Knight and Day: Interview with action star Tom Cruise

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Tom Cruise stars as Roy Miller in "Knight and Day," also starring Cameron Diaz and directed by James Mangold. The action film is released June 23 by Fox. 

Roy Miller is a spy whose mission is unexpectedly detoured by his brush with ordinary love. "I couldn't wait to make this movie," says up Cruise. "Knight and Day sweeps you into this grand adventure and love story – and we did everything we could to make it non-stop, unpredictable fun. I think Jim [Mangold] is a terrific storyteller and I really wanted to work with him and Cameron on this." 

 

Roy and June

A large part of the attraction lay in the way Cruise's consummate action hero is suddenly shaken — not by the dangers of his mission or the sheer numbers of people after him, but by his own heart when he meets June. Cruise enjoyed the idea that the start of Roy and June's rapid-fire romance isn't like any other, but that their relationship has much in common with every love story.

Cruise explains: "Inside this wild plot, these two characters each have a dream of what might come true 'someday.' But then they begin to see that this dream can actually be fulfilled. I think it's something audiences will relate to. Every couple has a story about how they met – it's just that Roy and June have a truly extraordinary tale behind the start of their relationship. Roy and June have the same dilemmas everyone always has in love – can I really trust this person? And who are they really? – but Roy and June's comes with higher stakes. The fun lies in how their relationship builds as the excitement around them mounts. That romantic tension in every scene made it some of the most intriguing action I've ever done." 

 

Reuniting with Cameron Diaz

Key to crafting that romantic tension was Cruise's long-awaited reunion with Cameron Diaz, with whom he previously starred in the suspense-fantasy Vanilla Sky. "As soon as we took on these roles, I could not wait to see what Cameron was going to do with her character. I always wanted to make this kind of movie with Cameron," he says. "I was really excited about it because I enjoy her work in action movies. She's talented, funny, athletic and a great actress, and this was such a winning character, I knew she'd give a winning performance."

Their chemistry began simmering from the first day on the set. "The repartee between us was just like boom-boom-boom," says Cruise. "Cameron's style of humor is unique and I love the way she can mix physical comedy with a really authentic feeling of romance." 

 

"Roy is completely intersected by June," he explains. "Right away, Roy sees potential in June, and he feels like he has to make sure she is always OK. But she starts out repeatedly rejecting his world. It reminds me of how real relationships work – how you run from them in the beginning sometimes, but then you come to this point where you have to decide if you're going to jump headlong into this adventure." 

 

Performing his own stunts

For Cruise, action is character and vice versa, and that belief, along with his highly skilled athleticism, has driven a policy of always doing his own stunts, and often dreaming up his own stunts, no matter how risky. "It's challenging for me," he notes, "and I think it's more exciting and entertaining for the audience. It adds something to have the camera right there with Roy the whole time. Plus I really enjoy doing it."

The film's adventurous pace, says Cruise, was set in motion from the get-go by Mangold. "I've wanted to work with Jim since I saw Walk the Line," Cruise notes. "I found Jim to have a very keen eye for suspense, a great understanding of romance, and also to be extremely funny. He was everything you hope for in a director when you're crashing planes, leaping rooftops and running from bulls."