Return to Transcripts main page
CNN Larry King Weekend
Larry Interviews Tom Cruise
Aired December 09, 2001 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, a revealing one-on-one with superstar Tom Cruise. We'll talk about his split with Nicole, his belief in Scientology, tabloid troubles and the truth about his relationship with the gorgeous co-star in "Vanilla Sky." It's all next on LARRY KING WEEKEND.
It is always a great pleasure to welcome to this program Tom Cruise -- a saddened Tom Cruise. The Yankees didn't win. For Tom Cruise, the Yankees had to win 46 years in a row, or it's depression time.
And he stars in a sensational, sensational new film, "Vanilla Sky," that will fry your brains out. I mean, I loved this movie. We'll get to that in a while.
But first, let's get to something a little more serious.
TOM CRUISE, ACTOR: Sure.
KING: Where were you on 9/11?
CRUISE: I was in -- I was in my house and -- here in L.A. and woke up with the kids.
KING: The kids?
KING: And did they see it when you saw it?
CRUISE: Yes, they did.
CRUISE: They didn't understand. They didn't quite get it. So I just -- with everything going on, I just sat down and I just told them that they're safe, that they were going to be OK and, you know, not to worry about it. And then, we just kept them away from the television. They're -- you know, they're young kids. We just kept them away from the television and just talked to them about there's some very bad people in the world -- and not a lot of them. There's not a lot of bad people in the world. But very, you know...
KING: What did Tom Cruise think? CRUISE: I was furious.
CRUISE: I was so angry. I was absolutely furious. I was deeply saddened. And I was just so -- I was enraged, actually.
KING: You went on that telethon, right?
CRUISE: Yes, I did.
KING: Answered phones and...
KING: What else? Did you -- did you contribute? Did you...
CRUISE: Yes. Yes, I have. I did things, you know, gave money and went on "Jay Leno." And just really -- you know, maybe also, you know, as a parent, you're looking at your child anyway and saying, you know, what -- and you start thinking about the neighborhoods, the societies of the world. And it just really strengthened my own resolve to doing more -- to doing more for my country and for the world and trying to help to educate people properly to eradicate this kind of ignorance and bigotry. And so, that's...
KING: When John Travolta was on recently, he told us how Scientology helps him through things.
CRUISE: Yes, absolutely.
KING: Did it help you through this?
CRUISE: Yes. It actually...
KING: By using what?
CRUISE: Well, there's -- Scientology -- you know, I've been in Scientology 14 years. And it is an applied religious philosophy. And so...
KING: So you can be any religion?
CRUISE: You can be any religion. But there are many tools that you can use to help to understand yourself more, understand the world, and things that you can do to help people. You know, there's incredible study technology that L. Ron Hubbard developed.
KING: I knew him.
CRUISE: Did you know him?
KING: Yes, interviewed him.
CRUISE: You're kidding me! When?
KING: 1966, '67, when he had one of his big books out. He was a great science fiction writer,...
KING: Not a good science fiction writer...
CRUISE: Yes, brilliant.
KING: ... a great science fiction writer.
CRUISE: Right. Right.
KING: A great guest, too. Yes.
CRUISE: I didn't know that.
KING: I just went up in your mind. Yes.
CRUISE: ... brilliant.
KING: We have other connections; we have the same lawyer, Bert Fields.
CRUISE: Bert Fields...
KING: Who brings fear into...
KING: Now, why does it get -- I hate to get off on this tangent -- but just why does Scientology get bum raps so much?
CRUISE: Well, I think people speak out of not knowing what they're talking about, basically. That if you pick up a book and you read about it, there's so many different tools that people can apply to their lives to make them better instantly. And I think the criticism comes from -- you know, it's a group that doesn't pull punches. They really go after the drug companies.
KING: And psychiatry.
CRUISE: And psychiatry, because of the fact that they, you know, want to put children on Ritalin. And you look at...
KING: They don't like Prozac, they don't like any of it, right?
CRUISE: Yes, because with that, you don't need it.
KING: So -- but you were able to use it while still being angered? So it doesn't temper anger. You know...
CRUISE: I think there's times that it's appropriate to be angry, you know. When a building goes down and there's terrorism, and you see that, I mean, really, you look at it. But it helps you put into perspective, also, what has happened and also enables you to do something about it.
I mean, you look at the -- you know, the volunteer ministers that were down at Ground Zero and were instantly there to, you know, help organize. There's various -- there's also business tools that he developed that help, you know, in terms of organizing.
