Tom Cruise has found a role he can sink his teeth into — literally.
Confirming rumors that have been floating for the past several weeks, the Oscar-nominated actor has been cast in the dark role of the vampire Lestat in Geffen Pictures’ Gothic thriller “Interview With the Vampire.”
Cruise, star of Paramount’s current $ 100 million “The Firm,” joins a cast of rising thesps, including Brad Pitt, River Phoenix, Stephen Rea and Antonio Banderas.
“Interview With the Vampire,” which will be writer-director Neil Jordan’s follow-up to his hugely successful “The Crying Game,” is based on Anne Rice’s best-selling novel. The film, with an estimated budget of $ 40 million, is scheduled to begin production Oct. 18 in New Orleans and London and will be produced by Stephen Woolley (“The Crying Game”) and David Geffen. The pic will be distributed by Warner Bros.
While financial terms of Cruise’s deal could not be confirmed, sources insist that the actor will be paid somewhere in the neighborhood of $ 10 million-$ 12 million, plus a gross profit participation.
Cruise’s fee for “Vampire” is somewhat less than the reported fees for his last three films.
More than two years ago, CAA negotiated identical $ 13 million fees for his starring roles in “Far and Away,””A Few Good Men” and “The Firm.”
While it could not be confirmed whether the package for those deals included gross profit participation over and above the $ 13 million pricetag, it is anticipated that Cruise’s price will go north of $ 15 million the next time he signs to do a mainstream role.
Although neither Cruise nor his agent, CAA’s Michael Ovitz, were available to comment on the deal, sources close to the project say that the actor opted to take less money because Lestat is seen as a somewhat risky role, coming off his long string of “good guy” roles.
“It’s the good prince flexing his muscles as an actor,” said one source. “It’s the first time in his career he’s going to take on a dark actor’s role.”
Sources also said Cruise signed on with “Vampire” for the chance to work with Jordan.
The announcement made no mention of whether Cruise, currently shooting “Legends of the Fall,” has signed on for potential sequels based on Rice’s three other Lestat novels.