Tom Cruise Wanted To Be in THE IMAGINARIUM OF DOCTOR PARNASSUS; Terry Gilliam Said “No”

by     Posted 4 years, 329 days ago

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As we know, when Heath Ledger died, Terry Gilliam chose to complete “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus” using Jude Law, Colin Farrell, and Johnny Depp as different incarnations of Ledger’s role.  All three were close friends of the Ledger family, and the film will operate as a sort of tribute while fulfilling its purpose as commercial cinema.  One thing we didn’t know, and as Terry Gilliam recently revealed to Total Film magazine, was that Tom Cruise also lobbied heavily to step into the role as part of a return to relevance akin to his appearance in last summer’s “Tropic Thunder”.

Gilliam refused for one very simple reason: Tom Cruise had no personal connection to Heath Ledger.  More after the jump.

tom_cruise_image__2_.jpgGilliam said of the decision, “I know there was a period when Tom’s agents were keen. The thing is, I was only interested in people who were friends of Heath. Simple as that. I wanted to keep it in the family.”  Though Gilliam has always said that this is not Heath Ledger’s movie, there was a very personal void left by his death that could only be filled by those who knew and loved him.  It definitely would have been inappropriate, therefore, for the film to serve as some sort of vehicle for Tom Cruise to make people forget how bizarre he’d been acting over the last few years.

Tom Cruise is a movie star.  He’s a big name who (at least at one time, but many could argue that it still holds true) commands a big box office but has always been associated more with star power than acting talent.  The others, however, transcend the boundaries between acting prowess and star power.  Colin Farrell is probably the least potent star on the list, but that’s like saying the Virgin Mary is not as popular as God and Jesus.  Everybody knows who they are, yet they don’t create the kind of spectacle that seems to follow Cruise wherever he goes.  He’s just not right for the film, and I really have the feeling that the buzz surrounding the film would be more “Will Tom Cruise do right by Heath Ledger?”, rather than related to the intricacies of finishing a film without its star.

Honestly, I would have no interest in this film if it weren’t Heath Ledger’s last.  It’s absolutely nothing against the movie or Terry Gilliam, but it’s just not my cup of tea.  At least I think it isn’t.  That being said, I’m utterly fascinated by how the film was transformed by Ledger’s passing, and I think I’m not alone in saying it put the movie on a lot of people’s radars who would have initially passed.




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  • Droncz92

    Yeah I agree with Terry’s decision.

    But Tom has been a douche latley, I think one day he will be back on top though. He isn’t a bad actor.

    • Charlie

      I didn’t mean to make it sound like he’s a bad actor. He’s not: Rain Man, Born on the 4th of July and Magnolia are excellent examples of his talent. I just meant that he really doesn’t have the same credibility acting wise that the others have.

      • RCA

        “has always been associated more with star power than acting talent”… wtf are you talking about? Cruise is one of the few actors were he has way more good movies, than bad ones. From 1983-1999 he had roughly one bad movie for every two great movies, and many of them are classics(and Oscar winners). Even some of the bad movies he’s in, he’s usually the most interesting part, outside of Mission Impossible 2 and 3….
        I think Depp is the only one of these actors that are on his level, and even Depp has made some terrible movies. Maybe Cruise is a little nutty in his personal life, but his acting chops should never be in question.

      • RCA

        “has always been associated more with star power than acting talent”… wtf are you talking about? Cruise is one of the few actors were he has way more good movies, than bad ones. From 1983-1999 he had roughly one bad movie for every two great movies, and many of them are classics(and Oscar winners). Even some of the bad movies he’s in, he’s usually the most interesting part, outside of Mission Impossible 2 and 3….
        I think Depp is the only one of these actors that are on his level, and even Depp has made some terrible movies. Maybe Cruise is a little nutty in his personal life, but his acting chops should never be in question.

    • Charlie

      I didn’t mean to make it sound like he’s a bad actor. He’s not: Rain Man, Born on the 4th of July and Magnolia are excellent examples of his talent. I just meant that he really doesn’t have the same credibility acting wise that the others have.

  • Droncz92

    Yeah I agree with Terry’s decision.

    But Tom has been a douche latley, I think one day he will be back on top though. He isn’t a bad actor.

    • GERARD KENNELLY

      cruise can be just as good as day lewis when he gets the right part

      RAIN MAN
      MGNOLIA

      he needs to leave that sick scientology cult behind him (and his family) and go back to acting

  • Droncz92

    Yeah I agree with Terry’s decision.

    But Tom has been a douche latley, I think one day he will be back on top though. He isn’t a bad actor.

    • Charlie

      I didn’t mean to make it sound like he’s a bad actor. He’s not: Rain Man, Born on the 4th of July and Magnolia are excellent examples of his talent. I just meant that he really doesn’t have the same credibility acting wise that the others have.