KING: The basic concept is just to make you a better person, right? And people around you better?
CRUISE: Yes, that you can apply, yes, to -- and it's something that -- yes, that you use in your life. It is a workable -- it is a workable system...
KING: It's a tool.
CRUISE: There's tools that you use in your life. In fact, they've been very helpful to me in my...
KING: Has it helped you, even through divorce?
CRUISE: Yes, absolutely. Sure.
KING: So there's no area of life it doesn't touch?
KING: Raising children?
KING: OK. Back to September 11 and the films you've made. Did you ever say to yourself: Did I, in a sense, contribute at all to violent thinking by making films that have violence?
CRUISE: I am not someone who feels that films are responsible for an individual's condition, that people are responsible for their own condition and how they behave. And, you know -- and I think that it's up to the parent to be responsible and, you know,...
KING: What they take their children to see.
CRUISE: What they take their children to see. You know, that's why you look at the news that's on television, you look at the stuff that's in newspapers, you know. And I -- you know -- I mean, Nic and I are very concerned about, you know, what the kids watch, what movies they watch.
And you look at the Internet, the pornography and all that kind of stuff that's accessible on the Internet. Kids are still getting -- you know, they still -- that's still available to them. And I think that, you know, also, I make movies, and so I'm very aware of what I let the children watch and what I let them see.
KING: And movies have an impact on our lives, right? But, of course, we see -- I saw violent films growing up, I didn't go kill anybody. CRUISE: I saw -- yes, exactly. There's -- you know, a lot of people see violent films. But if a film is rated R, you know...
KING: Don't take your kid.
CRUISE: Don't take your kid. If a film is rated PG-13, you'd better know what the film is about before you take them -- you take them to it. That's what I do, you know, with my children. But...
KING: Do you think the industry owes something to -- when Washington calls on the industry to help in time -- make films that are of a different nature or upbeat -- do you think it owes something, as an industry?
CRUISE: I think -- as an industry, does it owe something? I don't -- I think that that is an individual wanting to contribute. Whatever that director, that artist, whatever they want to make. You know, certainly, you know, there's pictures, you know -- when I look at "Vanilla Sky," which is -- which is a film very much about responsibility...
KING: Sure is.
CRUISE: ... about the things that I'm interested in in life, which are the little moments; those moments that you make a decision and whether you're aware of it or not, the ripple effects throughout not only your own life but the lives of people around you and the effects that that creates. And how -- you know, it's so hard because in life you have so many moments, you know, that you're choosing. And did you choose the right decision or the wrong decision? And...
KING: But the industry doesn't owe, you think, a responsibility to make films?
CRUISE: Listen, it's -- we have freedom of speech here in this country, freedom to express what you want to express. I do not believe in censorship. I believe in ratings. I don't believe in censorship.
I do not believe that government -- I think it is a wrong target. I think to say that it's the entertainment industry's fault that we have violence -- well, you can bring that all the way back to -- you know what? We have to think about education in this country. We have great teachers in this country.
We are the wealthiest country in the world. We have more opportunity in this country than practically anywhere. And I think that as individuals we have to take responsibility and say hey, I want to -- you know, it starts, I think, basically, with education -- with educating people properly and taking care of the teachers.
KING: Tom Cruise is our guest. We'll all be back on LARRY KING WEEKEND. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "SEPTEMBER 11 TELETHON") CRUISE: The Reverend Michael Judge, Roman Catholic priest and a chaplain of the New York City Fire Department, heard the news early and rushed from his room in the St. Francis of Assisi friary. He arrived at ground zero before the towers fell. As fires raged around him, he comforted his firefighters. While they tried to save lives, he tried to save souls.
At one point, he was kneeling, administering the last rights of the church to a dying fireman. When he took off his helmet to lean closer, he knew without a helmet he would be in danger. But it wasn't his job to be safe.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "TOP GUN")
(MUSIC, TOM CRUISE SINGING)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Did you ever make a movie you felt sorry about?
KING: No? Never made a movie where you said, gee, I wish I didn't do that?
KING: Whether it succeeded or not, not material, right? You were happy with what you did.
CRUISE: Yes. Which, in terms of my ability that I know that I did everything I could at that time. I feel that -- you know, I really do feel good about that.
KING: We have a lot to talk about, and I want to talk a lot about the film. I'm not forgetting the film. But you know you carry interest in other areas.
CRUISE: I understand that.
