[csaa-forum] New Book Announcement: Starring Tom Cruise Edited Collection

Sean Redmond s.redmond at deakin.edu.au
Thu Mar 4 06:52:27 ACST 2021

Starring Tom Cruise
Edited by Sean Redmond
Wayne State University Press, 2021

He had me at hello

Starring Tom Cruise examines how Tom Cruise’s star image moves across genres and forms as a type of commercial product that offers viewers certain pleasures and expectations. Cruise reads as an action hero and romantic lead yet finds himself in homoerotic and homosocial relationships that unsettle and undermine these heterosexual scripts. In this volume, editor Sean Redmond shows how important star studies is not just to understanding the ideological, commercial, and cultural significance of one star but to seeing how masculinity, ethnicity, sexuality, and commodity relations function in contemporary society.

The volume is divided into three parts. Part 1 explores the ways that Cruise’s star image and performances are built on a desiring gaze, nearly always complicated by perverse narrative arcs and liminal character relationships. This section also explores the complex and contradictory ways he embodies masculinity and heterosexuality. Part 2 places Cruise within the codes and conventions of genre filmmaking and the way they intersect with the star vehicle. Cruise becomes monomythical, heroic, authentic, and romantic, and at the same time, he struggles to hold these formulas and ideologies together. Part 3 views Cruise as both an ageless totemic figure of masculinity who does his own stunts, as well as an aging star—his body both the conduit for eternally youthful masculinity and a signifier of that which must ultimately fail. These readings are connected to wider discursive issues concerning his private and public life, including the familial/patriarchal roles he takes on.

Scholars writing for this collection approach the Cruise star image through various vectors and frames, which are revelatory in nature. As such, they not only demonstrate the very best traditions of close "star" textual analysis but also move the approach to the star forward. Students, scholars, and readers of film, media, and celebrity studies will enjoy this deep dive into a complex Hollywood figure.

Contributors Include:
Adam Daniel, Michael DeAngelis, Glen Donnar, Sorcha Ní Fhlainn, Sasha T. Goldberg, Loraine Haywood, Tara Lomax, Carlos Menéndez-Otero, Ruth O'Donnell, Patrick O'Neill, Justin Owen Rawlins, Sean Redmond, Defne Tüzün, Alex Wade, Brenda R. Weber, Linda Wight


Love him or loathe him, there is no denying that Tom Cruise has been one of the world's biggest movie stars for a long time. As such, he deserves serious scholarly attention, and this book provides it with fifteen smart essays that adroitly address just about every imaginable facet of the star's cultural, sexual, and symbolic resonance.

– Gaylyn Studlar, author of This Mad Masquerade: Stardom and Masculinity in the Jazz Age

Sean Redmond’s first-rate edited collection offers detailed consideration of the most important roles in Cruise’s successful decades-long career. This wide-ranging volume also covers essential new ground for the analysis of contemporary Hollywood stardom. Its insightful cross-disciplinary examination of the star’s perpetual border crossing makes this book an unmissable read. Stars like Tom Cruise never seem to lose their shine. This book enables us to understand why.

– Virginia Luzón-Aguado, Harrison Ford: Masculinity and Stardom in Hollywood

The contributors analyze Cruise’s appearance, his affect, the surrounding discourses, and films’ presentation of the actor in ways that illuminate the various aspects of his stardom and the society and industry that have made him a star for forty years.

– Cynthia Baron, author of Denzel Washington

This is a book that star studies has wanted, even if we didn’t know it—a wide-ranging set of reflections on the desirability, authenticity, and dogged agelessness of contemporary Hollywood’s ubiquitous genre king. As equally attuned to the white, masculine normativity of Tom Cruise as to his performative excess, sexual indeterminacy, and spiritual eccentricity, this book advances star studies by elucidating a changing Hollywood landscape through the cultural continuity of its most tenacious star.

– Misha Kavka, professor of cross-media culture, University of Amsterdam

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