"It's so beautiful to see the generations and all of these actors and your contribution to cinema, so thank you," Cruise told Elle, who was in the audience at the Cannes Film Festival.

In a speech ahead of the Top Gun: Maverick premiere at the Cannes Film Festival on Wednesday, Tom Cruise shouted out someone special he noticed in the audience: Elle Fanning.

"I've seen Elle Fanning here, who I've known since she was a little girl," Cruise said at the showing. "You are a very talented actress, and it's wonderful to see you here, and see your sister."

Cruise worked with the actress's sister, Dakota Fanning, on the 2005 Spielberg film War of the Worlds. Dakota, 28, was 11 at the time, and Elle, 24, was 7, both already with multiple acting credits under their belts.

Cruise gestured how small the sisters were at the time and recalled how confident they were in their acting pursuits.

Tom Cruise, Elle Fanning and Dakota Fanning
Tom Cruise; Elle and Dakota Fanning
| Credit: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images; Kevin Winter/Getty Images

"[Elle's] going, 'I'm an actress,' and I said, 'I know you are," Cruise said. "I was working with Dakota, who's a genius, and I was there with Elle, so I said, 'What are you gonna do?' She was like, 'I'm an actress, too.' I was like, 'Yes, you are.'"

The Fannings' careers have not slowed over time, with L'Oreal Paris spokesperson Elle currently starring in The Girl From Plainville and the Emmy-nominated Hulu series The Great, and Dakota playing Susan Elizabeth Ford in Showtime's The First Lady. The sisters are also set to co-star in a film based on the novel The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah in 2023.

"It's so beautiful to see the generations and all of these actors and your contribution to cinema," Cruise said. "So thank you."

Before the unveiling of the 36-years-later Top Gun sequel — where he received a surprise Palme d'Or — Cruise thanked audiences for supporting his career.

"I make these movies for all of you, and I feel very blessed to be able to do what I do," he said. "Just know, I think of you in every meeting and every story and every time we're thinking about this release and what we're doing."

Top Gun: Maverick will make its way to theaters on May 24.

With reporting by Wendy Naugle and Carita Rizzo.

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