On Tuesday, Vulture published a very long interview with Westworld's Thandie Newton that covered a lot of topics, and for which Newton was very open. For the purpose of this aggregate (which may or may not entice you to read the whole thing, if you haven't already) we'll focus on Newton's recollection of a scene she did with a stressed out Tom Cruise during the filming of Mission: Impossible 2.
As you may recall, she starred in that movie way back in 2000, but she never made another appearance in the franchise.
After the topic of scientology was raised, Newton told a story in which she and Cruise were having a shitty time filming the aforementioned blockbuster. She recalls that Cruise is a pretty intimidating guy to work alongside, but also made a point to mention that the A-lister deals with tons of stress, puts a lot of pressure on himself, and that he's not a bad guy. For highly important context, the question that preceded her answer was, "What was your experience like on Mission: Impossible 2? And why didn't you do another one?"
"Oh, I was never asked. I was so scared of Tom. He was a very dominant individual. He tries superhard to be a nice person. But the pressure. He takes on a lot," she recalled. "And I think he has this sense that only he can do everything as best as it can be done. There was one time, we were doing this night scene, there were so many extras with pyrotechnics and you name it, and it was a scene with him and me on the balcony. And I don’t think it was a very well-written scene. I get angry with him. We’re frustrated with each other."
After providing background she then made a note that the film's director, John Woo, wasn't there at the time and that Cruise eventually just got really, really frustrated with everything.
"And we’re looking out over Spain. It wasn’t going well," she continued. "And John Woo, bless him, wasn’t there. He was downstairs looking at everything on a monitor. And John had made a decision at the beginning of the movie, unbeknownst certainly to me, that he didn’t speak English. Which I think was very helpful to him, but it was extremely unhelpful to the rest of us. So this scene was happening, and Tom was not happy with what I was doing because I had the shittiest lines.
"And he gets so frustrated with having to try and explain that he goes, 'Let me just — let’s just go do it. Let’s just rehearse on-camera.' So we rehearsed and they recorded it, and then he goes, 'I’ll be you. You be me.' So we filmed the entire scene with me being him — because, believe me, I knew the lines by then — and him playing me. And it was the most unhelpful … I can’t think of anything less revealing. It just pushed me further into a place of terror and insecurity. It was a real shame. And bless him. And I really do mean bless him, because he was trying his damnedest."
From there she says that Cruise was so flustered that a "slight red mark on his nose" manifested into a full-on zit during the same night. After her experience she also changed her approach.
"I remember calling [director/producer] Jonathan Demme. I described the night to him: 'A nightmare.' As I was describing it, it was clear that I thought I was the big fucking problem," she went on. "And Jonathan was like, 'Thandie, shame on you for not backing yourself.' He was really sweet. And then Tom called and I thought, Oh, this is it. The apology. No, he was just like, 'We’re going to reshoot this next week.' I’m like, 'Way brilliant.' And the next time we shot it, I went in there and I just basically manifested all the — because I realized what he wanted. He just wanted this alpha bitch. And I did as best as I could. It’s not the best way to get the best work out of someone."
She added that "He wasn’t horrible. It was just — he was really stressed. I had the most extraordinary time."
Judging by several of her tweets, a few of which were rounded up here, it looks like she was very happy with the way the interview came out. That definitely isn't how it always works.