Some things never change. Four decades ago, Tom Cruise graced the screen in Risky Business, a timeless film that remains one of the veteran actor’s most beloved works. The movie revolves around Cruise’s character, a high school senior, who seizes the chance to have some fun while his affluent parents are away on vacation.
Among the most memorable scenes is one where Cruise slides across the floor, showcasing his dance moves in nothing but his underwear, accompanied by the iconic tune of Bob Seger’s “Old Time Rock and Roll.”
As the 40th anniversary of Risky Business approaches this August, Cruise recently sat down for an interview with Access Hollywood to reflect on the film. He fondly recalled being a 19-year-old during the movie’s production in 1982, although it wouldn’t hit theaters until the following year. Considering the enduring popularity of the dance scene, Cruise also shared his memories of shooting it on set four decades ago.
“That scene, that day… it’s etched in my memory,” Cruise expressed. “I’ll never forget it. Paul Brickman, a great filmmaker, gave me the starting point of that shot. We discussed it, and he said, ‘Here’s the choreography.’ Look, I grew up dancing in my underwear in my house, who didn’t?”
When directly asked if he still indulges in dancing around in his underwear these days, Cruise replied with a smile, “Yeah, I still do!”
Cruise then delved into the challenges he faced while executing the famous slide on the hardwood floor in his socks. Determined to achieve the desired outcome, the actor knew where he wanted to land and meticulously worked backward to find the perfect technique. However, reaching his intended spot proved to be a bit of a struggle, as Cruise explains.
“I envisioned hitting the center frame right from the start,” Cruise elucidated. “So, I tried sliding in my socks, but it didn’t work. That’s when I thought, ‘Well, let’s just make the floor slippery,’ and I slid all the way across. But I realized, ‘That didn’t work.'”
Eventually, Cruise discovered that applying sticky spray to the precise spot where he needed to stop resolved the issue. This realization marked a turning point for the scene, leaving an indelible impression on Cruise’s understanding of filmmaking, even after all these years.
“It was a learning experience for me, not just as an actor in the moment, but also spending time in the editing room… observing the shots and seeing how they were skillfully pieced together,” Cruise reflected. “It was a formative experience. I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with such a remarkable script and material at that young age.”
Risky Business, written and directed by Paul Brickman, not only starred Cruise but also featured Rebecca De Mornay, Joe Pantoliano, Nicholas Pryor, Janet Carroll, and Richard Masur.