Back in his G-Suit as Captain Pete ‘Maverick’ Marshall, Tom Cruise is currently in Nevada, filming the sequel to his 1986 block-buster, Top Gun. And if he is to be believed, the temptation to “fly away” is very real. “I love my job! I could work every single day of my life! Some people say, don’t you want a vacation? For me, making films is a vacation because I love doing it. And flying is also something I love doing. We are shooting at an air base. So yeah, just taking off would be cool, won’t it?” quips the actor, with a twinkle in his eyes.
For those who didn’t know, Tom Cruise was bitten by the flying bug after filming Top Gun, and he earned his pilot’s license in 1994. He now refuses to fly on commercial airlines and owns somewhere between three and five private planes, including a World War II-era P-51 Mustang and a $20 million Gulfstream IV, whose maximum range is 7,820 km.
The Mission Impossible franchise is a pretty good reminder of why Cruise is such a huge movie star. The 53-year-old actor — who still does most of his own stunts, no matter how crazy they seem — is still as charismatic as ever. Cruise scaled Burj Khalifa hanging with nothing but a harness 1,700 feet in the air. And in Jack Reacher, he drove on his own during the dangerous car-chase scene that ended up being the highlight of the film! Cruise also climbed the glass-fronted exterior of Burj Khalifa for a scene in Mission Impossible. Dubai is definitely a favourite destination for the star.
“It was a lovely view from the top! Yes, I trained for months so I could practice the scenes at the Burj. The only thing I was afraid of was falling! It’s one thing seeing it and another thing trying to accomplish that… I remember just being there saying ‘this is a moment of truth’. I had to figure out how to fly. I had to figure out how to use my feet as a rudder because you have crosswinds up there. It took a while to work out how not to come slamming into the building head first,” he adds.
But even when he’s travelling or on vacation, Cruise does everything to the extreme. A self-confessed adrenaline junkie, Cruise says, “I have a very odd sense of what a vacation is. I’m very active on my vacations. I run, swim, paraglide – I do everything that can keep me on my toes.”
Idea of Love
So is it only the high of action that he enjoys on vacations? “Not entirely,” says Cruise, adding, “I enjoy simple things and I’m not afraid to get in touch with my softer and more affectionate side. I like a walk through the park, looking at monuments, going to museums. I love travelling to places that celebrate love or make me want to be in love. I am quite taken with the idea of love.” Ask him which are his favourite places, and India occupies a top spot. “I love the Taj Mahal. I was moved when I visited. It really is a favourite place. For the same reason, Paris is special too – especially the Eiffel Tower and the Champs-Élysées area. Other than that, I also like the rush of romance that Miami has,” says Cruise.
As told to Aarti Kapur Singh