Superstar actor Tom Cruise has long been accused of trying to make himself appear taller in films, but has apparently dropped the act in Top Gun: Maverick. Fans of the 59-year-old actor took to social media to give Cruise some props for just accepting the height difference between he and his costars.
How did Cruise, 5’7″, make himself look taller in films in the past? By demanding that directors use a technique called forced perspective that tricks the eye into thinking two objects are more similar in size. The trick can work with any object — not just people. Basically, if you put something in the camera’s frame closer to the lens, it will look bigger compared to something further away from the lens, even if the object is not actually as big as it appears.
One such famous example of forced perspective was in the hit holiday movie Elf. To make Will Ferrell look exceptionally larger than other actors playing elves, production teams placed Ferrell on a pedestal much closer to the camera. The result was for comic relief in Elf (the joke being that Ferrell was a human who thought he was an elf); but Cruise has asked for the same technique on sets in the past to give the illusion that he, the consummate leading man, is taller in movies than in real life.
Top Gun: Maverick drops the charade and let’s Cruise be his actual height
You can notice the forced perspective in the original 1986 Top Gun and its promotional shots if you pay attention. Costar Kelly McGillis stood 5’10” at the time, but whenever she stood next to Cruise, the two stood at the same height. Photographers pulled off the movie magic by always taking into account the perspective of the camera in relation to the actors.
In Top Gun: Maverick, however, Cruise shares scenes with 6’1″ Miles Teller (who plays Rooster), and doesn’t seem to require forced perspective anymore. The two actors simply co-exist with one standing a bit taller than the other, and it’s a breath of fresh air for many Cruise fans.
“Thank you to Top Gun: Maverick for not even attempting to make Tom Cruise look taller and just letting Mav be the short king he is,” one fan wrote on Twitter, as reported by Daily Mail.
“Best part about the new Top Gun was that they fully committed to embracing Tom Cruise for the short king he is,” another user wrote.
“I like how Tom Cruise said f**k it and decided not to do any forced perspective to match anyone’s height in Top Gun Mav. When you are an actor who flies a jet and stick yourself to a plane for a stunt, how tall you look on the screen is the least of your concern,” a third user said.