Money, Money, Money
On 18 July, 2008, news outlets reported that Tom Cruise was going to skip playing Edwin A Salt.
Why, after so long spent nurturing the project? It seems the actor was seeing dollar signs – and not enough of them. Columbia reportedly offered the star less than he was willing to take.
Formerly a top-earning star raking in $20m per film role, Cruise’s diminished status as a Hollywood star – mostly thanks to box office flops and his continued, controversial association with Scientology – meant a $20m payday was no longer in his grasp.
According to an insider, “an internal memo went around among the film’s producers and top creators in which the Cruise situation was discussed and names were gathered for a replacement”.
However, money wasn't the only issue. Columbia also considered the 45-year-old star to be too old to head up a fresh action film (and potential franchise). They were ready to put him out to pasture.
“We discussed the film with Tom,” says director Noyce (above). “We had a table read with various actors, including Samuel L. Jackson, who kindly played one of the parts, just so we could hear the script read.”
Unfortunately, Cruise wasn’t prepared to shoot with the script in its current state. “His main fears were that the character was too close to Ethan Hunt, being a rogue spy, with extraordinary abilities,” explains Noyce.
Consequently, they “tried to twist and turn the story to differentiate the character of Edwin Salt from Ethan Hunt”. Sadly, it didn’t pan out, and Cruise jumped ship.
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