Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise, in A Distant Horizon
A poor young farm worker and the daughter of his rich and powerful tenant cross their destinies on a ship that sails from Ireland to the United States with the American dream between their eyebrows. It’s 1982 and as he works to gain access to a piece of land of his own, he – as attractive as he is stubborn – falls in love with her, a pretentious young woman with no survival skills.
Under the orders of Ron Howard, Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman decided to star in A Distant Horizon just after they got married and became one of the most watched couples in Hollywood.
The Making of A Distant Horizon
The result was a film that, due to the investment and the book, could have become a classic, but ended up being the honeymoon of an explosive marriage that aroused the ire of the Irish. The film was released on May 22, 1992. when the brand new marriage was number one in show business magazines. To bring this historical drama with hints of a western written by Howard and Bob Dolman to the big screen, the production company Imagine Entertainment teamed up with Universal Studio.
With a budget of $32 million, the film grossed over $137 million. In addition, the film was presented that same year at the Cannes Film Festival, one of the most prestigious events in the industry to which Cruise was only able to return last year thanks to Top Gun: Maverick (2022).
A Familiar Story
A distant horizon is the ninth film directed by Howard. However, it was not one more in his prolific career: the story of Joseph Donnelly (Cruise) and Shannon Christie (Kidman) bears the stamp of his family. “The movie really started probably when I was 6 years old, maybe 7, and I visited my great-grandmother in Kansas,” revealed the Oscar winner for A Beautiful Mind (2001) in an interview he offered in 2016.
The Oklahoma Land Race
One of the most impressive scenes in A Distant Horizon recreates that race, which in real life took place on April 22, 1889 when around 50,000 people set out to find a piece of land to settle in exchange for working and improving it. That was the first race of many, where hundreds of Americans and immigrants managed to get hold of a lot -in the state of Oklahoma- that had belonged to the original peoples and that now became for many the materialization of the American dream.
To achieve as faithful a recreation as possible of the historic Oklahoma bullfights, 800 extras, 400 horses and 200 wagons were needed. To find the number of extras, the production recruited the members of a recreation society called The Re-enactors.
A Honeymoon in Late 1800s Oklahoma
When Far Horizon was filmed, Tom Cruise was one of the most famous men on earth. The public fell at his feet not only for his roles on the big screen but also for his physical beauty: in 1990, People magazine chose him as the sexiest man on the planet, after his role in Days of Thunder (1990). .
His love life had also come to become the center of the scene and although no photos of his marriage – on December 24, 1990 – were revealed, Cruise’s couple with Nicole Kidman went on to occupy a prominent place in the magazines of the heart. The starting point of the love story between Cruise and Kidman was the filming of Days of Thunder (1990). Instead, A distant horizon meant for the couple the moment of greatest connection.
Filming began in May 1991, just five months after they were married. “Making this movie was an incredible adventure, I really enjoyed working with Tom and Nicole. It was kind of a honeymoon project for them at the time. That feeling permeated the film”, Ron Howard acknowledged after the premiere.
Wrath of the Irish
A distant horizon, a film that did not convince Irishman at a ceremony in Dublin, a certificate celebrating his Irish roots. The recognition came after a genealogical study revealed that Patrick Russell Cruise, a landowner who lived in a castle in County Westmeath, was the actor’s great-great-grandfather.
According to the newspapers of the time, the dubious Irish accent achieved by both Cruise and Kidman was not a problem of lack of resources, although the heartthrob was criticized much more harshly.
In a ranking where the seven worst Irish films of all time were chosen, The Irish Post placed A Distant Horizon at number 3. In addition to criticizing the script for poorly written and the performances for simplistic , the newspaper noted the fact that the characters presented “every boring Irish stereotype known to man”.
While A Distant Horizon may not have been the most well-received film by the Irish, it still managed to make a significant impact on Hollywood. The film brought together two of Hollywood’s biggest stars and told a classic story of love and determination. It may not have been perfect, but it will always hold a special place in the hearts of fans of Howard, Cruise, and Kidman.