Renee Zellweger Talks About How Tom Cruise Had Her At ‘Hello’

Renee Zellweger

Renee Zellweger was quite nervous to try out for Jerry Maguire. 

This was the 1996 hit that would ultimately help turn the up-and-coming Texas-born actress into one of Hollywood’s most in-demand performers, she had a solid coping mechanism to deal with it.

Renee Zellweger Talks About Her Experience With Cruise

“I drove to my audition that day, and I was laughing to myself the whole time,” Renee Zellweger shared her experience landing the film released 25 years ago, on December 10, 1996, during a 2016 Role Recall interview. 

“That was just hilarious to me, you know? Because Tom Cruise was down at Sony waiting for me. I mean, that’s funny, you know?”

Renee Zellweger’s profile was on the rise then as she had landed roles in movies like Reality Bites, 8 Seconds, Love and a .45, and Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation, opposite fellow up-and-coming Matthew McConaughey.

Tom Cruise, by then, had been cemented as one of the world’s most bankable movie stars and was fresh from a string of acclaimed films, including A Few Good Men, The Firm, and Interview With the Vampire.

Zellweger fondly recalls her first meeting with Cruise where, to quote her loyal colleague-turned-love interest, Dorothy Boyd, he had her at “hello.”

Tom Cruise clearly liked Renee Zellweger back. 

Among the other actresses reportedly considered for the part were the more well-established Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Lopez, Uma Thurman, Marisa Tomei, and Winona Ryder. The part of the eponymous sports agent whose moral epiphany gets him forced out of a job was actually written by filmmaker Cameron Crowe with Tom Hanks in mind. But Crowe took so long writing the script, he’d ultimately deem Hanks too old for the part, so it instead went to Cruise, six years his junior.

Jerry Maguire was both a major commercial and critical hit, earning $153 million in the US and $273 worldwide. It earned five Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, with Cuba Gooding Jr. winning Best Supporting Actor for his live-wire performance as football player Rod Tidwell.