KING: Why do you think -- and this bugs me. I was talking about it after seeing the movie. When people sit down, they say who are the great actors? And they'll say Brando, Pacino, De Niro. Yet I have never seen you give anything but a great performance. Do you think it's because of -- your looks get in the way? No, I'm being honest. But you're regarded as a superstar and, therefore, the acting part comes second.
CRUISE: I don't know. I really don't know.
KING: Because you're damn good at what you do, right, or you wouldn't do it. You're good at it. CRUISE: I feel that I'm good at it, and I feel that it's something that I keep getting better at. And it's something that I keep working on. And it's one of those, you know, things that you just keep working on.
I don't know and I really -- I don't concern myself. The only time it would concern me is if I was unable to do what I do now. Do you know what I'm saying? Like if one day they said, you can't make a movie again, or you can't act again, or you can't produce a picture again. And...
KING: ...whether -- how they rank you is not important?
CRUISE: No. No. No. What's important to me is am I able to work with the people that I want to work with and have the experiences that I have, because that's what you take away with you.
And there's a thing of -- you know, you think that -- I remember -- you know, I traveled around a lot as a kid. And there's -- you know, you have the new-kid-on-the-block syndrome, where you're out there and you're looking for acknowledgment. You're going through and saying how -- who am I? You know what I mean? Picking up different accents wherever I moved and trying to fit in. And then I grow up and I pursue this career that I never thought I could ever have a chance -- you know.
KING: You never wanted to be an actor?
CRUISE: I wanted to be an actor. But, of course, where I was from, it was -- you know, it's like I want to go to Mars. You know, I would really love to go to Mars, you know. People are like, people don't go to Mars, you know.
KING: The environment you grew up in did not...
CRUISE: Yes. Well, my mother -- no, no. And my mother was always very supportive of me, and always believed in me and my sisters. And so I really have gotten to the place -- I realized early on that I've got to be satisfied with what I've done and feel good about what I've accomplished. And...
KING: The rest takes care of itself.
CRUISE: The rest takes care of itself. And you can't -- you know, because in this acting, it's very subjective. And you -- and it's based in confidence and also, you know, a basic knowledge and understanding, but also your own instincts, your own natural instincts, on a scene, how you approach it and...
KING: And you love working too, because every director I've ever talked to who's worked with you said that you don't mind "let's shoot it again." CRUISE: No. No.
KING: You -- it's got to be right.
KING: Do you edit in your head, as well?
CRUISE: Sometimes when I'm working on -- not while I'm doing the scene. But now, as a producer, when I'm working on scripts and you realize, you know, you're looking at the big picture of a film.
And so, yes, sometimes. You know, you go through and you look at scenes and, you know, talk to the directors and work with them on that. And -- but I also understand that being a director, I have my vision of the character and you need, as an actor, the support -- and as a producer, the support and, kind of, protect that director to make sure that his vision is fulfilled, what he wants, his ideas.
KING: It's his picture.
CRUISE: It's his picture.
KING: The movie is "Vanilla Sky." Right back with Tom Cruise after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "MISSION IMPOSSIBLE")
CRUISE: Red light, green light!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "EYES WIDE SHUT")
CRUISE: I'll tell you what I do know: You got a little stoned tonight, you've been trying to pick a fight with me, and now you're trying to make me jealous.
NICOLE KIDMAN, ACTRESS: But you're not the jealous type, are you?
CRUISE: No, I'm not.
KIDMAN: You've never been jealous about me, have you?
CRUISE: No, I haven't.
KIDMAN: And why haven't you ever been jealous about me?
CRUISE: Well, I don't know, Alice. Maybe because you're my wife. Maybe because you're the mother of my child, and I know you would never be unfaithful to me.
KIDMAN: You are very, very sure of yourself, aren't you? CRUISE: No. I'm sure of you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We're back with one of my favorite people, Tom Cruise. Last time we were together was at the World Series, when they won.
CRUISE: When they won.
KING: When they won. I keep bringing that up.
All right. Let's -- we have to discuss this, so let's touch aspects, and then I want to get into this movie.
KING: What was it like -- what is it like -- I mean, all of us see it in bits and pieces here in the public eye, but nobody sees it bigger than you -- to have a personal life laid out on the stage? How do you deal with that?
CRUISE: That was really unpleasant. It was something that, because I am protective of Nic and protective of my family -- both of us are -- it was something that you just -- you know, you just -- the lies and the things, you know, that were put out there and twisted -- you know, because it's something that's between me and Nic, it's...
