You hear a lot of stories about Tom Cruise. He makes weird jokes about “gays in there”, he showed up to watch football at Jimmy Kimmel’s house toting both his mom and a box of cupcakes, etc., etc. The common thread seems to be that he’s nice, but borderline-autism level weird. But since Scientologists don’t believe in autism and Tom Cruise is really rich, they elected him Dalai Space Llama or something. Anyway, there’s an excerpt from Rob Lowe’s autobiography in Vanity Fair talking about meeting Cruise while shooting The Outsiders back in 1983, in which he implies that Tom Cruise is a robot, but in the nicest way possible.
During the first round of auditions in Los Angeles, Lowe writes of meeting Tom Cruise, then a houseguest of the Sheens: “He’s open, friendly, funny, and has an almost robotic, bloodless focus and an intensity that I’ve never encountered before.” In New York for the second round of auditions, Lowe finds that Cruise is “already showing traits that will make him famous; he’s zeroed in like a laser.” “We check into the Plaza Hotel. I am taken aback at the luxury and spectacle of the lobby…. The front desk tells us we will be sharing rooms,” Lowe writes of the actors’ arrival in the Big Apple. “In a flash, Cruise is on the phone to his agent, Paula Wagner. ‘Paula, they are making us share,’ he says…. The rest of us are staggering around like happy goofs….. ‘O.K., then. Thank you very much,’ he says like a 50-year-old businessman getting off the phone with his stockbroker. ‘Paula says it’s fine.’ ”
“She assured me that there won’t be any gays in there.”
Lowe remembers hanging out with Cruise and the other actors in a gymnasium on set, when Patrick Swayze—who, Lowe writes, “makes Tom Cruise look lobotomized”—“begins to teach us a standing backflip…. When it comes to flips, I’m a pussy. I don’t flip. I don’t even dive into a pool—straight cannonball for me…. No, thanks. Cruise, not surprisingly, is all over it. ‘How about this!’ he says, almost pulling it off without even being spotted. He wipes out, but tries it again immediately.”
Benicio Del Toro later said of working with Swayze, “He flip you.”
Lowe describes the other young actors of The Outsiders, most of whom would later become major names in Hollywood. Patrick Swayze is “as cool as you want, wearing tight jeans and a tattered, sleeveless Harley-Davidson T-shirt revealing his massive, ripped arms. (This is his uniform, he never changes it, and if I looked like him, neither would I.),” Lowe writes. In Vanity Fair’s excerpt, Lowe goes on to describe his Outsiders co-star Matt Dillon as a young ladies’ man—picking up an ogling young fan in the hotel’s lobby; pins Diane Lane as everyone’s set crush (“At only 16, she already seems like a legend.… I watch as she breezes by with her chaperone. With all the teen testosterone on this movie, she’ll need one!”); and recalls how director Francis Ford Coppola had all the actors perform Tai Chi during rehearsal (“How does a 60s greaser know or care about Tai Chi? But if the world’s greatest living director thinks we should stand on our heads to prepare, we should probably do it”).
Man, it sounds like the real-life version of Entourage, only with Matt Dillon instead of Kevin, and no one’s talking about shoes.