One of the most unlikely pairings in a Hollywood blockbuster you’re ever likely to see is the duo of Tom Cruise and Jake Johnson. One is known for appearing in goofball comedies. The other might be the biggest movie star in the world today.
Despite this massive discrepancy, these two teamed up to star in The Mummy several years ago. What you may not realize, however, is that Johnson actually needed some convincing to actually take the role.
The convincing was done by Cruise himself, and he joked around a little at Johnson’s expense while he was doing it. Here’s the story of how Cruise mocked Johnson into taking the role.
The careers of Tom Cruise and Jake Johnson
When you compare the careers of Cruise and Johnson, you’re looking at two actors who couldn’t be more radically different in terms of the types of films they’ve been in.
Cruise is one of the biggest movie stars of all time. He’d headlined major franchises and received an Academy Award nomination. Looking at the box office receipts for his films will reveal a smash hit after smash hit. Whether it’s Jerry Maguire, War of the Worlds, or the Mission: Impossible franchise, Cruise is a bona fide hitmaker.
Contrast that with Johnson, who often stars in more comedic roles. Johnson is probably best known for his hilarious starring role on the Fox sitcom The New Girl alongside Zooey Deschanel.
The film that united Tom Cruise and Jake Johnson
Johnson and Cruise both starred in The Mummy, a 2017 action-horror film meant to launch Universal’s “Dark Universe” centered around classic horror characters. It was a unique role for Cruise: not since Interview with a Vampire had he been featured in a horror-centric film.
According to IMDB, the film had a budget of $125 million. While it made over $400 million worldwide, it only made $80 million in the U.S., making it something of a flop.
The film’s performance may have been disappointing, but that didn’t negate the great chemistry Cruise and Johnson had.
How Tom Cruise mocked Jake Johnson into accepting a role in ‘The Mummy’
Johnson appeared on Justin Long’s Life is Short podcast to discuss how he was cast in the film. According to Johnson, he agreed to it, changed his mind, then had to be convinced by Cruise to get back in.
“So I have a change of heart. I say yes, I read the script, I don’t want to do it, too scary…at this point I had a job that I knew was coming back for more years, so I told my lawyer, ‘I think I’m out.’ And they said, ‘Well, after you kinda said yes over the phone….they had been planning it to be you. And Tom got excited, so if you’re going to pass you need to go meet him in London.”
Johnson traveled all the way to London to meet Cruise, who proceeded to gently needle him in a way that only a superstar can:
“…I meet Tom, and we had a meeting that lasts hours … He’s a super funny guy. So he likes doing a lot of bits like, ‘Are you comfortable to sit on a couch or do you need a stunt person for that?’ I’m in a death trap … I gotta say, I’m glad I did it. He really was a joy to work with.”
Luckily, Johnson knew how to take a joke, and Cruise was clearly ribbing him in good fun. It’s refreshing to hear a star of that caliber can be so down to Earth that he still likes to roast his costars a bit.
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