Top run: does Tom Cruise ban co-stars from sprinting alongside him on screen?

Stuart Heritage
·3-min read

Tom Cruise is the big screen’s greatest runner. It doesn’t matter what films he makes any more; so long as there’s a scene where he grits his jaw and pumps his arms while he tears along at an improbable speed, people will buy tickets. This is why nobody seemed to be too cut up when Top Gun 2 was yanked from summer schedules. There isn’t enough space inside the cockpit of a cutting edge fighter jet to let him run around, so what’s the point in even watching it?

However there are now whispers about the secrets of Cruise’s screen running. Namely, it only looks so impressive because he bans everyone else from running on screen at the same time as him. Think about it. In Vanilla Sky he ran alone. In Minority Report he ran alone. In the Mission: Impossible films he runs alone. In War of the Worlds people tried to run with him, but the aliens vaporised them for their insubordination. In Collateral he chases after people a lot and always catches them because he is Tom Cruise, and therefore essentially two big pistons perched on top of a human torso.

We know about Cruise’s no-run rule because Annabelle Wallis, Cruise’s co-star in The Mummy, has claimed in an interview that she alone possessed the moral fortitude and skills of persuasion necessary to break him down.

Speaking to the Hollywood Reporter, Wallis said: “I got to run on screen with him, but he told me no at first. He said, ‘Nobody runs on screen [with me],’ and I said, ‘But I’m a really good runner. So, I would time my treadmill so that he’d walk in and see me run. And then he added all these running scenes.”

So that’s it. The answer isn’t that Cruise won’t run with anybody on screen because they might make him look bad. It’s that he can run at such an alarmingly speedy rate that most other mere mortal actors would simply look like puffy old globs of cholesterol next to him.

Either way, it’s good to know that lockdown has given us the opportunity to learn all the weird things that people in the film industry hate on their sets. Anne Hathaway claimed that Christopher Nolan hates chairs. Wallis claims that Cruise hates other runners. There’s no end to Covid in sight, so who knows what we’ll learn next. Does Martin Scorsese possess an irrational fear of moustaches? Could Daniel Day-Lewis be enraged to the point of apoplexy by geese? Does Vince Vaughn hate ham? At this stage it’s essentially a waiting game.

But I’m afraid that I have to pour cold water on the Cruise no-run hypothesis. Because although Wallis ran with him on-screen in 2017, you only need to look back one year earlier to see a scene where Cruise runs with another person.

Remember Jack Reacher: Never Go Back? Remember that scene 28 minutes in? You know, the one scene in the entire movie where Jack doesn’t tell people how he’s going to beat them up right before beating them up, or peripheral characters explain in hugely unnecessary detail how good Jack is at everything? That’s right, it’s the scene where Cruise and his co-star Cobie Smulders inexplicably sprint for a taxi past the Lincoln Memorial reflecting pool because they both want to go to an internet cafe.

So there. Unfortunately this is fake news. The truth is that Cruise does run with other people on camera. But he only does it in really bad films.