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backwards motorcycle riding

Tom Cruise, Screenwriter, Invents Backwards Motorcycle Riding for Knight and Day

Michael Cieply has a delightful story in today's Times tracking the many revisions made to the screenplay for this summer's Tom Cruise–Cameron Diaz action-comedy Knight and Day. Known at various times as All New Enemies, Trouble Man, and Wichita, Knight was by turns envisioned as a film about an "off-kilter older guy" and a "troubled younger one," an Adam Sandler actioner, a Chris Tucker–Eva Mendes romance, and something starring Diaz and Gerard Butler. Until Cruise came aboard in 2008, the project had but only one constant: All of its motorcycle riding was monotonously forward-facing.

A consummate meddler, Cruise came ready to tinker:


One Cruise touch in Knight and Day: a trailer moment, in which Ms. Diaz’s character flips over the handlebars of a motorcycle, fully armed, facing Mr. Cruise as he steers.

But most crucially:


One Cruise touch in Knight and Day: a trailer moment, in which Ms. Diaz’s character flips over the handlebars of a motorcycle, fully armed, facing Mr. Cruise as he steers.

See? That's why Tom Cruise is a star. He was willing to do what an army of rewriters weren't — claim as his own an idea we're pretty sure we've seen in like 500 movies. At least these two, anyway:



Out of the Labyrinth and Onto the Screen [NYT]