“I have always had a love of horses – well most animals really – since I was a boy, so when you look at a script and see that it involves riding it makes it all the more attractive,” says Tom. “The only problem is that sometimes it might be a year or more since being on horseback because of being so busy making other movies, that it takes a little while to remember what you are supposed to do.”
Tom never looks like he is not sure what to do. He is one of Hollywood’s greatest action men and most often does his own stunts, even on horseback.
“I’m not going to say I do everything but there is very little I don’t do,” he reveals. “I like the challenge, and also when your name is up there in big letters, I think it is only fair to do your best to live up to the expectations of people that pay to come to see you.” This approach is typical of Tom Cruise who has the reputation of being one of the nicest guys in the movie industry.
“I hope that’s true,” says Tom. “I am a relaxed kind of person. I don’t like bad manners but I like to be on good terms with people. If I am spotted in the street, I’m quite happy to have a chat, give an autograph or whatever. Being friendly costs nothing. Maybe the world could do with a little more friendliness. I have always been a fairly relaxed person, but really, what does it cost to be nice to people? Come to that, what does it cost to be nice to horses?
“I grew up in an ordinary but close family. We were not well off but I still have very happy memories of my own childhood. It was pretty noisy because I grew up with three sisters. Anyone who has grown up with more than one sister will know exactly what I mean. We didn’t have much but we never went without meals or anything like that. We had a lot of fun and fights like you do, but I think it made me grow up being aware of other people.
“I have never had a problem communicating and I am sure that is because we were a lively household. In fact, you cannot grow up with three sisters and not somewhere along the line be involved with horses! So I was introduced to ponies from an early age and as well as being fun I realised that ponies could move pretty quickly when they wanted to. That’s when I first got the feel of the wind in my face and the occasional branch when the pony decided where we were going and forgot that I was on his back. I have been hooked on horses ever since.”
As well as being a nice guy, Tom also has the daredevil image and it is not always just for the big screen. “I like to do things which are exciting. That is why I got a pilot’s licence, bought my own jet to fly and learned how to handle it. I even went for weightlessness training with NASA. That was a fantastic experience and I would love to go into space. I really don’t want to pay $24 million for a holiday trip to space but I would love to go. Call it the final frontier, if you like.