Wondering about that shot in the trailer in which a blindfolded Cruise is attacked by mechanical creepy crawlies? Keep wondering. ”Those are spiders, and I’m in big trouble,” is all Cruise will say. Yes, folks, this is another one of those sworn-to-secrecy movies. But here’s the pitch: In a future Washington, D.C., a law-enforcement agency employs three seers (including Morton) to anticipate homicides and gung ho cops (including Cruise) to bust the would-be murderers. But when Cruise himself gets fingered, he starts running.
The actor first read an early screenplay by Ronald Shusett and Dan O’Bannon (”Alien”) in 1997 and saw it as an opportunity to work with longtime friend Spielberg. Shooting was set to begin in fall ’99, but honing the script proved tricky; ultimately, ”Report” didn’t start rolling until last year, a delay that reportedly cost the film the participation of Matt Damon, who was replaced by Farrell. ”The story needed to be more personal, less about the sci-fi,” says Cruise. ”We didn’t want to get too caught up in the whole ‘What’s it going to be like in the future?’ thing. We just wanted the world to be there.” Though Cohen provided some crucial early help, Cruise and Spielberg credit ”Out of Sight”’s Frank for cracking the case. Spielberg also solicited ideas from scientists and novelists to help flesh out a media-saturated society, where people drive magnetic cars and live for 100-plus years.
With their initial collaboration finally in the can, Spielberg says he looks forward to his next four films with Cruise. ”He’s said no to me five times over the years; he brings me one movie and I say yes,” the filmmaker laughs. ”I’m thinking he still owes me.”