Mickey Rourke Calls Out Tom Cruise, Says He’s ‘Irrelevant’ as an Actor

Top Gun: Maverick is the movie sensation of the summer, pulling in more than $1 billion worldwide to become the highest-grossing film in the legendary career of Tom Cruise. Returning to the role of Pete “Maverick” Mitchell for the first time in more than 35 years, Cruise proved he’s still as bonafide a movie star in 2022 as he was when the first Top Gun was released back in 1986. However, not everyone is impressed with Cruise skyrocketing back to the top of the box office charts. In a recent interview on Piers Morgan Uncensored, fellow veteran actor Mickey Rourke criticized Cruise for not challenging himself with the roles he takes, adding the financial success of Maverick is immaterial:


“The guy’s been doing the same ‘effing part for 35 years. I got no respect for that. I don’t care about money and power. I care about when I watch Al Pacino work, and Chris Walken, and De Niro’s early work. Richard Harris’ work, Ray Winstone’s work, that’s the kind of actor I want to be like. Monty Clift, and Brando back in the day, and a lot of guys that tried to stretch as actors. I think he’s irrelevant in my world.”

Both Rourke and Cruise rose to prominence during the 1980s, with Rourke appearing in such films as Diner, Rumble Fish, and The Pope of Greenwich Village. At the same time, Cruise was playing iconic parts in Risky Business, The Color of Money, Rain Main, and, of course, Top Gun. While Rourke argues that Cruise never broke away from those types of roles, films like Born on the Fourth of July and Eyes Wide Shut beg to differ. Cruise’s career has really transitioned into solely blockbuster filmmaking over the last decade, which Rourke was guilty of for a time as well. Between starring in Iron Man 2, The Expendables, and a pair of Sin City movies, Rourke wasn’t immune to being part of big-budget films that grossed millions of dollars. The two actors clearly have differing ideologies, which Rourke was all too keen to make publicly known.

The Careers of Rourke and Cruise Have Taken Different Paths Over the Last Decade

Paramount Pictures

Rourke has primarily starred in smaller films over the last eight years or so, never quite reaching the same heights as his Academy Award-nominated performance in 2008’s The Wrestler. The actor seems content with avoiding larger franchises for the rest of his career, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t working. Rourke has had two films come out in 2022, with another two set to be released by the end of the year, which follows up two starring performances in 2021. Making a $1 billion-grossing film clearly doesn’t interest Rourke, which makes his acting path the complete opposite of Cruise.

Even though it’s going on its eighth week, Top Gun: Maverick continues to rake in the cash as it pads its lead over every other film released in 2022. Maverick should hit the $600 million domestic mark by the end of the week and isn’t too far away from becoming one of the 10 highest-grossing domestic films in history. While Rourke may say those figures are “irrelevant”, Cruise’s performance in Maverick has been positively received by the millions of people who have gone out to the theater to see the film. Despite what some of his contemporaries may think of him, Cruise is showing no signs of slowing down as he enters the next chapter of his incredibly successful career.