Tom Cruise is an unsettling man whose prominent membership in an allegedly abusive institution we overlook because his intensity makes for thrilling action movies. Nicole Kidman, his ex-wife, is a talented beauty enjoying a phase of her career that involves wearing many wigs for prestige TV. They divorced in 2001, following more than a decade of marriage and not long after the release of director Stanley Kubrick’s final movie, Eyes Wide Shut, in which they had starred as a couple on the brink of disaster. This is how Kidman looked when the split was final:
Point being, they may not be on the best of terms, even 20 years later. Months ago, Kidman rebuked an interviewer for asking about her relationship with Cruise, and Cruise had done likewise back in 2005. Yet the pair has come together again in the strangest way, as anyone who saw Top Gun: Maverick at an AMC movie theater can tell you. That’s because showings at the franchise are still preceded by Kidman’s cult-favorite ad about the magic of the big screen, and the long-awaited legacy sequel to one of Cruise’s iconic blockbusters also featured a special message from the actor thanking audiences for coming out to see it. As such, viewers were treated to a kind of “divorced mom and dad” prologue for the cinematic experience.
MEL has confirmed with an AMC employee that local theaters have the choice to play Kidman’s ad or not, and it seems as though that freedom extends to the Cruise clip as well. At my showing of Top Gun: Maverick, we were treated to a shortened version of the Kidman commercial, which remains quite popular here in L.A., a city of movie insiders, but no introduction from Cruise. However, many locations evidently played them back-to-back. The result was a frisson of intrigue that you’d normally get from celebrity gossip items. How might the stars have felt about this accidental reunion? Is it painfully awkward, or simply amusing?
Maybe I’m too much of a softie, but I like to think this was a moment of reconciliation by proxy, not rivalry. As others have remarked, Kidman’s awestruck description of moviegoing is precisely in step with the way Cruise likes to rhapsodize about it — the script, and her performance, match his worship of the medium. I’m convinced that he sees her beatific face haloed by the flickering light of the film projector and thinks, “Wow, same.” You’ll never convince me otherwise, because that’s the most Hollywood scenario, and these two are nothing if not pure Hollywood.
I’m not saying these two will meet up for sushi anytime soon, but with what they went through as a famous couple, this might be the best kind of closure: mutual public support. Don’t mind me if I applaud the fantasy — that’s why I’m at the movies in the first place.