Angelina Jolie

“He was flirting with the part”: Tom Cruise Nearly Replaced Angelina Jolie in $293M Action Thriller, Opted to Go With Indiana Jones 5 Director James Mangold Film Instead

Tom Cruise is mostly the number-one choice when it comes to action! The risk-taking actor has proven his acting skills with an abundance of action that fans don’t want to miss out on. From 1986’s Top Gun to last year’s Top Gun: Maverick, the journey has been spectacular with decades of successful career that continues to secure his position on the top spot.

Tom Cruise
American actor, Tom Cruise

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While he has already established a great action legacy in the industry, he nearly replaced Angelina Jolie in her widely acclaimed role for Salt. Instead of that, he chose to work with Indiana Jones director, James Mangold.

Tom Cruise Was The Original Lead for Salt

Angelina Jolie in Salt and Tom Cruise
Angelina Jolie in Salt and Tom Cruise

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The action star, Tom Cruise was the original choice to play in the lead role of Phillip Noyce’s project, Salt. The script was originally written for a male protagonist, Edwin A. Salt, who was planned to be played by Tom Cruise, a CIA agent accused by his employers of being a Russian mole. Due to the accusation, the protagonist was then on the run while looking to clear his name.

As per NBC Bay Area reported in 2010, the film director during the print screening at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art recalled that the Mission: Impossible actor was interested initially but things later on changed.

“Tom was flirting with the part, and we just couldn’t pin him down.”

However, he decided not to go with Noyce and instead chose James Mangold for his comedy action film, Knight and Day. 

Tom Cruise Chose to Work With James Mangold

Tom Cruise in Knight and Day
Tom Cruise in Knight and Day

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Noyce further added that the Jerry Maguire actor decided to prioritize Indiana Jones’ director James Mangold in his 2010 project, Knight and Day which saw Cruise alongside Cameron Diaz and several others.

“Eventually he did Knight and Day instead,” said the director at the interview.

Cruise had been long associated with the former project, but eventually chose not to sign up. As for the reason for failing to commit to the film, it was reported that his character in the 2010 film felt strikingly similar to his Ethan Hunt role in the famous Mission: Impossible franchise. Avoiding typecast was the major reason behind his letting go of the project.

It changed the whole concept with Jolie entering the film as the lead protagonist, Evelyn Salt. The script was rewritten for her part by Brian Helgeland. It eventually grossed $294 million at the worldwide box office.

As for Cruise’s project, Knight and Day, it received mixed reviews and grossed over $261 million worldwide.

Both films are available on Netflix.

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