LOS ANGELES — Everyone agreed — Tom Cruise makes a great bad guy.
At Monday’s premiere of “Collateral,” co-stars hailed the actor’s portrayal of Vincent, a contract killer who hijacks a cabdriver (Jamie Foxx), and forces him to drive around L.A. while he finds the five people he has been assigned to murder.
“He is brilliant,” Jada Pinkett Smith said. “He is so bad, and you just don’t expect him to be.”
“He was very serious with the character,” Foxx added. “He really got into the role.”
During the filming, the two spent many hours together in a cab, which Foxx says he really enjoyed. “I got all of my questions answered,” he revealed. “Everything from my ’Top Gun’ questions to my ’Cocktail’ questions.”
Mark Ruffalo, who plays Detective Fanning in the film, agreed that Cruise nailed the role. “The look and the whole transformation were pretty impressive,” he said.
A wide range of stars, from “Will & Grace” ’s Eric McCormack to singer Diana Ross, came to downtown Los Angeles to see the film. Even Muhammad Ali was there to support director Michael Mann, whose previous film, “Ali,” was based on the boxing legend’s life.
“I have Muhammad Ali behind me and Michael Mann to the left of me,” actress Debi Mazar noted. “I am a little overwhelmed.”
On the red carpet, the film’s stars explained the hard work that went into preparing for their roles. Ruffalo spent three weeks with an LAPD detective. “He was a tough street cop, and he took me all over the place and showed me what was what,” he explained.
Pinkett Smith, who plays United States Attorney Annie Farrell, spent time following around an attorney in order to get into her character.
But Cruise said preparing to play an assassin was no different than any other role he has done. “You just work on the back story and keep hitting it at different angles,” he said. “I didn’t do any different kind of preparation for this guy than I would for Algren in ’The Last Samurai’ or Mackey in ’Magnolia.’ ”
At the premiere, Cruise left his bad-guy persona behind and was all smiles. He signed autographs for fans and took in the sights.
“I have never had a premiere down here. The architecture is beautiful,” Cruise said, looking at the Orpheum Theatre behind him. “I can’t wait to go inside and see the film.”
Check out everything we’ve got on “Collateral.”
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