*”Knight and Day” stars Tom Cruise and Viola Davis have cause for a lot of celebrating. The hairy balding foul-mouthed Les Grossman, who has a penchant for Ludacris’ lyrics, was a big hit at the MTV Awards. And his CIA character in “Knight and Day,” that has seemingly gone rogue, will no doubt be one of his biggest hits. Seemingly fickle fans turned against Cruise because the unrelenting petty minded portion of the press let the couch jumping incident wash away all cinematic accomplishments he had achieved.
Not only was the Oprah moment insignificant-it’s not like he is a pedophile, mass murderer or despicable adulterer like Tiger Woods or Jesse James-but Cruise has shown fortitude in his personal life as well as his professional. Long before it was fashionable to adopt Black babies, Cruise adopted his African American son Connor. I’ll never forget an article I read in Premiere Magazine about Cruise when he was filming “Mission Impossible” in 1995. His “Mission Impossible” co-star John Voight revealed that Cruise would always disappear when they had a break and everyone was curious as to where he would go. Voight mentioned he followed him one day. Much to his surprise, he found Cruise running off to be with his baby son Connor.
In “Mission Impossible 2,” Cruise chose Black actress Thandie Newton to be his leading lady. Viola Davis, who just won a Tony Award for “Fences,” in which she stars with Denzel Washington, flexes her muscles and power as CIA Director Isabel George in “Knight and Day.” She relishes starring in this action packed thriller. Commenting the movie is a hybrid, she enthused that “It has everything we all want to see in movies-from comedy to romance to action-which gives us as actors a lot to play with. I liked the fact that Isabel is the big authority…Making this movie was a rush.”
Cruise’s partner in intrigue is Cameron Diaz. One of the funniest moments of her “There’s Something About Mary” 1998 film-besides the hair styling gel-is when her father (Keith David) came to the door to meet her suitor Ben Stiller. There is just as much humor in “Knight and Day” that compliments the all the action. With the stunts getting so much attention, Cruise is more concerned about the substance of the film. “The most important thing is the story and just getting inventive with the action to tell the story, not just action for action sake,” he says. “We had a lot of fun doing the stunts but was always thinking what could we do to entertain that audience, what’s that next thing. Sometimes it’s the simplest moves that really resonate.”
Diaz worked with Cruise ten years ago but found this time to be even more enjoyable. “It was such a pleasure and I feel really fortunate to have had a partner that everyday when you show up for work that you know he’s got your back. To know he’s going to participate and want to make the best movie possible and be so capable as Tom.”
In addition to his Black Eyed Peas fame, Will.i.am is also an actor. He is also someone Cruise has wanted to work with. He attended one of their concerts and told Will.i.am to give him a call because he wanted them to appear on the soundtrack. They ended up doing the theme song. “Tom has always been an inspiration and now having seen ‘Knight and Day,’ it is among my all-time favorite films,” Will.i.am says.