CRUISE: Yes. Exactly. I mean, that...
KING: None of our business.
CRUISE: No. To me, it's obvious.
KING: But it becomes our business somehow by the nature of the field you chose.
CRUISE: No, and I understand that. But it was -- you know, when you're going through something like that -- I remember when I was going through it, it was very difficult for me because not only I'm producing "Vanilla Sky," I'm working with "Vanilla Sky," I'm in every single picture. I was, you know, meeting with Alejandro. I'm at a bar on that I, you know, produced with Paula Wagner and...
KING: And starred Nicole.
CRUISE: That starred Nic. And...
KING: So your life is in a turbulent state to begin with, not bad turbulence, but turbulent.
CRUISE: Well, yes. You just -- it's a lot of...
KING: You're busy. CRUISE: Very busy. Plus two kids, and trying to keep everything on track and going through a very difficult time, obviously, that -- and we had the strike so that I couldn't even take a day off work.
KING: For fear of the strike.
CRUISE: Yes, the fear of the strike because I had "Vanilla Sky" and then "Minority Report." And...
KING: That's your next film.
CRUISE: Yes. And I'm the kind of person, I don't -- I don't believe in making my problems other people's problems. I just don't. I don't believe in making my problems the kids' problems.
KING: So you don't go to friends and say "help me"?
CRUISE: You know, when my, you know, close friend, Cameron Crowe -- I'm just -- he's got enough to think about with getting his picture made...
KING: He doesn't need to know about...
CRUISE: And the other actors that are working, they don't, you know -- and the crew. And so, people on the crew -- and I've worked with them many times before -- no one discussed it. You could just kind of feel people come around me and say OK, you know -- they really, everyone, they just kind of went OK. We're here. Let's make this a place where he can go and be creative and forget about all that other stuff.
And I think that that was incredibly helpful to me, extraordinarily. And Steven Spielberg was -- you know, friends were very supportive. But I'm not the kind of person -- I don't -- I just listen. I have a blessed life. I have a blessed life.
KING: You sure do.
CRUISE: I have a blessed life. And I don't -- I'm not a complainer about things. I am...
KING: But you have a right to complain about lies.
CRUISE: Well, those things -- I deal with what I can, but I can't -- if I start concentrating on that in the middle of everything, it just takes my attention off of the important things...
KING: How does...
CRUISE: ... my family, my work. And how does it feel?
KING: When you read it. Let's say you read -- you say there were many lies in this.
CRUISE: Many, many.
KING: So this has been mostly amicable?
CRUISE: Oh. You know -- when you're going through stuff, it was difficult at times. Do you know what I mean? But I have to say that where we are now is really a beautiful, beautiful place, you know, because it's something I -- listen. I love Nicole. I've always loved her. And I...
KING: That didn't go away.
CRUISE: That doesn't go away. It will never go away.
KING: And she loves you.
CRUISE: The times -- of course -- and the times that we've had together. And our children, you know, we have together.
And so it's just -- you know, I can't -- anyone who's going through that has to recognize how difficult something like that is, period. And having that other turmoil out there is -- I'm someone who -- I can take a lot of pressure.
But, you know, some of that -- I just said, listen. You know what? People would say well, why, why? I said, you know what? I don't even discuss, you know -- I really didn't even want to get in with -- you know, discuss -- I just don't discuss it with anyone.
KING: Can you tell...
CRUISE: I don't discuss it with anybody.
KING: Can you tell yourself it goes with the territory, though? I chose this. I've done well with it, therefore, I pay this price.
CRUISE: No, there are certain things that I am tolerant of. And there are certain lines...
CRUISE: Intolerant of.
KING: Tabloids especially, right?
CRUISE: Certain tabloids, I am unforgiving.
CRUISE: Unforgiving with, at times, how they behave and...
KING: Have you sued?
CRUISE: Oh, sure. I've actually never lost a lawsuit.
KING: No kidding?
CRUISE: Never. I have never lost. Bert Fields.
KING: Bert Fields.
CRUISE: What, are you kidding?
KING: That's right.
CRUISE: So when you are -- when you are correct and someone in a suit -- I just...
KING: Because some say, well I -- if I sued it, I give them more attention.
CRUISE: I used to say that. But when it just kept going on and going on, there's a certain point where you have to say, you know what? I've told you not to behave like this. It's affecting -- you know, for me, I don't care. It's affecting my family. It's -- you know, I have kids. There's -- you know, I have -- you know, Nic has a family. They -- she -- you know, cousins, nieces, nephews. And all these things -- all these other things, I say you know what? There's a certain point where I have to say it's not OK. You have got to be more responsible.
