[source: Access Hollywood]
We’ve all done it. A friend will mention their excitement about the Tom Hanks helmed Mr. Rogers movie that’s in preproduction and our mind immediately puts Tom Cruise in that signature cardigan. Or we read about the new Top Gun sequel and can’t picture anyone but America’s Dad playing the role. Today we’re putting our mental mixup to the test, imagining Tom Hanks in Tom Cruise roles – and vice versa.
The Toms as Pilots: Tom Cruise in Sully and Tom Hanks in Top Gun
We know that both Hanks and Cruise are excellent fictional pilots. Tom Hanks saved an entire plane of passengers and flight crew during an emergency landing in the Hudson River in Sully. And Tom Cruise took the reigns as the reckless fighter pilot Maverick (yes, his name is also a character trait) in Top Gun. But what if these two Toms switched places?
Well, for one thing, Tom Cruise would have to be comfortable letting a little grey show. Captain Sullenberger was only a few years older than Cruise when he executed that now-famous emergency landing, but his signature white hair is a must when playing the role. As for Tom Hanks playing Maverick? We have a hard time imagining this lovable actor taking on a role as brash as this Top Gun character. But who are we to doubt the skill set of Tom Freaking Hanks?
The Toms on a Mission: Tom Hanks in Mission Impossible and Tom Cruise in The Da Vinci Code
It’s maybe a little on the nose to classify Mission Impossible as a movie about a, um, mission, but how else do you classify a movie where government operative Ethan Hunt (played by Tom Cruise) and his mentor embark on a covert assignment that goes horribly horribly wrong? And on the other side of mission-driven movies, in The Da Vinci Code, Tom Hanks plays symbologist (yes, you read that right) Robert Langdon, a man determined to solve a murder in the Louvre. Yes, the same Louvre The Carters filmed in. Have you heard of it?
It’s not a huge stretch of the imagination to picture Tom Hanks as Ethan Hunt. Just think: if he’d taken the action movie track instead of the romantic comedy track back in the '90s, he could be dodging lasers and executing covert operations like the best of them. Tom Cruise as a symbologist, commanding the Louvre? That’s a little more of a stretch for us. First of all, why is Robert Langdon referring to himself as a symbologist rather than a scholar of religious iconography? Why does he feel the need to create a new name for his discipline of choice? Second of all, does Tom Cruise have the gravitas for a role like this one? Or will he be racing through the galleries of the Louvre – in the biggest detective hurry we’ve ever witnessed? Call in the film crews. We’re ready to see this role swap in action.
The Toms in Entertainment: Tom Cruise in Saving Mr. Banks and Tom Hanks in Jerry Maguire
In addition to being entertainers themselves, both of our beloved Toms have starred as entertainment vessels. Tom Hanks took a turn as the legendary Walt Disney in Saving Mr. Banks and Tom Cruise starred as sports agent Jerry Maguire in the movie of the same name. Both men had an unflappable vision and a desire to achieve success their own way. But, as is the theme, they were also incredibly different. Jerry Maguire expressed himself through loud declarations. (“Show me the money!” anyone?) Walt Disney maintained a level persistence as he sought out the film rights to P.L. Travers’ Mary Poppins books.
If Tom Cruise stepped into the role of Walt Disney in Saving Mr. Banks, his acting style would likely be softened and more whimsical. Cruise wouldn’t sink into a stereotype of this creator of magical wonderlands, but we doubt he’d hop on the rotary phone to P.L. Travers and yell about the financial success of the Mary Poppins movie. Tom Hanks, on the other hand, was made for a movie like Jerry Maguire. Stepping into the role would inch him toward the rambunctious side. And, honestly, as an actor who plays so many buttoned up roles it would probably come as a welcome change.
So, get to it, Hollywood. We’re ready.