Sarah posted photos from the Top Gun gala spectacle in Cannes yesterday along with details from his Q&A before the premiere at the palais. I’m here to follow up on a few more details now that the movie has screened for the festival audience – to a five minute standing ovation, multiple ovations actually, because Tom was also presented with a “surprise” honorary Palme d’Or.
Nobody needs to justify why Tom Cruise deserves an award from a festival that celebrates cinema. He is one of the greatest movie stars of all time, and any discussion about the history of cinema would be incomplete without him. But also, he’s basically being established as the hero of all movies at this point. Or, more specifically, the hero of movies at the movie theatre. Tom Cruise will save the theatrical experience! No one is sure if he actually will but who’s going to argue when he sets his jawline to it? You know the famous Tom Cruise jawline flex – and if you’ve forgotten, you’ll be reminded of it once you see Top Gun: Maverick because it’s practically its own character. Please don’t think I’m complaining about the jaw flex, because I’m not. I have seen Top Gun: Maverick, and I’m about to see it again, and I’ve already told you how much I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of the movie. And I had no choice! Not when Tom Cruise is that determined to fly me away for two hours into his world of death-defying stunts and high-altitude exhilaration and shirtless lubed up hardbodies on the beach!
In addition to the award and the ovations, the Cannes crowd was also treated to an aerial display. OBVIOUSLY. Tom spent a lot of time with the fans lining the Croisette to watch his arrival on the red carpet. Then when he and the cast were on the carpet, eight fighter jets flew overhead, trailing red, white, and blue smoke – representing both France and the United States.
LOL forever, is this like how the air force salutes the Queen at Trooping? Why shouldn’t there be fighter jets at a film festival?!
If only to give us the most Tom Cruise of photos…
Please, look at him in this shot. Look at his fist. Look at the fist-pumping and the expression on his face.
I am dead.
Like dead from happiness. Because isn’t it? Isn’t that the most Tom Cruise that Tom Cruise has ever looked?!
But you know what else is very Tom Cruise? The chivalry. I have colleagues who are in Cannes right now and were at the event yesterday, observing the Tom Cruise-ness of it all. And every single one of them was like, “he is SO attentive to Jennifer Connelly!” But a note first, because we’re not trying to stir up sh-t here, there’s no sh-t to stir, no rumours to start, seriously. This is not about romance, this is about performance – although I know that where he’s concerned sometimes the two are interchangeable but in this case they’re two separate things.
And what we’re seeing here is that Jennifer Connelly is Tom’s professional leading lady, strictly professionally, and the part he’s playing is consummate gentleman. Remember how he used to “present” Katie Holmes? He’s applying those skills to his co-star at their work event. I’m told he was never not attentive, always focused on making sure she was looked after, never not ready with a hand to guide her from one place to another, never missing an opportunity to talk about how spectacular she looked, seemingly enthralled by her so that the cameras would pick up on his eyeline and transfer their focus to her – like this:
It’s what people have always said about Tom Cruise – when he lasers in on you, like he’s in the cockpit, haha, he’s locked the f-ck in. I know because I experienced it myself when I interviewed him a few years ago, and we were having tech difficulties and he held my eyes with his eyes, and put his hand on my shoulder, and told me it was going to be OK. For those few brief moments, I not only believed him, but he made me feel special. When I interviewed the cast for the junket a couple of weeks ago, they said the same thing. Jay Ellis told me that working with Tom Cruise is like having the most world class of life coaches: every day he would tell the younger actors that he believed him them, that they could do it (they were training to fly F-18s), that he would be their wingman the whole time, that they could accomplish everything they set their minds to, and being on the receiving end of that care makes you feel like you’re the only one in the room. That was Jennifer Connelly in Cannes. And I feel like it’ll be the same with Hayley Atwell next year or whenever Mission: Impossible 7 comes out. Because it's been years since Tom’s had a public romantic partner to showcase his chivalry with, which means those signature moves are now transferred to his professional partners. Look for that again tonight when Tom and Team Top Gun are in London for the big royal performance. The UK premiere, with Prince William and Kate in attendance, is the reason there was no Top Gun after-party on the Croisette last night as they all went straight back to London to prepare for this evening’s spectacle. I’ll have more on that tomorrow. For now, one more time with the jets and the fist-pumps: