Vanilla Sky


Cast: Tom Cruise, Penelope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Kurt Russell & Jason Lee

Crew: Written & Directed By: Cameron Crowe Produced By: Cameron Crowe, Tom Cruise & Paula Wagner DP: John Toll Editor: Joe Hutshing Score By: Nancy Wilson

Theatrical Release Date: December 14, 2001


  • Cruise and his production partner, Paula Wagner, who such big fans of Alejandro Amenábar’s Abre los ojos (Open Your Eyes) they bought the remake rights and approached Cameron to direct.
  • Early character names for David Aames in Cameron’s script included Robert “Scratch” Baxter, Jason Newhouse Jr., David Drew Jr. and David Newhouse Jr.
  • Crowe says, “The original film is like a song our band really liked and we decided to cover it our own way.” Crowe views his adaptation as a “remix” rather than a remake, calling his film a “genre-bending, mind-twisting portrait of the American male as he exists five minutes into the future.” “Hopefully, it honors the original. I like the idea it could be sort of a dialogue between the two movies. I kept thinking of the original like a folk song. There’s so many different ways you can play it, and you can reinvent it in your own way,” Crowe said. “I would never say to somebody, ‘Don’t see his, see ours.’ I would say see them both.”
  • Here’s a quote from Abre Los Ojos director Alejandro Amenábar about Cameron’s version:
    • “When I learned, quite some time ago now, that Cameron Crowe was going to write and direct the film based on Open Your Eyes with Tom Cruise in the leading role, I felt honored. Now that I have seen Vanilla Sky, I couldn’t be more proud. Cameron has all my respect and admiration. Respect, for having plumbed the deepest meaning of the work. Admiration, for having sought new viewpoints and a fresh approach to the mise-en-scene, giving the film his own unmistakable touch. Vanilla Sky is as true the original spirit as it is irreverent towards its form, and that makes it a courageous, innovative work. I think I can say that, for me, the projects are like two very special brothers. They have the same concerns, but their personalities are quite different. In other words, they sing the same song but with quite different voices: one likes opera, and the other likes rock and roll.”
  • The Twin Towers are featured prominently in Vanilla Sky. Here’s a Crowe quote about why they stayed in the film after the 911 attacks: “The idea of wiping them away by the computer – I couldn’t do it”, “They’ve already been taken away once; they’ll stay in the movie. Hopefully, the audience will understand it’s a tribute.”
  • One of the cars featured in the film is a 1967 Ford Mustang Fastback. There were two built by Premiere Studio Rentals, a leading supplier of vehicles for television and motion pictures.
  • No, the John Coltrane hologram is not real. Here’s the story from Scott Martin, Associate Producer on the film: “Cameron conceptualized the idea of a holographic stereo to show that David Aames is rich, cutting edge and, because he publishes magazines, companies send him new technology in hopes of getting a product review. The invention doesn’t actually exist and was created using CGI — with classic Coltrane footage used as the source material.