A toast to Tom Cruise

Museum of Moving Images celebrates actor

There was talk of scripts, stars and schmucks on Tuesday when the Museum of the Moving Image saluted Tom Cruise at Cipriani 42nd Street.

Before introducing a clip from “Rain Man,” Barry Levinson revealed that Sydney Pollack was originally going to direct Cruise in the pic.

“I was helping (Pollack) out with the screenplay, and at some point he said, ‘I just don’t want to make a movie about two schmucks in a car.’ I said, ‘Sydney, two schmucks in a car is a good idea. I made a movie about five schmucks in a diner. This is three schmucks less and better scenery.’ ”

This admission drew laughter from Cruise’s table, consisting of Katie Holmes, Tim Robbins, Brian Grazer and Ron Howard, along with the rest of the crowd.

Levinson then added, “Tom, I think, was somewhat overlooked (for his role in ‘Rain Man’). But he was young and too good-looking to be taken seriously at that time.”

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