Ground control to Major Tom... When did Tom Cruise last play a ‘normal’?

Gillian Orr reports on the star’s odd choice of movie roles

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The Independent Culture

It was announced this week that Tom Cruise has signed up for Yukikaze, based on a series of Japanese sci-fi novels by Chohei Kambayashi. Set in the early 20th century, three decades after an alien force, JAM, has invaded Earth through a dimensional porthole, Yukikaze will tell the story of a group of humans who form a special combat force to eradicate the alien threat on their home planet.

Click here to see Tom Cruise in different action films

Next year will see the release of All You Need is Kill, another sci-fi flick in which humanity is at war with an alien race known as Mimics. Tom Cruise’s inexperienced Lieutenant is forced to fight the aliens and die again and again, living the same day over, in a sort of sci-fi Groundhog Day. Just as Bill Murray had to learn how to love someone other than himself, presumably Cruise has to learn how to kick some alien butt. 

But if you can’t wait a whole year to catch Tom Cruise: Alien Hunter, then why not toddle off to the cinema right now where you’ll be able to watch Oblivion which is set 60 years in the future and sees Cruise as a repairman stationed on a barren Earth evacuated after being taken over by, you guessed it, aliens! But will the Scavs inherit the planet? Or can Cruise stop them?

This is a man who belongs to the Church of Scientology, a religion that believes that Xenu, an evil dictator of the Galactic Confederacy, brought billions of people to Earth (then known as Teegeeack) 75 million years ago and massacred them. Founded by L. Ron Hubbard, who also had an illustrious career as a sci-fi author, it’s little wonder that Cruise  is such a big fan of the genre.

Never mind that he is essentially making the same film over and over, when was the last time Cruise played anyone approaching normal? It seems that as his personal life has become increasingly bizarre, so have his movie roles.

Other films Cruise has in the pipeline include the latest reboot of Van Helsing (that’s the guy who kills vampires) and he is also  rumoured to be in talks with Paramount Pictures to star in Our Name is Adam, in which he would play an astronaut who travels back in time and works with his younger self. Jerry Maguire, they ain’t.

But cinema-goers love Cruise the action man. Oblivion went straight to the top of the UK box office when it came out last week, pulling in £4.96m (it is released in the US today). Meanwhile, the last time he portrayed anyone approaching an everyman it was a box office bomb: 2007’s Lions for Lambs in which he played a Republican senator. OK, so not exactly an everyman, but close.