      • RCA

        “has always been associated more with star power than acting talent”… wtf are you talking about? Cruise is one of the few actors were he has way more good movies, than bad ones. From 1983-1999 he had roughly one bad movie for every two great movies, and many of them are classics(and Oscar winners). Even some of the bad movies he’s in, he’s usually the most interesting part, outside of Mission Impossible 2 and 3….
        I think Depp is the only one of these actors that are on his level, and even Depp has made some terrible movies. Maybe Cruise is a little nutty in his personal life, but his acting chops should never be in question.

  • Scott Nye

    Honestly, I can’t think of a single performance Jude Law’s given that’s better than the best of Tom Cruise. Farrell and Depp, definitely better actors. But Law? He doesn’t have anything on the level of a Frank T.J. Mackey.

    • GERARD KENNELLY

      jude law’s work in CLOSER is just as good as Magnolia

  • Scott Nye

    Honestly, I can’t think of a single performance Jude Law’s given that’s better than the best of Tom Cruise. Farrell and Depp, definitely better actors. But Law? He doesn’t have anything on the level of a Frank T.J. Mackey.

  • Scott Nye

    Honestly, I can’t think of a single performance Jude Law’s given that’s better than the best of Tom Cruise. Farrell and Depp, definitely better actors. But Law? He doesn’t have anything on the level of a Frank T.J. Mackey.

  • erica

    Scott Nye ,
    It is obvious you have never seen any Jude Law movies, But I recommend you go see Hamlet with Jude Law on broadway then come back and post.

  • erica

    Scott Nye ,
    It is obvious you have never seen any Jude Law movies, But I recommend you go see Hamlet with Jude Law on broadway then come back and post.

  • erica

    Scott Nye ,
    It is obvious you have never seen any Jude Law movies, But I recommend you go see Hamlet with Jude Law on broadway then come back and post.

  • Yog MARS

    Enemy At The Gates and Closer.
    Not a fan of Jude Law, but those are two remarkable examples of a good acting on his career.
    Again, Ledger was a mediane actor, pretty much with highs and lows as Cruise…until Dark Knight descend upon him as the Second Coming itself, having him as Jesus ressurected. (quite an exageration of mine, but you’ve got the point).
    But OK, I’ll be fair with Ledger: Grimm Brothers ( the previous Terry Gillian’s movie ) had a excelent job from Ledger’s, and that’s why he was cast on Paranssus.
    Anyway, Cruise: give us a break on that (seemly) cocaine driven persona and start acting ON SCREEN again, for love’s sakes.

  • Yog MARS

    Enemy At The Gates and Closer.
    Not a fan of Jude Law, but those are two remarkable examples of a good acting on his career.
    Again, Ledger was a mediane actor, pretty much with highs and lows as Cruise…until Dark Knight descend upon him as the Second Coming itself, having him as Jesus ressurected. (quite an exageration of mine, but you’ve got the point).
    But OK, I’ll be fair with Ledger: Grimm Brothers ( the previous Terry Gillian’s movie ) had a excelent job from Ledger’s, and that’s why he was cast on Paranssus.
    Anyway, Cruise: give us a break on that (seemly) cocaine driven persona and start acting ON SCREEN again, for love’s sakes.

  • Yog MARS

    Enemy At The Gates and Closer.
    Not a fan of Jude Law, but those are two remarkable examples of a good acting on his career.
    Again, Ledger was a mediane actor, pretty much with highs and lows as Cruise…until Dark Knight descend upon him as the Second Coming itself, having him as Jesus ressurected. (quite an exageration of mine, but you’ve got the point).
    But OK, I’ll be fair with Ledger: Grimm Brothers ( the previous Terry Gillian’s movie ) had a excelent job from Ledger’s, and that’s why he was cast on Paranssus.
    Anyway, Cruise: give us a break on that (seemly) cocaine driven persona and start acting ON SCREEN again, for love’s sakes.

  • Rich

    There are many a Hollywood actors whose talent exceeds the names on the cyclical Oscar list, but you’d never know because of the choices they make onscreen. And Jude Law’s performances in Closer, Immortality, Gates and even Talented Mr. Ripley should lend credence to his skills.

  • Rich

    There are many a Hollywood actors whose talent exceeds the names on the cyclical Oscar list, but you’d never know because of the choices they make onscreen. And Jude Law’s performances in Closer, Immortality, Gates and even Talented Mr. Ripley should lend credence to his skills.

  • Joe

    Jude Law may be the most “boring” actor to watch on screen. Any scene he is in is like pulling teeth. Has anyone ever say through a whole Jude Law movie and been like “Wow that was incredible and so was he”…If anyone says Enemy At The Gates, Cold Mountain, Talented Mr. Ripley, Aviator, Closer I may throw up all over myself. Oh wait those are really the only movies of his anyone knows. Guy brings nothing to the table. He may be the most overrated actor in this generation.

