In 2001 Cameron Diaz co-starred with Tom Cruise in the thriller, Vanilla Sky. They are together again in James Mangold’s new action-comedy Knight and Day. Cruise plays Roy Miller, a secret agent on the run, and Diaz portrays June Havens, an innocent woman who boards a plane in Wichita, Kansas, who unsuspectingly begins to chat to her charming seatmate – Roy. Suddenly the plane is hurtling into a cornfield, and both Roy and June are being pursued around the world.
Diaz enthusiastically talks about working with Tom Cruise again, their character’s unique relationship and doing her own stunts.
What attracted you to this project?
I was drawn to Knight and Day not only for its high-level action, but because I saw it as an impassioned love story between two people who find each other from opposite worlds. Roy and June have that thing where they each bring out something interesting and unexpected in the other, and I thought that would be so much fun to explore on this thrilling ride with Tom.
Can you talk about June’s relationship with Roy?
When Roy and June bump into each other in the airport, they have that moment where you recognize something you’ve been looking for all your life. At first, when June is flirting with Roy, she thinks she’s only dealing with the ordinary dangers of falling for a stranger, but it quickly becomes the life-and-death kind of danger, and she has no idea how much she can handle.
She goes from a woman who doesn’t have any idea what her capabilities are, who only ever dreamed of adventure, into someone who realizes that, yes, she can drive, she can shoot and she can stay right with Roy. What I love about June’s journey is that she has been holding back in her life and when she meets Roy, it becomes a now-or-never moment for her to seize the day. Roy unlocks that in her.
Meanwhile, Roy is this renegade adventurer who thinks he’s always seizing the day, but he has never seized the one thing he really wants and needs: love. They’re the perfect foils for each other – and they learn to trust each other even when trust is very hard to come by.
What was it like working with Tom again?
Working with Tom is wonderful because he makes everything I do that much better. He has so much presence – and so much energy. If you’re going to do an action movie, it doesn’t get better than to do it with Tom Cruise. I loved building off his ideas, and I loved the way he can go from crashing a plane to falling in love and it all feels so real and exciting.
When you do a film where you want the audience to be laughing, and you spend a lot of your time while making it laughing, then you know it’s going to be genuine. Tom and I had such a great time together that I think it can’t help but come across in the action, the comedy and how these two characters come together.
Do you enjoy doing your own stunts?
I love training for fight sequences. It’s a week of getting bruises and cuts and sprains, but it’s also a lot of fun. When I went to the Golden Globes in the middle of filming Knight and Day, I had lumps up and down my arms and scraped knees. I loved it!
Were you there during all the action sequences?
I was there for some of it. I didn’t see all the stuff that was being shot on the roof. It was really amazing because Salzburg is so small and we were standing up on the hillside all night long, while they were shooting all the guns scenes and the helicopter and everything.
You could hear the gunfire everywhere, and it sounded like all of Salzburg was under seize, there was gunfire and sirens and helicopters.
It was amazing. And then they’d go, ‘Cut,’ and everything went silent.