“Guys, I act for free”: Tom Cruise Made a Startling Statement for 1 Movie for Which He Earned a Cool $60M Paycheck

Tom Cruise stunned director Cameron Crowe following his devotion to making Jerry Maguire a hit.

Initially, Cameron Crowe wasn’t on board with casting a Hollywood giant like Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire, which is often considered one of their best works to date. Considering Cruise was known for being heavily involved in the production of his films, the Almost Famous auteur worried that he would not be allowed to shape the film in his own vision if the MI Star came along.

But to his surprise, Cruise was more than happy to let Crowe steer the ship and use the actor in whatever way he saw fit, and furthermore, Cruise made it his responsibility to ensure the film was a hit.

Jerry Maguire

Jerry Maguire (1996)

Tom Cruise Was Ready to Act for Free to Make Jerry Maguire a Hit

After being touched by the script, Tom Cruise called Cameron Crowe about his admiration for the story, and instead of assuming right off the bat the part was his, he requested to audition for the role. But the fact that the MI Star was more than thrilled to let Cameron Crowe have total creative control wasn’t the most stunning part of it. Considering both the studios and Crowe were unsure whether the film would pull in the numbers upon its release, Cruise took on his shoulders to ensure the film was a success.

Jerry Maguire - 1996

Cameron Crowe and Tom Cruise on the sets of Jerry Maguire [credit: Andrew Cooper]

Tom Hanks’ Decision to Pass On Jerry Maguire Doesn’t Haunt Him

Crowe recalled that the actor was ready to act for free, and the payment he received was to ensure the film was rightly promoted and would make it big upon its debut. Crowe revealed (via Here’s the Thing podcast),

“Tom came from London to New York and said, ‘Boys, I’m gonna do some promotion’. And he started on a Monday, did Rosie, did Larry King, did everything. By the end of the week, our numbers were way high. He basically blew us a kiss, went back to England, and the movie opened”. Crowe recalled Cruise saying, “Guys, I act for free. This is what you pay me for. I’m going to give them everything I’ve got for this movie”. 
Thanks to Cruise’s one-man marketing, Jerry Maguire was indeed a huge success, both critically and commercially, making a massive $273.6M up on a budget of &50M.

Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire

Tom Cruise | Jerry Maguire

While declining the offer to star in one of Cameron Crowe’s best works wasn’t the brightest decision on Tom Hanks‘ part, the acclaimed actor had no regret about passing on the film. The Cast Away Star later explained that he couldn’t see anyone else helming the part of Jerry Maguire than the MI Star, even though Hanks himself was the director’s first choice for the iconic role. Hanks said (via Contact Music),
“I think you look at it now and it couldn’t have been anybody other than Tom Cruise. It’s the way the movie’s operated. I don’t think anybody would look at that now and say, ‘That movie was not perfect.’”

Tom Hanks

Tom Hanks

While Tom Cruise didn’t charge for acting, he was paid handsomely, as he made around $60M following his $20M paycheck and an additional %15 of the film’s total gross.

Jerry Maguire is available to rent on Apple TV.

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