Tom Cruise shows off his Samurai skills on Oprah
Hollywood superstar Tom Cruise’s insistence on doing his own stunts led to him learning some impressive martial arts moves for his blockbuster movie, ‘The Last Samurai.’
The 2003 historical war film saw Cruise taking the role of a retired officer in the 7th Cavalry regiment who is captured by Samurai warriors in the wake of the Meiji Restoration in 19th century Japan and agrees to fight alongside them.
Cruise, who was 41 at the time, spent eight months preparing for the physically challenging role, on top of an additional four months researching Samurai history, and then showing up two hours earlier on set than the rest of the cast during filming to continue to hone his skills.
”I learned Kendo, swordsmanship, Japanese martial arts, and all manner of weapons handling,” Cruise told The Daily Mail. “I not only had to ride a horse, but I had to effectively fight while riding. I studied Japanese. As far as training goes, you name it, I’ve done it.”
His teacher thoughout this period was Nick Powell, a former fencing champion and member of the British Wu Shu team, who had become an in-demand stunt co-ordinator and sword-fighting expert, working with the likes of Russell Crowe for ‘Gladiator’ and Mel Gibson in ‘Braveheart.’
Cruise put all his training was put to good use in some of ‘The Last Samurai’s’ most intense fight scenes, including one battle that saw him fending off four attackers at once with his sword.
”We shot the scene from the first swing all the way through to the end.
“There were over 70 points of contact where you could potentially lose your eye, your ear or your nose.
“I’ve done fight scenes before but this was significantly different from anything I’ve ever experienced.”
In the end, Cruise time working on the movie left him with what he described as, “a tremendous affinity for the code of the Samurai. It’s about honor. Compassion. Loyalty. Those things always get me in my life.”
More importantly though, He also came away with some sweet Samurai sword skills to show off the next time he appeared on ‘Oprah.’