Vanilla Sky – USA Today

Crowe’s Hopes Fly on Golden Wings

Cameron Crowe has a lot of his Almost Famous crew working on Vanilla Sky, which reunites the Jerry Maguire director with Tom Cruise. When the four Golden Globes nominations were announced last month for Famous, Crowe says, “we all looked at each other in awe and felt very lucky and surprised that morning. It’s cool we get to experience it together.” He also feels lucky with Vanilla Sky, which has a couple of months to go after six weeks in New York.

Crowe is still clamming up on the plot (loosely based on the Spanish film Open Your Eyes), and he won’t discuss Cruise’s appearance (his character supposedly has a disfigured face). But he does say that “every scene is packed with storytelling, more story than I’ve ever done.”

Cruise’s love interest in the film is Penelope Cruz (now in theaters with All the Pretty Horses), who plays a New York artist/dancer/photographer. And Cameron Diaz has a “kind of stunning” supporting part, Crowe says, as “the third part of a triangle with Cruz and Tom — the girl who was there before Cruz showed up.”

Chatting from L.A., where Vanilla Sky continues, Crowe mostly wants to talk about Famous, a fictionalized account of his days as a young rock writer.

Crowe’s most personal film could pick up Oscar momentum if it wins some Golden Globes on Sunday night. Despite critics’ praise and awards, and its Globe attention (it’s up for best musical or comedy, Crowe’s screenplay, and Kate Hudson and Frances McDormand’s supporting performances), the film has grossed only $32 million since opening Sept. 13. And it cost an estimated $60 million to make.

Crowe, who doesn’t usually make back-to-back movies, sounds like he is far from obsessing about that result. “It’s a parlor game you can indulge in: Maybe it was the Olympics, this or that” affecting box office.

“You’re never sure how much a movie is remembered after it’s moved out of most theaters. When we were location scouting for Sky, people would stop us all the time and want to talk about how Famous affected them .” These were professional types who had Crowe squinting to try to see them with long rocker hair in days past.

He has no complaints about how the studio handled the film’s promotion and distribution.

“I’m totally behind DreamWorks,” he says. “They talked to me about all the decisions. Kate Hudson did the press tour. We did everything possible. I’m just excited we got the movie made. I wouldn’t have done anything different.”

He adds: “There are a zillion formats it can be a success in. The video is due in March, the DVD will be a longer cut, later in the year. The movie will have a life.”

Courtesy of USA Today – Jeannie Williams – January 16, 2001