KING: Do you want her to remarry?
CRUISE: Yes. I hope she does.
KING: And you want the stepfather to be close to the kids?
CRUISE: Oh, absolutely.
KING: And you want to remarry?
CRUISE: I would one day -- I'm not saying I'm not going to get married again. But I would like to get married. And I -- you know, who knows what's going to happen, you know. I don't have any plans yet.
KING: No plans?
CRUISE: No plans.
KING: We'll be right back with more of Tom Cruise right after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "VANILLA SKY")
CRUISE: Who's that girl?
JASON LEE, ACTOR: Happy birthday. How are you doing?
CRUISE: Living the dream, baby, living the dream.
David Ames. To what do I owe this pleasure?
PENELOPE CRUZ, ACTRESS: The pleasure is all Sofia. Serrano. LEE: We met today at the library, if you can believe that.
CRUZ: (UNINTELLIGIBLE). It's too big.
CRUISE: I love your coat.
CRUZ: No, I overdressed. I mean, I underdressed.
LEE: I'll just continue like you're both actually listening to me.
CRUZ: Do you have another room to put it in?
LEE: I have ceased to exist.
CRUISE: Madison Square Garden is nearby; I think it might fit there.
CRUZ: Happy birthday.
LEE: We picked it out together. We picked it out together.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "VANILLA SKY")
CRUISE: Just our shortcomings. That's all we're allowed to draw.
CRUISE: That's how you see me?
CRUZ: Maybe I didn't have enough money.
CRUISE: No. It's wonderful. Sign it.
CRUZ: Let's see -- let's see yours.
CRUZ: You mean, I -- I feel bad. Easy to draw caricature.
CRUISE: I know. I couldn't. I saw you looked at it. That smile is going to be the end of me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Are you in love with this beautiful woman? I mean -- well, let's put it this -- let me it -- I'll put it delicately. You are either the greatest actor in the history of mankind, or you like this lady.
CRUISE: I'm with her. Why -- of course I do. Absolutely. KING: Because that comes right through off the film and into the audience, right? Was that chemistry present making this movie?
KING: There's incredible chemistry between the two of you in the movie.
CRUISE: Well, thank you.
KING: I mean, such chemistry. When you like her better than Cameron Diaz, some people would think is insane.
CRUISE: But it's two things. Where you go two great actresses, Cameron Diaz playing that character...
CRUISE: ... perfectly and Penelope playing that character perfectly and having the good fortune of being directed by Cameron Crowe, who can do this stuff like nobody else. You look at "Jerry Maguire," you look at "Say Anything," you look at -- he is, you know, I think we share that.
I mean, I am a romantic. And Cameron, you know, he can just -- not only is he a romantic, but he can really -- he's kind of a -- he's a realist. And he enjoys -- he loves the little moments in life.
KING: And so...
CRUISE: And he celebrates those. He celebrates those moments.
KING: But when you act with someone you're also crazy about, which is obvious in this movie -- I mean, it's obvious. You're crazy about this person. Does that -- does that get harder to act or less?
CRUISE: .. you have to understand, and truly that, you know, Penelope Cruz is beautiful. You know, who wouldn't -- who wouldn't be, you know. But there's also...
KING: Wasn't hard...
CRUISE: No. No. But it's also -- I was going through a lot of things at that time that -- you know, when you're working on a scene, there is -- there's many elements that come into play and making scenes work and the chemistry, whatever. You know, people say chemistry on screen. There's a lot of elements that go into that.
But I am very proud of the love story and the relationship that we had and the work that we've done. You know, it's not something -- you don't just go up and -- you know, it's...
KING: From an acting standpoint, I mean, you're acting but you're still Tom Cruise, right? I mean, you're doing the best you can to be that character. That's what you want to be. You want to be him. You're not him, but you want to be him. CRUISE: No, I'm not him. But there are -- when you're acting or something, there are decisions and things that you look at and you evaluate, and things that I look at in my own life. I -- it is a -- if I start talking about...
KING: You bring everything you do to it right?
KING: ... bring you to it, right?
CRUISE: Yes. I bring -- of course, all the emotions that I have. But it's not necessarily -- it...
KING: It's hard to explain.
