Here’s How Tom Cruise Reacted When Jamie Foxx Blew His Audition for ‘Jerry Maguire’

Oscar-winner Jamie Foxx has a rock-solid reputation as a seasoned professional actor. But before he tackled roles in movies like Ray and Django Unchained, Foxx made an audition flub. Here’s how things got awkward when the rising star read a scene for Jerry Maguire with Tom Cruise. Spoiler alert — he didn’t get the part.

Jamie Foxx and Tom Cruise
Jamie Foxx and Tom Cruise | Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Jamie Foxx tried to impress Tom Cruise

In an interview on The Howard Stern Show, Foxx recalled his experience when he auditioned for the 1996 film, Jerry Maguire. The actor had been tapped to try out for the role of NFL star, Rod Tidwell, in the movie. He told Stern this about his first meeting with Tom Cruise:

“I’m in LA, and I audition just like on a — I don’t know how I got in. And the guy goes, ‘He’s great. We’re gonna take you to New York.’ Because they hadn’t signed Tom Cruise on yet. ‘We’re gonna take you to New York and read for Tom Cruise.’ I’m like, ‘What?’ I’m like, ‘Oh my God.’”

Jamie Foxx recalled that when Tom Cruise walked in, clad in a leather jacket, “he looked like he had just walked off of Top Gun.” Cruise asked Foxx where he lived, to which he replied, “Oh, I got two houses. You know, I live in LA and Vegas. You know what I’m saying?”

“So, I said, ‘Where do you live?’ And he said, ‘Rome.’ And I said, ‘Rome Street?’ He looked at me like, no mother f*cker. Italy.”

Foxx made blunders during the script reading

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Fresh off of In Living Color, Foxx managed to get through the audition, but not without another gaffe. Reflecting on the situation, he described the experience to Stern, saying this:

I kept looking at him. Imagine that you’re from Texas, and you’ve done a little bit of sh*t, but you ain’t seen no real f*cking stars, right? So, I’m just sitting there watching it, and we get to reading, right. And we’re reading. We’re reading, Howard.

And as I’m reading, you know, he does a dramatic pause, you know, but that’s his thing. I f*cking think he lost his place. So I take the script, and I say (points at the script) no, we right here, “Show me the money.” And then you say… He says, “I know. I was taking a pause.” I said, “OK, yeah. I’m f*cking this up.”

Jamie Foxx on The Howard Stern Show

Foxx confessed, “I blew it so bad that he just started laughing at me.” He was still learning the differences between TV and movie acting, even down to vocalization. Cruise was speaking at a lower level than Foxx was accustomed, and he asked the superstar to speak up. With all of Foxx’s missteps, Cruise gave a priceless response, saying, “Hey guy. You gotta get it together.”

Foxx and Cruise ended up working together on a different film

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The role of Rod Tidwell in Jerry Maguire ultimately went to Cuba Gooding Jr., and he won the Oscar for his performance. But Foxx quickly learned the Hollywood ropes, scored other big opportunities, and got a second chance to work with Cruise later in his career. The actors teamed up in the 2004 film Collateral. That same year, Foxx starred as Ray Charles in Ray, which earned him an Academy Award.