Tom Cruise Saved Tar Director Todd Field’s First Movie From Harvey ‘Scissorhands’ Weinstein

As related in a recently published Michael Schulman profile for The New Yorker, Field, who is back in the awards derby for the first time in over a decade with “Tár,” found himself “weeping in the bathroom” upon learning that Miramax had bought his film. He knew Weinstein’s “Harvey Scissorhands” reputation, and couldn’t bear to see his finely wrought drama compromised by a vulgarian who cared only about winning Oscars and the box office. How would he push back? Could he push back?

Field hopped on the phone with his buddy Tom Cruise, with whom he’d acted in Stanley Kubrick’s final movie “Eyes Wide Shut.” He told the star, “Something terrible has happened,” and explained his situation. The showbiz-savvy Cruise told him exactly what to do. Per Field:

“He basically said, ‘This is how you’re going to play it. It’s going to take you six months, and you’ll beat him, but you have to do exactly what I’m going to tell you to do, step by step.'”

The strategy was to not resist at all. Let Weinstein go crazy in the editing room. When the film tested poorly, remind Harvey of the glowing reviews out of Sundance, and suggest that he had an Academy Awards juggernaut from the jump. Field followed the plan to the letter, and won big.

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