precisely for the series of Impossible missionseveral of them confirmed to me.
“How long have you been waiting here?” I asked four young British and American women, who were jostling and crossing their fingers for places to become available at the last minute.
– Since a long time…
– Two o’clock ?
– More !
– How much ?
– Three hours and a half ! »
Three and a half hours of waiting in full sun, without knowing if they would have the chance to see Tom Cruise. A 23-year-old Zimbabwean studying in Paris told me that her father and two brothers had become pilots after seeing Top Gun.
In front of 1,000 people at the Salle Debussy, the actor and producer was very generous, recounting several filming anecdotes (the tone that Stanley Kubrick was looking for on Eyes Wide Shutthe fact that he had refused to shoot Rumble Fish of Francis Ford Coppola to make Risky Business). “I remember, oddly, all the scenes I shot. But reviewing my career summed up in 10 minutes is something a bit mind-blowing! “, he said after seeing the montage of the Festival paying tribute to him.
Obviously, Cruise is a team guy, who appreciates his collaborators. He insisted on his constant thirst to learn from the various cinema professions, since his debut at 18 in Taps. “I didn’t go to film school, but I learned from the greatest directors, actors, directors of photography, editors, lighting designers and other technicians on all aspects of my art. »
It was he who had insisted with his producers, in 1986, that Top Gun multiplies the first in different countries. “The way we look at cinema, everywhere in the world, according to the language we speak, according to our culture, has always interested me. »
He confided that he had refused, at the time, the insistent offer of the producers and the studio to shoot a sequel to the film by the late Tony Scott, to whom Top Gun: Maverick is dedicated. “In all the countries I went to afterwards, I was asked to do another Top Gun. But I wanted to find a story worth telling. »
In Top Gun: Maverick, Cruise’s character, legendary fighter pilot and ever-rebellious Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, is tasked with training a squadron of the most gifted young graduates of Top Gun School for a high-risk mission. He will have to face the demons of his past.
It was never a question of Top Gun: Maverick, ready in the spring of 2020, will be released on a digital platform during the pandemic rather than in a cinema. “I would never have accepted it! said Cruise, who says he goes to the movies often. “I put on a cap and I even come for the trailers. I do not want to miss anything ! »
Why, he was asked, does he insist on doing his own stunts – some very perilous – in his films? He may have a resplendent form, he will soon be 60 years old. “No one asked Gene Kelly why he danced in his movies! Seen the same.