Director: Tom Cruise; Writer: Tom Cruise; Cast: Tom Cruise, Eva Longoria, Christina Hendricks
Tom Cruise has written his first movie. After an epic thirty-two-year career, the actor makes his official screenwriting debut with the film, Brute Passion.
The film follows the story of a man tormented by his love for a woman. It opens with a voiceover and scene of an emaciated and sweating Cruise in what appears to be a jail cell, but is just his living room with the lights out.
Delilah, how much I loved you. How you’ll never understand the power of a man’s love for a woman.
Cruise originally commissioned the writers of The Notebook and the screen-adapters of The Great Gatsby to write the film. It is rumored that he paid a team of writers a salary of $3 million a head to be on retainer for two years while they dedicated all of their creative resources to the film. The product, a hybrid between the two storylines, was about a man who spends a decade building a beautiful home to woo his long lost lover. After sinking approximately $40 million into script development, Cruise was dissatisfied with the final product. Though the writers of the film signed numerous non-disclosure agreements, one seemingly incensed writer leaked a few details. The report is as follows.
After we worked on the “Untitled Tom Cruise Project” for two years, Tom didn’t like the script because he thought it made him seem gay. His response was “Why am I renovating a house? What am I? Some sort of gay interior designer?” Our response was to explain that we were drawing inspiration from the storylines of The Notebook and Gatsby—both of which concern the usage of a house as a symbol of love. Cruise responded, “Well I’m not the Great Gatsby, because I’m not some BIG GAY FREAK,” and we were fired on the spot. We only found out through reading the trades that Tom had taken over the reigns and written the script himself.
Cruise’s PR team promptly released the following:
Tom would never say such things. The writing process was frustrating for all because of the final outcome. He wishes the writers the best but will take the steps necessary to stop any further vicious and untrue slander.
A few days later, a beacon of light was seen coming from the Scientology headquarters on Hollywood and Ivar. It moved over the city for several days, causing multiple neighborhood disturbances, after which none of the writers were heard from again.
One could only expect the plot of Brute Passion to be as farcical and poorly structured as it is. The main character Magnus (Cruise) has a passionate love affair with a woman named Delilah (Longoria), which we see played out in flashbacks interspersed throughout present-day scenes of a tormented Cruise, roaming about his apartment. His face is unshaven, and he drinks whiskey straight from the bottle, passing out frequently on a bare mattress that lies on the floor of an enormous Manhattan loft. It remains unclear how Magnus pays for this loft, or pays for anything, given that his full-time occupation is bemoaning the loss of Delilah.
In most of the flashbacks, we see Cruise making love to Delilah. He alternates between being unrealistically tender and being frighteningly aggressive. In one jarring scene, he slams Delilah against a wall and kisses her with the speed of a small object being sucked into a vacuum cleaner. Longoria is visibly uncomfortable and pained by the experience, but trying her best to convincingly play the role, so as to be granted, perhaps, another role in a career sparse with film opportunities.
At one point in the film, Magnus indicates through voiceover that he needs to sleep with another woman to get his mind off of Delilah. He promptly shaves and showers and steps out of his apartment into the heart of Soho, where he ends up at a dimly lit bar. A tall and slender woman approaches him, but he’s not interested. We then see the voluptuous Dina (Hendricks) sitting at the end of the bar. Magnus goes over to Dina, and she asks why he chose to speak to her and not the beautiful, tall, slender woman who clearly had eyes for him. Magnus explains, “I’m attracted to real women. Busty, curvy women, with real curves and real hips. I can’t help what I’m attracted to.”
Cut to a scene of Dina and Magnus making love. They pass out next to each other and Dina says that was the best sex of her life. Magnus seems lost in thought, still thinking about Delilah. Dina asks Magnus if there’s any sexual territory he wouldn’t charter with her, seemingly in desire of chartering everything with him. Magnus calmly thinks about this and says no. Then as an afterthought, he adds, “Actually anal sex. I’m not that into it. Don’t see what the big deal is.”
In the end Magnus is reunited with Delilah. Their tear-stricken faces rub against each other, and he sniffs her hair, moaning loudly and gripping her with a force that leaves white splotches on her skin.
The film opened to the lowest box office numbers since Oblivion.
To recoup some of the losses, it is rumored that a documentary is in the works, The Writing of Brute Passion, in which Cruise discusses how he channeled his own personal experiences of falling deeply in love with women to pen the script.
Shirin Najafi is a writer living in Los Angeles. She graduated from Columbia University with a degree in economics and worked in investment banking before deciding to quit and become a writer. She performs the voice of a cat in some videos (www.magicalstew.com) and is currently working on her first novel.