CRUISE: Well, it's just how it translates, how emotion translates, how -- what you're thinking about in terms of, you know, however it communicates to an audience or to the director and what Cameron wants. So there's things that I might use that -- and with the way that it's written and the way that it's staged, ...
KING: But does he have...
KING: Does he have to be the one that says, I like that -- and if he doesn't, you have to change it?
CRUISE: It's -- there's things where you're exploring. It's not who's right and who's wrong. I mean, I -- he's got incredible taste. So I'm there -- you know, we work together in a great way because I -- when we're working on a scene it's -- I know what he wants, I know how to play his stuff. And...
KING: Does it affect you, though -- is the question I'm trying to get at -- When you have an emotional feeling for the person you're working with?
I remember Richard Burton -- Taylor told me when she worked with Burton -- and by the way, your thing may be the biggest since theirs, in getting attention. You know, when you go back to it, their divorce and your divorce. It's hard to find a divorce in between that's comparable in getting attention. You're a big star, Cruise.
KING: When you...
CRUISE: I don't know what that means, at this point.
KING: Elizabeth Taylor told me once when she worked with Richard Burton, she's a complete actress. He was a Shakespearian-trained actor. Yet that feeling was constantly there because she loved him. Did you have that same feeling while you're acting? I mean, you're acting but she's still... CRUISE: I made three movies with Nic, and madly in love with Nicole. And there's different kinds of movies that you make together and what the scenes dictate and you're playing characters in those scenes. And, you know, this picture is about a guy who falls madly in love with a girl.
KING: Madly, first date.
CRUISE: Madly in love with the girl, OK. And that -- the things that evolved for Penelope and I were not until later, you know. Well, not until...
KING: Oh, they weren't happening when making...
CRUISE: No, no, no. No, no, no.
CRUISE: No, no, no.
CRUISE: No, but you feel it, of course. Who wouldn't? You know, she's beautiful.
CRUISE: Smart, lovely girl; really lovely. And, you know -- but...
KING: You were acting. Well, if you can tell me you were acting -- you're one of the best actors alive. And if you were acting, that was great acting, right? Why don't you marry her? You ought to marry her. Tom, I'm saying this as a fan of yours.
CRUISE: Because -- you know what? I don't know. Maybe, maybe not. I -- you know what? I have no plans for that. I have no plans yet, no plans. I'm just -- I'm going to open this picture, and I'm enjoying the time...
KING: And you produce...
CRUISE: I'm enjoying the time that we spend together.
KING: You produced this movie, right? How does that come about? Do they come to you and say, you know, do you want to get involved in this from a production standpoint? Will you take less pay? I mean, why are you producing this rather than just a hired hand?
CRUISE: Because I love movies. I've always wanted to -- when I started out in acting, I wanted to learn as much as I could about them. And I've made a lot of movies. And, you know, I started this company with Paula Wagner. And that's why. So I go out and I look for ideas and buy scripts...
KING: You bought this script. CRUISE: ... buy films. Yes.
KING: This was originally a foreign film.
CRUISE: Yes. And I bought -- I bought the film.
KING: And changed it a lot?
CRUISE: It is -- you know it's -- because Alejandro saw the picture -- Alejandro Amenabar, who directed it. And I also worked, you know, on the others -- helped him with the others.
KING: And he loved this movie.
CRUISE: Yes. He's a very talented guy. And he loved it. And it is Cameron Crowe's -- his band is playing that -- you know, Alejandro's original story. And I love how Cameron says that, because -- and it really is.
KING: Tom Cruise is our guest. We will all be back on "LARRY KING WEEKEND." Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "VANILLA SKY")
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: You are scared of your dreams, aren't you?
CRUISE: It is such a nightmare, either way.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Is that how you explain what has happened to you?
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: What happened to your face?
CRUISE: I'm not talking to you anymore.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: And you don't want to show me your face.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Do you know why you are here?
CRUISE: Conversation, coffee...
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: David, the part where we parry and joust, get to know either other, bit by bit. No, no can do.
We are going to have to skip that because you have been charged with murder, for weeks. A judge will determine your fate, so you will talk to me.
CRUISE: There is no murder. There is no murder!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: This is one of the most unusual movies ever made. Agreed? I mean, if you were...
KING: ... you would say, this is an unusual movie.
CRUISE: It's out of bounds.
KING: Out of bounds. Right. It's a sense -- it's a sick sense, a little grown-up, in a sense. But I mean, the twists and turns and the ending forces you to think, right? You can't go out of this movie without saying, I get it, or I don't get it, or what was that, or should I go back and check that again, right? Was that fun to do?
