Everybody loves Tom Cruise.
That's the consensus from those who worked with the actor on Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, in theaters July 31. In fact, when E! News caught up with his co-star Simon Pegg at a junket Wednesday, he said, "I love Tom. I love working with him because he's a really interesting person. I feel really privileged to get to see the real man, you know? There's a lot of mythology about him, a lot of speculation about the kind of myth that surrounds him that people are very keen to believe."
"When you actually meet the man himself, he's different," he continued. "He's far more human. He's very fun. He's kind of vulnerable, and he's a human being, and it's great to see. But he can also be Tom Cruise when he wants to be."
How so? According to the British actor, "I say to him, I say, 'Do Tom Cruise.' And puts his sunglasses on and smiles. 'There's Tom Cruise!' And he knows it! It's a brilliant capacity to have. He's cultivated a certain kind of persona which enables him to be the movie star that he is, but at the heart of it is a human being."
Cruise has played IMF agent Ethan Hunt since 1996. Pegg, meanwhile, first played IMF technician Benji Dunn since 2006's Mission: Impossible III. It wasn't until the fourth installment in the film franchise was released in 2011 that he got serious about his fitness. "Ever since Ghost Protocol, actually, I've kept in shape. I go to the gym regularly," he said. "But you step things up a little bit with a film like this, particularly with nutrition and stuff. That becomes very precise, very exact."
According to Pegg, Cruise offered his chef's services on set.
She made the cast "insanely good food," Pegg said, "which wasn't like boring rabbit food or a protein shake. It was like great stews and these lovely little dates filled with peanut butter and sprinkled with coconut for snacks, and these little balls of truffle that were great. It was like, 'How ripped can I get at 45?' You know? It was kind of exciting to push it and see if I could be the guy I always wanted to be."
Debunking rumors that Cruise mandated the entire cast follow his diet, the actor explained, "He was like, 'Here: If you want to do this thing that I do, do it, too.' It was all him. It was given to us by him. And we totally sort of relished the idea. But occasionally at the end of the day, you'd eat the chocolate on your bed pillow because we couldn't resist it. Me and [franchise newcomer Rebecca Ferguson] had this joke about it. It was like, 'Did you eat your chocolates?' But Tom never did. Tom is disciplined to a T. It's amazing."
Cruise "would always laugh if we told him we'd done it," Pegg added.
Gisela Schober/Getty Images for Paramount Pictures International
E! News caught up with Cruise at the film's world premiere in Vienna Thursday and asked how he stays in such great shape at age 53. "For different films, whether it's an action movie or not, making a movie is very demanding. I'm constantly training for one thing or the other," the Golden Globe winner said. "Personally, I like to climb. I'm an aerobatic pilot. There's many, many things I enjoy doing."
Working with Cruise is a dream come true for many actors—and not just because he comes with perks like a personal chef! As Ferguson told E! News on the red carpet, "My teenage interests have grown into a massive crush. I remember seeing him in Interview With the Vampire, and it I found him intoxicatingly handsome. I didn't have posters; I was more like a Lego and car kind of girl. But I do remember being on the treadmill at the gym and someone mentioned him. I sort of went, 'Oh, God'...He was sort of my crush when I was young."
After Ferguson learned she had been cast as Ilsa Faust in Rogue Nation, she admitted to being "nervous" to meet Cruise. "I didn't really know what to expect. What was so good was I didn't really have time to get extremely nervous. I was on a camel in the desert filming in the red tent. The camel was called Barbie, and they called and said, 'You have 24 hours to fly to London, meet Tom, and fly back and get onto Barbie's back again.' So it was more a matter of, you know, just standing up and running and doing it. And the in see him and it's Tom Cruise! He just smiles, takes off his sunglasses, and he's just Tom," she said. "He is humble. He is kind. He is extremely driven and he doesn't take himself too seriously."
Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation is in theaters July 31.