    • Michael

      Go ahead and throw up all over yourself. Jude Law was great in Ripley. He’s also great in the movie Gattaca. I hope you ate baked beans.

    • Michael

      Go ahead and throw up all over yourself. Jude Law was great in Ripley. He’s also great in the movie Gattaca. I hope you ate baked beans.

  • Joe

    Jude Law may be the most “boring” actor to watch on screen. Any scene he is in is like pulling teeth. Has anyone ever say through a whole Jude Law movie and been like “Wow that was incredible and so was he”…If anyone says Enemy At The Gates, Cold Mountain, Talented Mr. Ripley, Aviator, Closer I may throw up all over myself. Oh wait those are really the only movies of his anyone knows. Guy brings nothing to the table. He may be the most overrated actor in this generation.

    • Michael

      Go ahead and throw up all over yourself. Jude Law was great in Ripley. He’s also great in the movie Gattaca. I hope you ate baked beans.

  • Tim Cruise

    Here’s a thought, what if Tom Cruise wasn’t offering his services for entirely cynical reasons?

  • Tim Cruise

    Here’s a thought, what if Tom Cruise wasn’t offering his services for entirely cynical reasons?

  • Tim Cruise

    Here’s a thought, what if Tom Cruise wasn’t offering his services for entirely cynical reasons?

    • GERARD KENNELLY

      look at heath ledger
      look at his personality in 10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU

      does that look like somebody who was friends with Tom Cruise ????

  • Jimbo

    Hey Terry, do you want to piss EVERYBODY off? Not just Tom, but also Colin Farrell?

    And do you see the irony in you accusing Cruise of wanting to use your movie to seek publicity for himself – when what’s actually happening is that you are using his name to seek publicity for yourself, and your horrible-looking film. Ugh.

    • Spumkin

      Nothing in this article indicates that Gilliam is accusing Cruise of seeking publicity for himself. That is the opinion of the writer of the article. Same goes for any less-than-positive words about Farrell. All Gilliam actually said, as far as we know, is that Cruise was interested, but he wanted to keep Ledger’s part “in the family.” You may not be interested in the movie, but be careful when calling someone a hypocrite.

    • Spumkin

      Nothing in this article indicates that Gilliam is accusing Cruise of seeking publicity for himself. That is the opinion of the writer of the article. Same goes for any less-than-positive words about Farrell. All Gilliam actually said, as far as we know, is that Cruise was interested, but he wanted to keep Ledger’s part “in the family.” You may not be interested in the movie, but be careful when calling someone a hypocrite.

  • Jimbo

    Hey Terry, do you want to piss EVERYBODY off? Not just Tom, but also Colin Farrell?

    And do you see the irony in you accusing Cruise of wanting to use your movie to seek publicity for himself – when what’s actually happening is that you are using his name to seek publicity for yourself, and your horrible-looking film. Ugh.

  • Jimbo

    Hey Terry, do you want to piss EVERYBODY off? Not just Tom, but also Colin Farrell?

    And do you see the irony in you accusing Cruise of wanting to use your movie to seek publicity for himself – when what’s actually happening is that you are using his name to seek publicity for yourself, and your horrible-looking film. Ugh.

    • Spumkin

      Nothing in this article indicates that Gilliam is accusing Cruise of seeking publicity for himself. That is the opinion of the writer of the article. Same goes for any less-than-positive words about Farrell. All Gilliam actually said, as far as we know, is that Cruise was interested, but he wanted to keep Ledger’s part “in the family.” You may not be interested in the movie, but be careful when calling someone a hypocrite.

  • Charlie

    I didn’t say anything negative about Colin Farrell. I meant potent as in sought-after, and even then the analogy I provided was meant to show that the differences are minute. He’s a great actor and I enjoy watching him. But yes, it is my opinion that Tom Cruise is seeking publicity.

  • Charlie

    I didn’t say anything negative about Colin Farrell. I meant potent as in sought-after, and even then the analogy I provided was meant to show that the differences are minute. He’s a great actor and I enjoy watching him. But yes, it is my opinion that Tom Cruise is seeking publicity.

  • Charlie

    I didn’t say anything negative about Colin Farrell. I meant potent as in sought-after, and even then the analogy I provided was meant to show that the differences are minute. He’s a great actor and I enjoy watching him. But yes, it is my opinion that Tom Cruise is seeking publicity.

  • Marc Savoy

    always been associated more with star power than acting talent.

    The most insightful observation about Tom Cruise’s inexplicable career success I’ve seen.

  • Marc Savoy

    always been associated more with star power than acting talent.

    The most insightful observation about Tom Cruise’s inexplicable career success I’ve seen.

    • GERARD KENNELLY

      the best things cruise ever did on screen were RAIN MAN and MAGNOLIA

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