Last week, we reported that Rachel McAdams would be joining the cast of Cameron Crowe’s next untitled film—which is said to be a in the heartfelt vein of Almost Famous and Jerry Maguire. The news was a welcome relief after the disappointment of his last few films, features I found terribly unsubstantial, leaving my love for the wonderful writer and director waining. Having grown up on Crowe’s early and middle films, they taught me something profoundly important about creating a narrative that’s both cinematic and deeply emotional—but always honest and unmerciful. And the other day, Cinephilia and Beyond posted the most delightful gem—a photo from the original script for Jerry Maguire, marked up with notes from Tom Cruise himself, advising Crowe as to liken to his own ridiculous suggestions.
You can see the script page HERE but while you’re into it, you should also read this fantastic article documentating the making of the film written by Crowe for Rolling Stone‘s 1996 December Issue—The Jerry Maguire Journals. See the article in its entirety HERE but tak a look at some what he had to say about working with Cruise:
… He carried the script in a black notebook with multicolored page markers for easy access. Layer by layer, Cruise began to strip down to the part that many had told me he would never play – a loveable, lost loser on the rebound. As he mentioned to me one day, “I have a piece of paper near the mirror, and I see it every day. It says, ‘Relax.’ If I’m loose, I can go places I’ve never been before as an actor. Any time you want, just tell me to relax. It’ll help.” I would have to tell him to relax only a couple of times. Each time he tried something wild and loony. Those takes are not in the movie, but the next ones are.
…Cruise’s process of deconstructing was entertaining to watch. If the scene required him to be out of breath, he would jump rope furiously just before a take and then quickly say, “Let’s go.” If the take required him to cry, he would take as long as necessary, sitting alone, sometimes listening to music on a Walkman, reaching into places that clearly wrenched him to visit. The level of his commitment to the part was constantly surprising to me as a director. As a writer, I was often floored.
“Your words, man,” he said, “You spent three and a half years on this script.”
…Every picture of me directing Jerry Maguire looks pretty much the same: I am holding pages from the script in hand, and the pages are mostly filled with scribbled notes about how each line could be played. My intense devotion to the script was matched, sometimes outdistanced, by Cruise’s. The mirror in his hair and makeup trailer was plastered with photos from each of his previous movies. The idea was to look different, to be different, in Jerry Maguire. A real turning point came early, while we were filming the scene where Jerry has been fired and he rushes back to the office to make phone calls, attempting to win back his clients.