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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Top Gun 2 - Talk To Me Goose!

Written by Kirk Baird

About seven years ago, Tom Cruise’s career was at a crossroads. The actor was a PR nightmare, first with his couch-dance “I’m in love with Katie Holmes” routine on Oprah, followed by his criticism of psychiatry during a heated interview/debate with Matt Lauer on NBC’s Today.

Neither national television moment sat well with the general public. It was so bad, in fact, that in 2006 Paramount Studios ended its 14-year relationship with Cruise. The divorce was as much about the actor’s sinking public opinion as it was financial concerns over her box-office reliability.

The actor’s 2006 Mission: Impossible III failed to make money domestically as did Robert Redford’s political drama Lions for Lambs in 2007, which featured Cruise, along with Meryl Streep and Redford. The 0-for-2 box-office streak was followed by the mildly successful Valkyrie in 2008, and then the summer action-comedy dud Knight & Day with Cameron Diaz in 2010.

There were some not-so-quiet murmurings that Cruise was no longer one of the more dependable bankable stars in Hollywood.

What a difference one film can make.

December’s Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol was Cruise’s biggest hit since 2005’s War of the Worlds, and only his second $200-million-plus film since 2000’s Mission: Impossible II. Cruise was back with another successful Paramount film and just like that all seems to be right again with the actor and moviegoers.

There’s already talk of a fifth Mission: Impossible film — no surprise. But longtime Cruise fans will be happy to know there’s also serious discussions of a sequel to 1986’s Top Gun, the film that launched Cruise from star to superstar status.

Adam Goodman, Paramount Film Group president, recently told The Hollywood Reporter: “We'll likely make a Top Gun sequel with Tom Cruise first. Jerry Bruckheimer would produce, with Tony Scott returning to direct. All parties are moving ahead. We've hired Peter Craig to write the script.”  Cruise also said he’s on board with a Top Gun 2 as well.

“If we can find a story that we all want to do, we all want to make a film that is in the same kind of tone as the other one and shoot it in the same way as we shot Top Gun," he told MTV News.

Frankly, it’s difficult to root against Cruise, who turns 50 on July 3. No matter what you think of him off camera — his outspoken dedication to Scientology certainly rubs many the wrong way — on screen he’s a true movie star. He’s handsome, smart, funny, and no one will ever be able to accuse him of not giving 100 percent in every film.

Watch Cruise in his barely recognizable comedic tour de force as Hollywood movie mogul Les Grossman in Ben Stiller’s Tropic Thunder. It’s a painfully funny and crude role, one few would have envisioned for Cruise. That was in 2008 and now he tweaks our expectations for him again with the upcoming singing performance of fictional rock star Stacee Jaxx in the musical-drama Rock of Ages, which opens June 15.

As much as Hollywood fetes its favorite actors come Oscar season, it needs its dependable movie stars during the box-office season: summer and the holidays. And for many years few were as dependable as Cruise — and hopefully is again. 

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