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Steven Spielberg Wanted Tom Cruise As Zorro

Even though Steven Spielberg’s idea to get Tom Cruise to star in “The Legend of Zorro” was a non-starter for Mikael Salomon, the filmmaker appreciated how the star was courteous enough to reach out to thank him for the opportunity. Salomon recounted his brief conversation with Cruise about the role, noting for /Film, “One day I was doing a commercial and my assistant said, ‘Mikael, there’s Tom Cruise on the phone for you.'” 

The filmmaker said while he previously worked with Cruise as the director of photography on director Ron Howard’s 1992 romantic adventure “Far and Away,” he was taken aback by Cruise making the effort to get in touch with him. “He called me up and said, ‘Thanks for the offer, but I think it’s not a great idea for me to do this movie because, as you know…’ I said, ‘Tom, you’re a very smart guy. Absolutely, you’re absolutely right,'” Salomon told /Film. Ultimately, of course, the title role in “The Legend of Zorro” went to Antonio Banderas. 

The character of Zorro first appeared in author Johnston McCulley’s classic novella “The Curse of Capistrano (The Mark of Zorro)” in 1919. Times and cultural sensitivities had of course changed by the time Banderas took on the role. Douglas Fairbanks became the first actor to play Zorro in film in “The Mark of Zorro” in 1920, while Tyrone Power assumed the role in the 1940 version of McCulley’s tale, also titled “The Mark of Zorro.” 

Cruise, meanwhile went on to become Hollywood’s last great action star, with lead turns in such blockbusters as the “Mission: Impossible” films and the “Top Gun” sequel, “Top Gun: Maverick.”

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