It had been nearly 15 years since Todd Field released a film when his critically acclaimed drama “Tár” hit festivals last fall. Now running the gauntlet of the awards circuit, Field has opened up about the difficulties he’s encountered in realizing his projects, including the obstacles that faced his debut feature, 2001’s “In the Bedroom,” and how Tom Cruise offered him guidance through the troubles.
In a profile published by the New Yorker, Field shared that he was devastated after “In the Bedroom” was acquired by Miramax out of the film’s Sundance debut in the early weeks of 2001. Harvey Weinstein, the now-convicted sex offender and former Hollywood producer, was running the banner at the time and wielded a notorious reputation for taking films away from creatives and back into the editing room.
“I was weeping in the bathroom,” Field recalled. “I called up Tom Cruise and said, ‘Something terrible has happened.’ He basically said, ‘This is how you’re going to play it. It’s going to take you six months, and you’ll beat him, but you have to do exactly what I’m going to tell you to do, step by step.’”
Cruise, who had already worked as a producer before, laid out a process that involved allowing Weinstein to re-edit “In the Bedroom,” trusting that the new version would test poorly at preview screenings. After that, Field could point back to positive reviews out of Sundance to suggest that the film be released in its original form.
Field shared that he followed Cruise’s game plan. The rest is history: “In the Bedroom” was nominated for five Oscars the next year, including a nod in best picture.
Field and Cruise had previously worked together on Stanley Kubrick’s final film, “Eyes Wide Shut.” During the interview, Field recalled how Cruise encouraged him to keep up his pursuit of film directing while working on the erotic drama.
The Cate Blanchett-starring “Tár” has landed Field best directing wins from the New York Film Critics Circle, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and the National Society of Film Critics. The filmmaker is currently in the hunt to land a best directing nomination at the Academy Awards, which will announce the year’s nominees on Jan. 24.