Jake Johnson was so adamant that he didn’t want to film 2017’s The Mummy that he flew all the way to London from Los Angeles to tell Tom Cruise, only for the action icon to convince him to feature.
Johnson admitted as much during his recent appearance on Justin Long’s Life Is Short podcast. Johnson’s first error came when he agreed to star in The Mummy before actually reading the script.
Then, when he finally did get his hands on the screenplay, he saw that the first 30 pages included numerous action scenes with Cruise, who famously performs all of his own stunts. Johnson knew that Cruise would want him to do his own action scenes, too, so thought, “Nah. I know what this is going to be.”
“There’s one thing I love in this business, and that is when they say, ‘Bring in the stunt people’,” admits Johnson, who says he would have gladly done the dangerous set-pieces before joining the hit show New Girl. But now he didn’t need the money.
Johnson was told that, in order to pull out of The Mummy, he’d need to tell Cruise himself. This meant flying all the way to London, where the blockbuster was shooting. However, during their lengthy discussion, Johnson ended up getting along with Cruise, especially since the actor made fun of him for not wanting to do his own stunts.
“He’s a super funny guy, and he starts doing a lot of bits, and he’s like, ‘Are you comfortable sitting on a couch. Or do you need a stunt person for that?’ ... About 45 minutes in, I realize that I really like him, and I turned myself into a fan.”
Johnson even told Cruise, “I heard about you strapping yourself to the side of a plane for Mission: Impossible. I don’t want to do that. I don’t want this to be a story of, like, ‘Tom Cruise and fellow actor fall off a building and their heads get smashed.’ Because in Sweden, there’s going to be a big photo of you. But there’s not going to be a big photo of the fat guy from New Girl next to you.”
Cruise ultimately worked his magic, though, convincing Johnson to appear in The Mummy. And even though the adventure film ended up being a critical and financial flop Johnson is still glad he featured in it.
“I gotta say, though, I’m glad I did it, because he really was a joy to work with, and he’s a really wild guy. And part of the fun in our business is that you get to work with really wild people.”