CRUISE: It was great. Very challenging, very challenging. It was fun because you have all -- you know, there's -- in the movie, if you want to just take the ride, you can take it.
KING: That's right. You don't have to understand it.
CRUISE: If you want to take the ride. If you want -- if you're an audience member and you want something and you can look at, because all the clues are there.
CRUISE: And all of the -- the point of view of the writer, the director, Cameron Crowe, in terms of, you know, the questions that he poses about casual sex, about choices that we make in life, about, you know, are we living a real existence? Are we really confronting who we are and, you know, how we live our lives? Are we -- do we want to take -- can we take responsibility for our lives and these choices?
All of that is in the picture, also. That he -- you know, within his great writing, his brilliant writing, with the humor and this strong emotional through-line of love story between David Ames and Sofia.
KING: The twists and turns are just -- I mean, it's just fun.
CRUISE: I love stuff like that.
KING: Now, special effects. How long did it take you to get made up in that -- Tom Cruise, I hate to break this to you, femme fatale fans, is pretty ugly through three-quarters of this movie. He's in a rather severe -- one of the best car accidents you ever saw occurs in this movie. Trust me. How you live, we don't know. But how'd they do that every day?
CRUISE: I spent a lot of time because actually, we weren't going to make the movie unless we could get that right, that -- the makeup. Literally, right to the end, it was going to be not make the movie right now. Michele Burke, this woman who I've worked with on many pictures; and she was the makeup artist for me on "Interview With the Vampire" -- we spent years just kind of talking about different processes and makeup. And so I called her up. We did many, many makeup tests to...
KING: The guy is severely scarred.
CRUISE: Yes. It was actually really devastating going through because when you're doing stuff like that, you know, they pull out these books. And you talk with doctors for...
KING: Oh, you did?
CRUISE: Yes. With reconstructive surgery, and study anatomy and see how -- the effects of the body, you know, emotionally, what happens to somebody that goes through those -- something like that.
KING: It was almost like you were feeling those headaches.
CRUISE: Yes. It was -- it was very -- when you see things like that -- and makeup artists always have these books. And it's remarkable, first of all, what they can do now with reconstructive surgery. And the other thing is that it was just very painful, actually, looking at those books and seeing what they went through.
But anyway, to get back to your question, how long -- they -- part of the thing is that I couldn't sit in the makeup chair long. I'm in every scene. I work every day, and producing the picture. So it was in -- you know, with Paula and Cameron. And so it's imperative that they get me through as quickly as possible. And they were very, very...
KING: They had to be right every day, the same as they were the day before.
CRUISE: Yes. Otherwise...
KING: The scar had to be where it was.
CRUISE: They were brilliant.
KING: Opening scene in this movie, which I've told you off the air, is the best opening scene I've ever seen in a film. How did you get them to empty Times Square? So, I'll say it, how did you...
KING: Times Square is never empty.
KING: This is totally -- and not just Times Square.
CRUISE: .. were thinking, you know, because it's also a film about the effects of pop culture on an individual or on society. So sitting down we said, you know what? Cameron and I were talking about, you know, where should this movie -- it had to be Times Square. It had -- you know, that is the -- that, you know, the most well-known piece of real estate probably in the world that represents -- and it's also very pop culture.
And they were great. We went and talked to the film commission. It was very helpful, and the mayor's office. And they actually first, you know, how do we do this? What do we do? And then they just started getting excited about it because it's something that had never been done before. And they understood the time that we had and the police officers came in. And it was this -- you know, I think we closed 40 blocks or...
KING: But how did you keep it deserted like that?
CRUISE: They helped -- they did it. I mean, it was like a...
CRUISE: Like a commando, you know. No, because we had carts out there getting people donuts and coffee at corners. And they came out because they couldn't...
KING: Had to be Sunday morning, had to be.
CRUISE: Yes, it was.
KING: Couldn't be a weekday, forget about it.
CRUISE: That would have been war. But they were -- everyone was really excited about it. And they just -- we practiced beforehand, the shot. And we were very specific about the shot. And Cameron and John Toll...
KING: A couple of other bases I want to touch.
KING: You can't get away with it. You can't get away with it. OK...
CRUISE: No, bring it. What?
KING: OK, what happened with the guy who made charges about having a relationship with you? And this I know from Bert, you sued.
CRUISE: Oh, yes.
KING: Did you win that suit?
