December 14, 2001
Vanilla Sky is a remake of the 1997 film Albre Los Ojos, which translates as Open Your Eyes. The story is based on a successful man's womanizing leading him into lust for his best friend's lover. Before he can act on this impulse, he is involved in a car accident that grotesquely disfigures his face. After a series of surgeries, his good looks are restored, and the woman leaves his friend and confesses her love for the Warren Beatty-wannabe. As you might imagine, based on this description, the film is notorious for its surreal environment and was often described as a Spanish predecessor to Eyes Wide Shut in tone, style and moral ambiguity. Producers are mum on the plot of the remake, but confirm that the cynicism and darkness of the original will be kept in this version.
A re-teaming of the Jerry Maguire duo of Tom Cruise and Cameron Crowe, Vanilla Sky is one of the most secretive and highly-anticipated films remaining on the 2001 schedule. The recent confirmation of an off-screen romance between the soon-to-be-divorced Cruise and co-star/goddess Penelope Cruz only adds to the expectations about their onscreen chemistry, and could benefit the film's initial box-office performance. The film itself is a pet project of Cruise's, and he went so far as to buy the rights to the remake himself and then talked Crowe into joining him on the project. Cameron pleased Almost Famous viewers and Kevin Smith fan-boys alike by immediately casting soon-to-be-superstar Jason Lee in the role of Cruise's buddy. In addition, Kurt Russell will play the miracle-worker doctor and Cameron Diaz will play the jilted lover who drives Cruise into a tree.
As we can see from the above, this cast would easily be the best of any year that didn't have Ocean's Eleven in it. On paper, it looks like it has the potential to be a huge blockbuster, but an honest evaluation is that it's a weird romantic drama, so there are no guarantees here. Eyes Wide Shut is going to be a natural comparison film, and we all know how well-received that was by the general public. The combination of the established superstars Cruise and Diaz and the fast-rising Cruz and Lee will make for an innately interesting movie, but the quality of the film will go a long way in determining its financial success. The cast will get people there opening weekend, but what happens next depends on just how weird this film turns out to be. Cameron Crowe has proven himself to be one of the finest directors of his generation, and Tom Cruise is the one of the best actors in the history of cinema at choosing parts, but we again cross into the Eyes Wide Shut scenario, where a great director working with a great actor on a strange story doesn't guarantee financial success. It does bear noting that early Oscar odds list this as a strong candidate for best picture, and that alone can be enough to carry a film to huge box-office receipts. (David Mumpower/BOP)
Comparison films for Vanilla Sky
|Mission: Impossible 2
|Eyes Wide Shut
|There's Something About Mary
|Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon