Monday, April 15, 2024

“Risky Business” Actor Says Ambitious Tom Cruise Knew “How to Balance Oral Sex and the Bible” at Age 19


I always liked Curtis Armstrong. He’s a consummate character actor from movies like “Risky Business” and “Revenge of the Nerds,” and TV shows like “Moonlighting.” He sort of personified 80s comedy films that would turn up on Cinemax.

Now he’s written a memoir, which will be published next month called “Revenge of the Nerd.” In an excerpt in the Hollywood Reporter, Armstrong recalls shooting “Risky Business” with Tom Cruise. Cruise, he recalls, was after co-star Rebecca DeMornay. But she was dating much older actor Harry Dean Stanton, who was staying with her. So that was out.

Instead, Armstrong recalls Cruise holed up in his hotel room, reading the Bible. And even though there was some discussion of Tom wanting to be a  priest, he had other religious pursuits as well.

Armstrong writes: “Tom’s door opened and another girl came out, adjusting her hair and taking off down the hall, while the first girl in line slipped into Tom’s room. This was a young man who knew something about time management and understood how to successfully juggle Bible study and blow jobs. I went to bed alone that night thinking it served me right for not being religious.”

Armstrong also recalls that Sean Penn, who was 22, came to hang out with Cruise and stayed in his room (platonically, don’t get excited). They’d been in the movie “Taps” together.

He writes: “…going into the room just a couple of days after Sean’s arrival was a revelation. It looked like someone had blown up a convention of rising young ’80s actors. There were clothes covering the entire floor. There was a heady scent to the place, too: a rich musk of dirty laundry, cigarette smoke, alcohol and young white male. The curtains were drawn against the light no matter what time it was. The two of them, like as not, would either still be in bed or lounging in underwear. It looked like a Calvin Klein ad.”

Armstrong also concurs with interviews from the period with Jerry Bruckheimer and Don Simpson about Cruise. When I think about it now, Tom may have been the first person I ever knew who possessed an absolute and voracious ambition. It wasn’t something he discussed in those terms. There was, though, an aura around this good-looking but otherwise unremarkable teen that suggested that anyone who stood in his way, or underestimated him in any way, did so at his or her own peril.”

Sounds like a fun book, can’t wait to read the whole thing!


Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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