Knight and Day Cast
: Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz, Peter Sarsgaard, Viola Davis, Olivier Martinez, Paul Dano, Maggie Grace, Marc Blucas Director
: James Mangold Genre
: Action, Comedy Rated
: MRunning Time
: 109 minutesSynopsis
: Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz star in the action-comedy Knight and Day. During their glamorous and sometimes deadly adventure, nothing and no one - even the now fugitive couple - are what they seem. Amid shifting alliances and unexpected betrayals, they race across the globe, with their survival ultimately hinging on the battle of truth vs. trust. Knight and Day is shoot in Massachusetts and other locations around the world, including, Spain, Austria, and the tropics. Release Date
: July 15th, 2010Beginnings
At breakneck speed, secret agent Roy Miller (Tom Cruise) sends the ordinary-seeming June Havens' (Cameron Diaz) life on a screeching detour . . . and vice versa. June boarded a plane in Wichita, Kansas and began chatting up her charming, mysterious seatmate - Roy Miller. Soon after, everything changed. Suddenly, the plane was hurtling into a cornfield without any living crew or passengers.
Without even time to catch her breath, June finds herself being pursued around the globe -- dodging bullets in Boston, leaping rooftops in Austria, and running from bulls in Seville - all in the company of a potentially duplicitous, possibly unstable yet decidedly alluring secret agent at the center of a life-or-death adventure that will push these two people from opposite worlds to do the one thing they've long avoided: trust. Now, nothing will be the same again for them, as this exceptional secret operative finds himself undone by ordinary love and this everyday woman finds herself capable of the most extraordinary things she could imagine.
"Knight and Day has everything I love in movies," says Tom Cruise. "It's a perfect mix of action, comedy and fresh, identifiable characters with a love story that feels very organic. What interested me so much about the story of Roy and June is that everything that happens to them happens through the prism of action. The challenge and joy for Cameron Diaz and me was finding ways to reveal our characters in the middle of these manic moments of danger -- showing how Roy and June start to bring out the best in each other, which is the ultimate romantic idea."
Cameron Diaz, who was already attached to the project when Tom Cruise came aboard, appreciated the characters' interplay, their romance - and the chance to take the journey with her leading man. "I was drawn to Knight and Day not only for its high-level action, but because I saw it as an impassioned love story between two people who find each other from opposite worlds," Cameron Diaz says. "Roy and June have that thing where they each bring out something interesting and unexpected in the other, and I thought that would be so much fun to explore on this thrilling ride with Tom Cruise."
Director James Mangold has a history of taking creative, edgy approaches to classic genres - he most recently helmed the Oscar®-winning biopic of Johnny Cash, Walk the Line; and brought wit and speed to the Western in the critically acclaimed 3:10 To Yuma. Now he makes another departure, mixing global espionage action with witty romance, and wrapping an intricate web of high-speed chases, battles and escapes inside a love story full of glamour and fun.
Unlike most action films of this scope, Knight and Day did not begin as a comic book, TV series or franchise property -- but as a spec script by Patrick O'Neill. For James Mangold, it was a chance to make something classic new again. "We saw Knight and Day as an update of those wonderful, Hollywood cinematic confections -- a movie full of travel, glamour, humor, love and adventure - but with modern characters and dynamic, intense action," he says. "One of the things important to me, as a director who has done both dramatic and comedic films, was not to let Knight and Day become a James Bond movie. We wanted to do something more fanciful, more like Charade or North by Northwest; a modern action picture with a light heart. We wanted to take audiences on a fun journey around the world, a journey filled with comedy, yet with characters who feel completely real and actors who would commit to that."
He continues: "To do all that, you need the right people. With Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz, I knew it could happen. One of the things I've really missed about Tom Cruise's movies in the last several years, and what I really wanted to see again in Knight and Day, was Tom Cruise in a role that is both human and funny. I was really excited by the opportunity to take that step with him playing Roy Miller, a character who is suddenly second-guessing everything that he wants in life. And then into Roy's world walks Cameron Diaz, as June Havens, who puts him in a position to do things and feel things he's never done or felt before. A major interest for me was the humor of mixing together their romantic squabbles and confusion with high-scale action."
Another person key to the project was James Mangold's long-time filmmaking partner and behind-the-scenes marriage partner, producer Cathy Konrad, with whom he has developed a tight-knit creative shorthand that it verges on telepathy. Cathy Konrad was drawn to Knight and Day by the story's originality. "It's hard to find fresh material that isn't superhero based or something like that," she observes. "What spoke to us is that Knight and Day is about two great characters, even more so than the action. It reflects something that I think is found in all of our work: the idea that behind every good story there are always great people."
