What the Hell Happened to Rebecca De Mornay?
Rebecca De Mornay starred opposite Tom Cruise when they were both young actors on the rise. Cruise went on to star in Top Gun and became the biggest movie star in the world. De Mornay, on the other hand, struggled to capitalize on her early success.
What the hell happened?
In 1982, De Mornay was an extra in Francis Ford Coppola’s musical, One From the Heart.
One From the Heart starred Terri Garr and Raul Julia. Coppola had intended to make One From the Heart on the cheap after going over budget on Apocalypse Now. Instead, he insisted on building costly sets which caused the budget to balloon from $2 million to over $25 million.
Unfortunately, One From the Heart grossed just over half a million dollars. As a result, Coppola declared bankruptcy. He has said that the movies he made in the 80’s and 90’s were done to pay off the debts incurred by making One From the Heart.
In 1983, De Mornay starred opposite a young unknown, Tom Cruise in the sex comedy, Risky Business.
Cruise played an over-achieving high school student trying to get into Princeton. When his parents leave him home alone for the weekend, Cruise’s character engages in a little rebellion by raiding the liquor cabinet, cranking up the stereo and dancing around in his underwear.
But his best friend is unimpressed. He takes it upon himself to call a prostitute for Joel against his wishes. Soon, his carefully planned future is turned upside down by one night with a call girl played by De Mornay.
Up until this point, Cruise was just one of the up-and-coming Brat Pack actors. He hung out with the rest of the guys while making The Outsiders. But once he was cast in Risky Business, Cruise knew there were bigger and better things in his future.
I have often said that Cruise rarely has chemistry with his leading ladies. De Mornay in Risky Business was one of the exceptions. The co-stars also dated in real life.
Reviews were positive and Risky Business was a big hit at the box office. It made Cruise a star if not yet a household name. And it put De Mornay on the map. All she needed to do was find the right role to put her over the top.
Later that year, De Mornay appeared opposite Kevin Costner in the Cold War drama, Testament..
If you grew up in the 80’s you remember the being afraid of nuclear war. A month before Testament was released, the TV mini-series The Day After aired on ABC. Both the movie and the mini-series depicted the fall-out from a nuclear war.
The English counterpart to Testament and The Day After was a TV movie called Threads. As much as The Day After scared the hell out of me as a kid, Threads sounds so much scarier.
De Mornay’s role in Testament was a small one. She and Costner played a young couple who decide to leave town after losing their baby.
Testament was originally filmed as a an entry for the PBS TV series, American Playhouse. It received a small theatrical release before eventually airing on PBS. Reviews were mostly positive.
Posted on October 27, 2013, in Movies, What the Hell Happened?, WTHH Actress and tagged Rebecca DeMornay, Risky Business, The Hand That Rocks the Cradle, Tom Cruise. Bookmark the permalink. 92 Comments.