Tom Cruise Assassinated Co-Workers With Post-Its As Collateral Training

Tom Cruise as Vincent holding a gun in Collateral

There is nobody in the world who could question Tom Cruise's dedication to his craft. His work doing his own stunts in the Mission Impossible movies alone show how far he is willing to go for an authentic performance, and you can see just how much he throws himself into each of his roles. It clearly demands a lot of preparation work from the actor, but apparently he went a very strange route with it in the making of the 2004 film Collateral.

Specifically, Tom Cruise got ready for his part as a hitman by assassinating co-workers with Post-It notes.

This strange bit of film trivia comes from a special screening of Collateral earlier this month that was put on by Array 360 - director Ava DuVernay's theater in Los Angeles. Prior to the showing of the movie, a special Q&A was hosted by DuVernay with director Michael Mann, and it was during this conversation that Mann revealed the special way that Tom Cruise got into the mind of the silver-haired killer Vincent.

Per film critic Russ Fischer, who was in attendance, Michael Mann apparently put out mock hits on people who work in his office, and assigned Tom Cruise to take them out. Cruise would then follow his targets for days and figure out their patterns before making his move — which meant slapping them on the back with a Post-It that said "You're Dead."

This is definitely an awesome story from behind-the-scenes of an awesome movie, but what evidently wasn't made clear from Michael Mann's story is exactly how well Tom Cruise performed when it came to these fake assassinations. As seen in many, many, many movies, the best in the field are those who can effortlessly blend into a crowd and not stick out, and that is not exactly something that one of the most famous actors in the world can really do.

Thinking about this, it's easy to imagine Tom Cruise sneaking around, or sitting at a cafe with a newspaper in front of his face, and then having his cover blown by a fan who wants an autograph or a photo. It's also probably hard not to notice a three-time Oscar nominated star constantly showing up in the same places as you.

All that being said, if Tom Cruise actually was an effective fake assassin that's all the more impressive.

Regardless, one can assume that the work was effective in giving the actor the perspective he needed for the part, as he delivers one of his best performances as Vincent in Collateral — one of the few times that he's played an antagonist in a film. He not only has a vicious energy that perfectly helps you understand why Jamie Foxx's taxi driver Max is so terrified of him, but he also takes care of his jobs very effectively and realistically (albeit with a few issues driving the plot along the way).

For more about Array 360 screenings in Los Angeles, you can head to the theater's website, and, of course, you'll always be able to find the best behind-the-scenes stories here on CinemaBlend.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

Eric Eisenberg is the Assistant Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. After graduating Boston University and earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he took a part-time job as a staff writer for CinemaBlend, and after six months was offered the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and take on a newly created West Coast Editor position. Over a decade later, he's continuing to advance his interests and expertise. In addition to conducting filmmaker interviews and contributing to the news and feature content of the site, Eric also oversees the Movie Reviews section, writes the the weekend box office report (published Sundays), and is the site's resident Stephen King expert. He has two King-related columns.