Tom Cruise ‘Appreciates the Ridiculousness’ of His Public Persona, Says Simon Pegg

Tom Cruise may have been applauded for saving Hollywood amid the pandemic, but the “Mission: Impossible” actor is staying grounded, according to his “Dead Reckoning” co-star Simon Pegg.

“My relationship with him is just very simple and amiable,” Pegg said during BBC Radio 4’s “Desert Island Discs” (via People magazine) of working with Cruise for almost two decades. “It’s always been a very easy relationship. I think you realize, when you meet the person rather than the thicket of mythology that’s built up around them, it’s a different experience.”

Pegg added of Cruise, “I mean, he loves [the fame] and really relishes it — it’s all he knows. It energizes him and spurs him on. He kind of appreciates the ridiculousness of it sometimes.”

The “Shaun of the Dead” actor previously joked that Cruise “maintains his authority by never being to blame for anything” and is well-liked on set.

“I’ll pull him up on stuff and I can be frank with him,” Pegg said. “But he’s still Tom Cruise. When you’re on set, he’s the boss.”

Pegg continued, “People have these opinions about him, which are based entirely on gossip, and he doesn’t really do anything to combat that. When I hear people speculating about his weird religion and making assumptions about who he is as a person, I say, ‘You know he risks his life for his audience?’”

Pegg applauded Cruise’s dedication to a lack of stunt doubles, saying, “There’s a frisson you get when there’s authenticity: the idea that this guy is actually jumping off a cliff on a motorbike and deploying the parachute 100 feet from the ground? It puts the willies up you.”

Cruise infamously performs his own stunts, including piloting military planes for “Top Gun: Maverick” and defying death (and gravity) atop a motorcycle for the upcoming “Dead Reckoning” film. The upcoming installment also “wrecks” a 70-ton train, per the vision of director Christopher McQuarrie.

“At the start of this movie, I said to Tom, ‘What do you want to do?’” McQuarrie shared. “He said, ‘I want to drive a motorcycle off of a cliff. What do you want to do?’ And I said, ‘I want to wreck a train.’ We’re enormous fans of Buster Keaton, John Frankenheimer, David Lean, all of these filmmakers who at one time or another had a fabulous train wreck. I thought, ‘I’ve earned that, I want to wreck one too.’ I think the energy that went into developing it, designing that, building it, and then making a sequence that justified its existence was probably the biggest challenge of my entire life.”

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