Thandie Newton thought she’d be ‘in trouble’ for Tom Cruise comments: ‘That’s kind of what I’m used to’

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Roisin O'Connor
·3 min read
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Thandie Newton says people were 'frightened' after she spoke out about her experiences in Hollywood: Rex
Thandie Newton says people were 'frightened' after she spoke out about her experiences in Hollywood: Rex

Thandie Newton has revealed she was surprised by the support she received after speaking out on her encounters in Hollywood.

In an interview with Vulture, the British actor said she was “scared” of Tom Cruise while the pair were working together on Mission: Impossible 2.

“He was a very dominant individual,” the Westworld star said. “He tries super hard to be a nice person. But the pressure. He takes on a lot. And I think he has this sense that only he can do everything as best as it can be done.”

Newton recalled a specific scene they rehearsed where the pair switched roles, which she said “pushed me further into a place of terror and insecurity”.

“I was surprised by the appreciation I had got,” Newton has now told Variety and iHeart’s podcast “The Big Ticket”.

“I thought that I would be in trouble because that’s kind of what I’m used to.”

Newton had also claimed that film producer and former Sony Pictures head Amy Pascal was the reason she quit Charlie’s Angels.

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

According to Newton, the film producer began “reeling off these stereotypes of how to be more convincing as a black character”.

Pascal allegedly felt that the character – who was written as having been to university and was educated – would need to be changed if Newton took the role.

When Newton pointed out that she was educated and had studied at Cambridge, Pascal apparently said: “Yeah, but you’re different.”

“‘Maybe there could be a scene where you’re in a bar and [the character] gets up on a table and starts shaking her booty,’” Newton recalled Pascal as suggesting.

In a statement, Pascal said she was “horrified” to hear Newton’s account.

“While I take her words seriously, I have no recollection of the events she describes, nor do any of her representatives who were present at that casting session,” she said.

Newton has now explained that she just “happened to be an older woman who has recognised that knowing the truth and speaking the truth has benefited me a hell of a lot more than being silenced or seeing people silenced around me”.

“And I have nothing to lose,” she added. “I have nothing to lose because I could just then not get hired, which is kind of normal for people in my generation anyway… It’s not about confessionalism, it’s not even about my confessions. It’s about that this is the reality of what people face.”

Newton declined to comment when asked if she had heard from Cruise since her Vulture interview, but said she knew it “made people frightened”.

“Individuals were very frightened…It’s like how far back do you go?” she said.

You can find the full interview here.

The Independent has contacted Cruise’s representatives for comment.

Newton is up for an Emmy this year – the third year in a row – for her performance as Maeve on Westworld. After winning last year, she told Variety she believes she has no chance this time, because Meryl Streep is nominated in the same category for her Big Little Lies role.

“Oh, come on Meryl Streep!” she said. “All I’m going to say is f***ng Meryl Streep! She needs a whole award ceremony just for her!”

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