Tom Cruise Acted for Free in ‘Jerry Maguire,’ Was Paid for Other Job Duties

Actor Tom Cruise did a lot more than act in Jerry Maguire. He took on a lot more responsibility, which he would do on many other productions. However, Cruise once noted that he acted in Jerry Maguire for free, but that the money he earned actually went toward another job duty that would boost the film’s reach and success.

Tom Cruise has a reputation for taking over control

'Jerry Maguire' Tom Cruise as Jerry Maguire talking on the phone wearing a dress shirt and tie
Tom Cruise as Jerry Maguire | TriStar/Getty Images

Jerry Maguire writer/director Cameron Crowe went on Alec Baldwin’s Here’s the Thing podcast, where he talked about Cruise and other elements of production. However, the filmmaker was initially worried about losing all control over the course of the movie because Cruise holds such a huge presence in every production he’s a part of.

“Your friends take you aside and say, ‘When Tom Cruise says yes, you lose your power. You can’t do a thing. It just becomes a freight train that’s out of control, and it’s a Hollywood freight train and you’ll be lucky if you see the back of the caboose,'” Crowe recalled. “And you get terrified. And then Tom Cruise calls from England and says, ‘I read your script. I hope I’m the right guy. Let me come out and read it for you.'”

Crowe was absolutely shocked at Cruise’s response and said, “Wait. You’re gonna come out here and read it? ‘Yeah,’ he said. ‘Why not know it’s right for both of us?’ And he was ‘that guy’ from the moment he got off the plane.”

Tom Cruise acted for free in ‘Jerry Maguire,’ but earned his money by promoting the movie

Crowe continued to Here’s the Thing that Cruise never tried to change the Jerry Maguire script. He became a huge part of the team and wanted to see the movie ultimately succeed. The filmmaker was initially worried that the audience wouldn’t latch onto the film and the studio felt the same way. Audience testing didn’t go very well, but Cruise was determined to see Jerry Maguire be the biggest success it could be.

“Tom … came from London to New York and said, ‘Boys, I’m gonna do some promotion,'” Crowe recalled. “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 continued: “It was the brawn of him coming to say, ‘OK, 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.'”

‘Jerry Maguire’ was a massive achievement

Cruise was ultimately a big part of making Jerry Maguire as big of a success as it became. However, it’s also thanks to the rest of the team putting together a solid movie that critics and audiences ate up. Jerry Maguire brought in over $273 million at the worldwide box office against a $50 million budget.

Jerry Maguire also managed to score some attention at the Academy Awards, including for Cruise’s performance. The film earned nominations for Best Picture, Best Actor in a Leading Role, Best Film Editing, and Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen. However, Cuba Gooding Jr. earned an Oscar win for Best Actor in a Supporting Role.

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