James Mangold relished the challenge of bending a beloved genre. "We were very aware of the legacy and iconography of spy movies - the Bond pictures, the Bourne pictures, the Mission: Impossible pictures - and we were always looking at how we could upend that and find new ways to approach it," he explains. "Knight and Day is not a send-up. We set out to create a world that feels completely real to the audience, yet is also deeply comic."
James Mangold upped the clash of high-end spycraft with comedy and romance, while taking the characters into slippery territory, which is just where he likes to dwell. He says: "One of the fun questions the movie asks is: even if you are a spy capable of bringing down a plane or saving the world . . . can you handle a relationship? You have these two wonderfully opposite characters - a woman who has always had a fantasy of going somewhere but has never let go enough to do it and a man who has been absolutely everywhere, but has never let himself know love. It's a collision of opposite desires from the moment they meet." Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz
Roy Miller is a spy whose mission is unexpectedly detoured by his brush with ordinary love. Tom Cruise, an actor of a very rare breed who mixes iconic action hero roles with finely tuned character portrayals, brings unexpected dimensions to the film's twist on a classic movie character. His work as Roy Miller leaves audiences to wonder, just who is this guy, really? Roy had to come off alternately as hero or anti-hero, a framed agent or a seductive traitor - or as a man so in love he's ready to make a 180-degree turn in his life. "When we first meet Roy, he's an enigma, and you don't know if he's good or bad, what he's up to or why," says James Mangold. "And with Tom Cruise you have somebody who instantly brings the credibility of being an action icon, yet who also has the ability to lighten up and reveal that Roy Miller is changing."
Adds Cathy Konrad: "Tom Cruise gets to the sense of longing just beneath the surface of Roy. He's endearing and charming, yet he keeps people wondering what he's all about until the last minute."
Tom Cruise has come to define the suave, bold, quick-witted action hero in contemporary movies - in roles ranging from Top Gun to the hugely popular Mission: Impossible series - while at the same time earning three Academy Award® nominations for emotionally complex dramatic roles in Magnolia, Jerry Maguire and Born on the Fourth of July. He was thrilled to now have a chance to playfully upend just the kind of debonair, unflappable hero audiences expect him to evoke. From the minute he came onto the project, his motto was "Make it fun and make it cool."
"I couldn't wait to make this movie," sums up Tom Cruise. "Knight and Day sweeps you into this grand adventure and love story - and we did everything we could to make it non-stop, unpredictable fun. I think Jim [Mangold] is a terrific storyteller and I really wanted to work with him and Cameron Diaz on this."
A large part of the attraction lay in the way Tom Cruise's consummate action hero is suddenly shaken -- not by the dangers of his mission or the sheer numbers of people after him, but by his own heart when he meets June. Tom Cruise enjoyed the idea that the start of Roy and June's rapid-fire romance isn't like any other, but that their relationship has much in common with every love story.
Tom Cruise explains: "Inside this wild plot, these two characters each have a dream of what might come true 'someday.' But then they begin to see that this dream can actually be fulfilled. I think it's something audiences will relate to. Every couple has a story about how they met - it's just that Roy and June have a truly extraordinary tale behind the start of their relationship. Roy and June have the same dilemmas everyone always has in love - can I really trust this person? And who are they really? - but Roy and June's comes with higher stakes. The fun lies in how their relationship builds as the excitement around them mounts. That romantic tension in every scene made it some of the most intriguing action I've ever done."
Key to crafting that romantic tension was Tom Cruise's long-awaited reunion with Cameron Diaz, with whom he previously starred in the suspense-fantasy Vanilla Sky. "As soon as we took on these roles, I could not wait to see what Cameron Diaz was going to do with her character. I always wanted to make this kind of movie with Cameron Diaz," he says. "I was really excited about it because I enjoy her work in action movies. She's talented, funny, athletic and a great actress, and this was such a winning character, I knew she'd give a winning performance."
Their chemistry began simmering from the first day on the set. "The repartee between us was just like boom-boom-boom," says Tom Cruise. "Cameron Diaz's style of humor is unique and I love the way she can mix physical comedy with a really authentic feeling of romance."
For Tom Cruise, action is character and vice versa, and that belief, along with his highly skilled athleticism, has driven a policy of always doing his own stunts, and often dreaming up his own stunts, no matter how risky. "It's challenging for me," he notes, "and I think it's more exciting and entertaining for the audience. It adds something to have the camera right there with Roy the whole time. Plus I really enjoy doing it."