CRUISE: Of course I did. KING: So that guy was lying.
KING: What could be a worse lie than that?
CRUISE: Larry, Larry, Larry, of course he was lying. Are you kidding? He was lying. Of course he was lying.
KING: OK. When you see something like that printed, I mean, why would you not go berserk? I would go berserk.
CRUISE: It was like one of these things. I just said to -- Bert called me and told me about it. I just said, sue him. First ask -- first, you go and say, look, get a retraction and an apology, and then sue him. And that's it.
KING: Tom Cruise is our guest. We'll all be back on LARRY KING WEEKEND. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "DAYS OF THUNDER")
CRUISE: Harry, say something, will you?
ROBERT DUVALL, ACTOR: I really can't.
CRUISE: You didn't know how all this was going to turn out, did you?
DUVALL: It's like you said, it's -- there is nothing you can't do in a race car.
CRUISE: We won. We won.
Can you walk, or am I going to have to carry you?
DUVALL: Where to?
CRUISE: Victory Lane.
DUVALL: Walk, hell! I'll race your ass!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: What's it like, really like, to be famous-famous? I mean, do you have any real privacy?
CRUISE: Oh, yes. Absolutely.
KING: You do?
CRUISE: Yes. Of course, I do.
KING: You have to create it, though. You have to go -- private planes. Do you -- can you get on line at a movie theater or no?
CRUISE: Yes, I do.
KING: Come on.
CRUISE: Sure. I went and saw "Spy Game" the other night.
KING: On line? Got on line, paid for the ticket and walked in?
CRUISE: Of course I did.
KING: Take the kids to see "Harry Potter"?
CRUISE: Yes, I did. Took the kids to see "Harry Potter." People come up and say hello, and they're very nice. But I don't have a problem with that. I think...
KING: So, therefore, you don't...
CRUISE: ... that's wonderful.
KING: ... severely alter your life?
CRUISE: No. There are differences, you know. I'm sure you have that.
CRUISE: You have things that -- you know, there's benefits to it. But I work very hard, and Nic does also, just to try to create a normality as much as you can. I mean, of course it's different.
KING: And what's it like to have more money than you ever envisioned?
KING: Not bad.
CRUISE: ... not bad.
KING: We've asked viewers to submit questions through CNN.com. I'm going to ask two of you and then one more other thing on "Vanilla Sky" and we're out.
"It seems that in many of your interviews, that your kids are the center of your life" -- and this is from California on e-mail to CNN.com. -- "How do you balance the demands of your career with fatherhood?
CRUISE: You just get less sleep, and you have to be better organized.
KING: But the kids are paramount?
CRUISE: Oh, absolutely. KING: We know you have two children. "Would you ever want one of them or both of them" -- this is from Connecticut -- "to achieve your level of stardom?"
CRUISE: This is what I want for my kids: I want them to be happy and healthy. And I want them to make good decisions and be good people.
KING: "Vanilla Sky" is different. How's it going to do?
CRUISE: You never know. I hope very well.
KING: I think if it doesn't catch on, something's wrong.
And by the way, finally, that scene at the end where you see the Twin Towers really grabs you. That...
CRUISE: That was a decision to make there.
KING: To leave it in? You could have taken it out.
CRUISE: Yes. It was there when we were making it and we wanted to leave it in.
KING: Thanks, Tom.
CRUISE: Thank you, Larry. Thanks, man.
KING: Tom Cruise, one of the good guys. We'll be back on LARRY KING WEEKEND. Stay right there.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "VANILLA SKY")
CAMERON DIAZ, ACTRESS: Hello, handsome. I've come to wish you a happy birthday.
CRUISE: Oh, man! I didn't invite you, Julie.
DIAZ: That was little weird.
CRUISE: But that is how it works with parties. You have to be invited.
DIAZ: Oh! You made love for a time the other night.
CRUISE: Was that good?
DIAZ: Two is good. Three is very good. Four...
CRUISE: Four is pretty good?
DIAZ: Four is -- OK.
(END VIDEO CLIP) (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
KING: We close this show tonight with Gloria Estefan singing "Coming Out of the Dark." It is from Columbia Records' "God Bless America" album, and by the way, a substantial portion of the money form this album goes to the Twin Towers fund. Hope you enjoyed the interview with Tom Cruise. Thanks for joining us for this edition of LARRY KING WEEKEND. And good night.
(MUSIC, GLORIA ESTEFAN SINGS "COMING OUT OF THE DARK")
TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com