Tom Cruise on Busan: “I love it here”
Jan 14, 2013
Tom Cruise made history and delighted fans this week by making his first appearance in the southern port city of Busan, South Korea. He arrived in Seoul on Wednesday, January 8 to promote his new thriller Jack Reacher, marking his sixth visit to Korea. It was announced the day before that the American mega-star would be awarded with honorary citizenship of Busan. Busan is Korea’s second-largest city and host of the Busan International Film Festival, Asia’s largest film festival. Officials from the city stated that they wanted to award the citizenship to Cruise because he is the first Hollywood star to attend a film premier in Busan, and that his visit will help to promote the city and elevate the film festival’s status as one of the top international film festivals in Asia.
Cruise is the first Hollywood star to receive such an honor from Busan, and it is also the first time that the city held a red-carpet premier for a foreign film not appearing in the film festival. Cruise, 50, stars as the title character in Jack Reacher. He walked the red carpet on Thursday, January 10 at the Busan Cinema Center, along with lead actress Rosamund Pike and director Christopher McQuarrie. Pike, 34, and McQuarrie, 45, were also honored with Busan citizenship. The stars were greeted just after 7 p.m. by 2,500 fans and a frenzy of reporters lined up in sub-zero temperatures to catch a glimpse of Hollywood fame. Cruise casually signed autographs, chatted with fans, and posed for pictures for an hour before making his way inside to a roar of shouts and applause. Onstage, Cruise was directed to address the audience in Korean, “Chingu a-i-gga? Aren’t we already friends?” Fans were elated that he addressed them in the Busan dialect, eliciting laughter and applause.
Mayor Hur Nam-sik of Busan presented a citizenship plaque and a bouquet of flowers to Cruise before bestowing honors upon McQuarrie and Pike. The group was treated to a special Busan adaptation of K-pop singer Psy’s “Gangnam Style,” performed by costumed fans. Cruise, McQuarrie, and Pike then posed again for photos, signed autographs, and conducted interviews with the press for an hour more, with Cruise receiving a number of hand-made gifts from fans, including posters and dolls.
When asked how he felt about his first visit to the city and his reception, Cruise responded: “I love it here. I love it here. I’m looking forward to showing the film to everyone and going out and seeing some of the city tonight.”
Pike also expressed her excitement about her reception in Busan, saying:“It feels like coming home -- I can’t believe it. I’ve never had a reception like this!”
She continued: “It’s just amazing. It felt like a wedding when we arrived with all the confetti. It’s a real celebration. It’s lovely that you celebrate film.”
Although she was impressed with the city’s love of cinema, Pike expressed regret about being unable to attend the Busan International Film Festival: “I wish I was here -- I love Korean film, so I wish I was here to experience more of the festival”. McQuarrie agreed. “This is just fantastic,” he said.
Following the press conference, fans were able to attend the Jack Reacher premier. The film is set to open nationwide on January 17. Both Korean and foreign fans were pleased with the city’s welcome and with the stars’ positive reactions.
“It’s something I can never experience again,” said fan Yu Jin, aged 20. “It’s just so amazing.”
By Jessica Steele
Department Global Communication and Contents Division