To play Roy, Tom Cruise not only had to leap rooftops, outmaneuver bulls on a motorcycle, and land a 727 in a cornfield, he had to balance Roy's laser-focused intensity and survival instincts with the frensied, uncontrolled energy of a man falling head over heels in love. "Roy is completely intersected by June," he explains. "Right away, Roy sees potential in June, and he feels like he has to make sure she is always OK. But she starts out repeatedly rejecting his world. It reminds me of how real relationships work - how you run from them in the beginning sometimes, but then you come to this point where you have to decide if you're going to jump headlong into this adventure."
The film's adventurous pace, says Tom Cruise, was set in motion from the get-go by James Mangold. "I've wanted to work with James Mangold since I saw Walk the Line," Tom Cruise notes. "I found James Mangold to have a very keen eye for suspense, a great understanding of romance, and also to be extremely funny. He was everything you hope for in a director when you're crashing planes, leaping rooftops and running from bulls."
Just as Tom Cruise could not resist Roy Miller, Cameron Diaz was seduced by the part of June Havens, a seemingly typical, single, working-class woman who goes to Wichita to pick up a carburetor and inexplicably returns home to Boston
as an endangered fugitive who is thrust into an international incident, who seems to be falling for a wanted spy, and who is suddenly discovering her own untapped power . . . on-the-fly.
Cameron Diaz, whose comedic skills and deft charm have made her one of today's most sought-after leading ladies, has drawn accolades for a broad range of roles ranging from the comic zaniness of There's Something About Mary to the spirited action of Charlie's Angels to the period drama of Martin Scorsese's Gangs of New York. Knight and Day's June Havens, however, was something different for Cameron Diaz -- a whirlwind of suspense and sexy humor that becomes an action-packed portrait of a woman finding the confidence to finally let go and trust her heart.
James Mangold saw Cameron Diaz as a custom fit for the diverse challenges of playing June. "I honestly can't think of another woman who could have done so much in the role of June. Cameron Diaz is unique in that she's glamorous, beautiful, a great actress and, at the same time, is comically gifted and incredibly physically able. Who else could so perfectly capture a girl-next-door swept into a grand adventure, and at the same time be able to handle all the physical demands of this movie?" he asks.
Cathy Konrad adds: "Cameron Diaz lets you see how June turns from an inward approach to life to an outward adventure. You have the chance to see June expanding as a person. Just like June and Roy, Cameron Diaz and Tom Cruise brought out the best in each other."
Cameron Diaz found herself relating to June's discombobulated reaction to meeting Roy Miller. "When Roy and June bump into each other in the airport, they have that moment where you recognise something you've been looking for all your life," she explains. "At first, when June is flirting with Roy, she thinks she's only dealing with the ordinary dangers of falling for a stranger, but it quickly becomes the life-and-death kind of danger, and she has no idea how much she can handle."
As June begins to realise she can handle just about anything thrown at her, her entire world opens up. "She goes from a woman who doesn't have any idea what her capabilities are, who only ever dreamed of adventure, into someone who realizes that yes, she can drive, she can shoot and she can stay right with Roy," Cameron Diaz says. "What I love about June's journey is that she has been holding back in her life and when she meets Roy, it becomes a now-or-never moment for her to seize the day. Roy unlocks that in her. Meanwhile, Roy is this renegade adventurer who thinks he is always seizing the day, but he has never seized the one thing he really wants and needs: love. They're the perfect foils for each other - and they learn to trust each other even when trust is very hard to come by."
Much like Roy and June, Cameron Diaz found herself right away in a dynamic rhythm with Tom Cruise. "Working with Tom Cruise is wonderful because he makes everything I do that much better," she says. "He has so much presence - and so much energy. If you're going to do an action movie, it doesn't get better than to do it with Tom Cruise. I loved building off his ideas, and I loved the way he can go from crashing a plane to falling in love and it all feels so real and exciting."
Like Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz was ready and willing to do her own stunts - from spinning cars to putting up her dukes. "I love training for fight sequences," she confesses. "It's a week of getting bruises and cuts and sprains, but it's also a lot of fun. When I went to the Golden Globes® this year in the middle of filming Knight and Day, I had lumps up and down my arms and scraped knees. I loved it!"
Cameron Diaz also loved the high spirits of the production - and the fact that she spent much of her time on the set laughing. "When you do a film where you want the audience to be laughing, and you spend a lot of your time while making it laughing, then you know it's going to be genuine," she sums up. "Tom Cruise and I had such a great time together that I think it can't help but come across in the action, the comedy and how these two characters come together."
