From Paul Newman Lost Memoirs: I kicked that punk Tom Cruise’s ass at pool.
The Color of Beating – Black and Blue. The late, great Paul Newman put a thumping on Tom Cruise shortly after this scene was filmed.
WESTPORT, CT (Sportsman’s Daily Wire Service) — We’re running out of film legends. The passing of Paul Newman Friday leaves us with barely a handful of screen legends from an era long gone – the studio system icons with names like Clint, Kirk, and Liz.
But Newman was the antihero with the steely blue eyes that every man wanted to be and every woman wanted to be with – as the saying goes.
While filming The Color of Money, the sequel to his first turn as Fast Eddie Felson in The Hustler, Newman went head to head with a young Tom Cruise.
The following is an excerpt from Newman’s lost memoirs:
By the time I had started filming The Color of Money, I had already been in the film business some thirty years. I had seen so many young actors come and go. I knew Tom Cruise had something special, but that something special certainly wasn’t pool. As a method actor, I had no choice but to become a world class pool player. No matter what the shot, I had to learn how to make it. And I did.
My co-star on the other hand preferred to have a pro stand in for him on the difficult shots. Yet, he walked around the set like he could actually beat Fast Eddie. He’d flash that shit eatin’ million dollar grin of his like a rooster walking around the hen house. Sure, the makeup and wardrobe girls were fawning all over him, but I knew this kid was a lightweight. The filming generally wraps around 10pm on Marty’s (Martin Scorsese) sets. I knew Cruise was gearing up for a night on the town, but I pulled him aside. There were only a couple of grips still left on the set who were putting away some lights. I asked Cruise to grab a pool cue – then gave the grips the rest of the night off.
Cruise had no idea what a horrifying life lesson was awaiting him. That cocky, arrogant sneer left his face in an instant when I broke. Seven ball, side pocket. And on, and on, and on. You could actually hear the poor bastard’s dick recoil. “You’re not feeling much like a box office top draw now, are you – punk?” I said, channeling my inner Clint.
I understand honor. You don’t kick a man when he’s down. I didn’t. Instead I punched him square in eye. “Why are you doing this to me?” he cried. “Because,” I answered. “You’re a little smarmy asshole who deserves to be put in his place. Now, why don’t you cover up that shiner with a dollop of Newman’s Own Bleu Cheese dressing?”
Cruise took me up on my offer. Weeping, he stumbled out the door with bleu cheese dripping from his eye. Naturally I followed him and beat him senseless with a pool cue, putting him in the hospital for two weeks. Filming came to a stop while he recovered. But when we resumed production, he had a whole new understanding of the pecking order. Although, in retrospect it may have been my actions that drove him to Scientology – and don’t get me started on that.
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