A brief scene featuring Bill Clinton has been cut from the new Tom Cruise film ‘American Made,’ news that will likely come as a welcome relief for the former commander-in-chief.
The film tells the story of Barry Seal (played by Cruise), a CIA operative who was reportedly involved in a massive operation to smuggle cocaine and illegal weapons between Latin America and the United States .
The Hollywood Reporter reveals that the script for the film included a scene in which Seal came upon Clinton while the then-governor was receiving a lap dance at an Arkansas strip club, and enlisted him to help with his smuggling scheme.
That scene was ultimately cut however, with a source saying that the producer and financier did not want to make the film political.
Ticket to ride: The new Tom Cruise film ‘American Made’ tells the story of drug and arms smuggler Barry Seal, who flew narcotics into Arkansas from Latin America (Cruise above in a film still)
Deep in thought: At the time, Seal was working as a CIA operative, and Bill Clinton was in office as the governor of Arkansas
The title of the film was also changed along the way after the project was produced under the working title of ‘Mena,’ which is the city in Arkansas where Seal smuggled in his stolen goods and narcotics.
Clinton and his Oval-Office predecessor George W. Bush both appeared in the script as individuals who knew about the drug and gun ring.
In the case of Clinton, there was the lap dance and the suggestion that he turned a blind eye to the smuggling operation that was going on right underneath his nose.
Bush meanwhile was indicted for arming the Contras after training them in Mena, a bombastic claim that he has long denied and which led to the downfall of General Oliver North.
That is all gone from the cut released by the studio, but Bush does still make an appearance in the film, where he is portrayed by Connor Trinneer.
Cruise meanwhile is getting some of the best reviews he has had in years for the film, which is being met with a good deal of enthusiasm from most critics.
‘Tom Cruise, whose career was in the ascendant, with “Risky Business” (1983) and “Legend” (1985), in the frantic years covered by the second half of American Made. Because he has changed so little in the interim, and mounted so uncanny a resistance to the onslaught of time, we feel, with a jolt, that we are gazing up at a star as he both was and still is,’ wrote Anthony lane in the New Yorker.
‘Astronomers may flee the cinema in confusion.’
On teh floor: Those scenes were both cut after producers and the financier decided not to get political (Bush on left in early 80s, Clintons on right in early 90s)
Kenneth Turner of the Los Angeles Times wrote: ‘American Made is a smart, nervy film, a very modern entertainment made with energy, style and a fine sense of humor that keeps us amused until gradually, almost imperceptibly, the laughter starts to stick in our throats.’
The reviews were not all positive however, with some growing tired of the film’s leading man early on in the movie.
‘Cruise plays Barry as an aw-shucks raconteur, and the routine is amusing at first. But midway through American Made, even Cruise devotees might decide enough is enough,’ said Stephanie Zacharek of Time.
‘At one point, Barry gets thrown in a scary Latin American jail and loses a tooth along the way, his temporary jack-o’-lantern smile shining like a beacon of human vulnerability. Cruise lets us have a laugh over it, but that tooth gets fixed pretty fast. We’re allowed to laugh with him, not at him.’
She then added: ‘In the Cruise universe, our job is to admire.’