The Bourne Identity director Doug Liman takes on aliens, groundhog days and Tom Cruise’s girly noises in his gigantic sci-fi blockbuster Edge of Tomorrow
What’s the concept?
“Tom Cruise plays a PR for the US Army. His job is to convince people to go and fight, but it’s clear he’ll never fight. To take that guy and force him to relive the losing battle day after day – it’s aliens and time travel, but it’s still taking a big genre film and putting the human story at the heart of it.”
Is there anything Tom Cruise couldn’t do?
“It’s Tom Cruise. I never saw him complain, I never saw him get tired ever. He’s literally tireless. It was important for me to have real suits of armour, so those were uncomfortable and very heavy. Tom and Emily [Blunt] trained for months to get ready to wear them. As we cast other actors, the first thing we did was get them into training. You don’t want to be the one complaining when Tom Cruise isn’t.”
What was the weirdest thing Cruise did on set?
“The first time on set, he was in a scene where the aircraft he’s in gets shot down, and he squealed. I’d never heard Tom Cruise squeal before – he’s so good at it. He’s the biggest movie star in the world, and the only person who enjoyed knocking that guy down to earth more than me was Tom Cruise himself. He has an amazing sense of humour.”
How hard is it to balance what you see on set and what will happen in post-production?
“It’s so challenging – I have a new appreciation for Jim Cameron. Tom and Emily teased me, as they had to deliver performance as though they’re reacting to these horrifying aliens slaughtering people, and what they’re actually reacting to on the set was me running around holding a stick with a tennis ball on the end of it, making noises. There is so much humanity in a movie that’s filled with explosions and computer-generated imagery, and that’s because there was so much humanity on the set.”