It looks like studio insiders are starting to point the finger at Tom Cruise for all of the faults in The Mummy. The movie was supposed to be the big awesome film to launch Universal Pictures' Dark Universe. These movies would build a monster universe that would also include Frankenstein, The Wolfman, The Invisible Man, and more. Unfortunately, the movie didn't do as well as the studio hoped and the critics haven't been too kind to it either.
According to Variety, The Mummy ended up being "a textbook case of a movie star run amok." The report goes on to say that Cruise had “excessive control” over the creative direction of the story.
"Universal, according to sources familiar with the matter, contractually guaranteed Cruise control of most aspects of the project, from script approval to post-production decisions. He also had a great deal of input on the film’s marketing and release strategy, these sources said, advocating for a June debut in a prime summer period."
Then there's director Alex Kurtzman, who had no experience directing a big-budget film of this scope. That being said, it sounds like Cruise stepped in to direct the director on how he wanted things done. The report goes on to say:
"Cruise exerted nearly complete creative oversight on The Mummy, essentially wearing all the hats and dictating even the smallest decisions on the set."
Cruise also made sure that he had more screen time than The Mummy, who was played by Sofia Boutella. Apparently, studio executives weren't happy with the direction that Cruise was taking the film.
“His writers beefed up his part. In the original script, Morton and the Mummy (played by Sofia Boutella) had nearly equal screen time. The writers also added a twist that saw Cruise’s character become possessed, to give him more of a dramatic arc. Even though Universal executives weren’t thrilled about the story — which feels disjointed and includes Russell Crowe as Dr. Jekyll — they went along with Cruise’s vision.”
One of the more amusing things that were revealed is that the script envisioned the character Nick Morton "as an earnest Tom Cruise archetype, who is laughably described as a 'young man' at one point." Cruise is 54-years-old and far from being a "young man". The actor was also involved in the post-production process, but apparently, people didn't like what they were seeing:
"Once the film was done, Cruise brought in his longtime editor Andrew Mondshein to piece together the final picture. He spent time in the editing suite overseeing the cutting, which everybody agreed wasn’t working. On the lot, there were differences of opinions about whether Cruise’s directions were improving a picture that had been troubled from its inception or whether they were turning a horror film into a Cruise infomercial."
Cruise isn't the only one to blame here, though. The studio is to blame as well for allowing him to have that kind of control. If they didn't like what Cruise was doing they should've said something! I guess Cruise isn't the kind of actor anyone wants to say no to.
It'll be interesting to see how the studio moves forward with their Dark Universe from here.