Indeed it was the chemistry that instantly emerged between Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz that propelled the production with a spirit of joyful risk-taking. Sums up James Mangold: "Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz have this incredible vibe together, perhaps because they have such different styles. Tom Cruise is all about precision. He's laser-focused and very intense. Cameron Diaz is loose and wild and emotional. There's a natural oil-and-vinegar reaction that happens between them and it makes for an incredible cinematic combo." The Supporting Cast
Tom Cruise's Roy is a man with a lot of people after him. From U.S. agents to foreign spies, he is an extremely wanted man - all of which provided an opportunity for Knight and Day's filmmakers to cast a stellar group of actors in the film's additional starring and supporting roles. Chief among those in pursuit of Roy is Fitzgerald, the agency boss who tries to convince June that Roy is a spy-gone-bad. To play Fitzgerald, James Mangold chose one of today's most versatile actors: Peter Sarsgaard, fresh off critical acclaim for his portrait of a charming con man in An Education.
"Roles like Fitzgerald can either be cardboard or they can be made to live," notes James Mangold. "Peter Sarsgaard had the ability to bring a real spice to a character who is, in a sense, a mirror to Roy Miller - a light mirror or a dark mirror, depending on how you see things."
Peter Sarsgaard was attracted to the story's blend of sophistication and playfulness. "Knight and Day has quite a mix: old-school spy elements, as well as action and comedy," he says. "I loved the freewheeling lightness."
Peter Sarsgaard ultimately found an inspiration for Fitzgerald in an unlikely place: the cartoon skunk Pepe Le Pew, who never gives up the chase no matter how futile. "Pepe Le Pew has that quality where he just keeps going and going and he never changes modes, and that's Fitzgerald," he says.
The role required not just dramatic skill but courage as well - especially to keep up with the enthusiastic fearlessness and risk-taking of Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz. "The things that only look like they're happening in other movies were actually happening in this movie," Peter Sarsgaard says: "There wasn't a lot of green screen [necessary to shoot scenes with CGI]. The risks I saw Tom Cruise take during production were often incredible. He and Cameron Diaz are both just so confident and they always figure out just the right thing to do in the moment - even if the moment is jumping across a rooftop."
Those kinds of pure adrenaline moments were also a draw for another Academy Award nominee: Viola Davis, who garnered honors for her supporting role in Doubt opposite Meryl Streep. Here, she got to flex some muscle and power as CIA Director Isabel George, who oversees U.S. counterespionage efforts, and has her own vendetta against Roy Miller.
"Viola Davis is a terrific actress and it was so important to have somebody with her gravity, weight and authenticity in a tricky role that is all about whether you can really believe what this character is saying," says Cathy Konrad.
Like her cast mates, Viola Davis could not resist the screenplay. "I love big, splashy movies," she says. "I love watching them and I especially love being a part of them. Knight and Day also interested me because it's such a hybrid, it has everything we all want to see in movies -- from comedy to romance to action -- which gives us as actors a lot to play with. Making this movie was a rush."
As Director George, Viola Davis also had the pleasure of being a woman in charge. "I liked the fact that Isabel is the big authority, because I don't always feel that way in my life, so it was fun to pretend to be that. Director George is also the one person who enters the story and appears to be trustworthy and that's all I'm going to say about that!"
At the core of Knight and Day's around-the-world pursuit is an international battle to control a game-changing new energy technology designed by a barely post-adolescent inventor. This is Simon Feck, a brilliant über-geek portrayed by Paul Dano whose award-winning roles include Little Miss Sunshine and There Will Be Blood. Paul Dano was instantly attracted to the fun of the project. "I've never been in this kind of film before so for me it was very exciting, especially to have the chance to do action sequences with Tom Cruise," says Paul Dano, "all while playing a brilliant young scientist who has invented something that is a magnet for every spy agency and bad guy in the world. There's a lot of comedy to Simon Feck and it was fun to play a boy genius."
Also joining the cast is top Spanish star Jordi Mollà (Blow, Bad Boys II) who takes on the role of the nefarious weapons kingpin Antonio Quintana. He, too, fell in love with the script. "It's a fantastic ensemble of very appealing concepts and styles all in one movie," he says.
As for his character, Jordi Mollà sums his many devious sides up as "a classy, dangerous, sexy, charming, intense, dark, funny guy who wants one thing: power." He says the key, though, was never to take Quintana over the top. "James Mangold always wanted to keep it real, and this is the most difficult thing," he says. "James is always trying to get the best out of his actors and out of the moment."
Rounding out the supporting cast of Knight and Day are rising actress Maggie Grace (Lost) as June's betrothed sister April; and Marc Blucas (Buffy The Vampire Slayer) as June's firefighter former boyfriend Rodney, who unexpectedly finds himself in competition with a super-spy.