Tom Cruise gives ‘Genie’ writer Richard Curtis OK for joke.

Richard Curtis, the mastermind behind iconic rom-coms like Love Actually and Notting Hill, revealed that he had to get Tom Cruise’s permission for a joke in the new holiday fairytale comedy Genie. In an interview with People magazine, Curtis explained that Melissa McCarthy’s character, genie Flora, develops a major crush on Cruise after seeing him in a Mission: Impossible film. This leads her to cover her bedroom walls with posters of the actor and even receive a sweatshirt featuring Cruise’s face as a Christmas present from her friend Bernard, played by Paapa Essiedu.

Curtis mentioned that they had to ask Cruise for permission before filming the joke. He stated, “I mean, we asked him through his people. I’m lucky enough to know Tom a bit. He’s always been very sweet to me. And we worked on a film for a while, which didn’t happen.” The Oscar-nominated writer was thrilled when Cruise gave his go-ahead, stating, “I don’t know whether it’s a favor to me and Melissa or whether someone in the mail room said, ‘This sounds okay.’ But it means that after all these years, I’ve at last made a Tom Cruise movie.”

In addition to the joke, Curtis was also “so thrilled” to include a three-second clip of Mission: Impossible in the movie. Genie follows the story of Bernard, a workaholic man who enlists the help of magical genie Flora to win his family back before Christmas.

Curtis also mentioned that McCarthy came up with some of the jokes herself, saying, “When Melissa would think of a new funny joke, then she would do it, and that’d be great. But then, of course, you’ve got to do it four more times. You’ve got to make sure you got it right. You’ve got to make sure you get it at the right speed from the right angle. So it’s always a mixture between kind of mischief and very conscientious behavior on movies.” He emphasized the importance of emotional truth in his movies, stating, “In my movies, you want it to be emotionally true at the same time as being silly. So [Melissa] went between being impish and just being a really proper, serious actor.”

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