Sean Penn Looks Back on Friendship with Tom Cruise, Including Being 'Jogging Partners' Together

Sean Penn recalled being “jogging partners” with his ‘Taps’ costar Tom Cruise

<p>Getty(2)</p> Sean Penn; Tom Cruise


Sean Penn; Tom Cruise

Sean Penn and Tom Cruise’s friendship goes way back.

On the June 18 episode of the Fail Better with David Duchovny podcast, Penn, 63, remembered becoming close with Cruise, 61, while filming Taps, their first big project.

The 1981 military thriller starring Timothy Hutton and George C. Scott was “the first big movie” of Penn’s career, as he noted to podcast host David Duchovny, 63. The same was true for Cruise, who had made his feature film debut in Endless Love that same year.

Related: Tom Cruise Looks Back on Making His First Movie at 19: 'I Didn't Want This to Ever End'

“Tom and I come back to California after the movie's done,” narrated Penn. “We were spending a lot of time together.”

He added that “at that time,” the two eventual superstars were “jogging partners.”

<p>Randy Holmes/Disney/ABC</p> Sean Penn on 'Jimmy Kimmel Live!' June 13

Randy Holmes/Disney/ABC

Sean Penn on 'Jimmy Kimmel Live!' June 13

Penn said that film's director, Harold Becker “is as much as anyone responsible for my career, and I love him. But, boy, as a young actor, I must have driven him crazy.”

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Penn, who went on to steal the show in 1982's Fast Times at Ridgemont High and become a two-time Oscar winner for 2003's Mystic River and 2008's Milk, has brought up fond memories involving his longtime friendship with Cruise in several interviews.

Speaking to Jimmy Kimmel in 2015, Penn confirmed that he picked up the Top Gun star from the airport upon his first landing in Los Angeles.

“We had made a movie together, basically the first movie I ever did… we had just spent a bunch of time together in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania,” he said of Taps. To introduce Cruise to Hollywood, Penn proceeded to take him to check out Lucille Ball’s house.

<p>Barry King/WireImage</p> Tom Cruise

Barry King/WireImage

Tom Cruise

Related: Dakota Johnson Says Her Neighbor Sean Penn Once Left His Flip Flops at Her House for Three Months

In 2020, Penn told Howard Stern that the duo ran into John Belushi while "standing on an empty street, late at night.” In a convertible, the Saturday Night Live star “pulled up and asked for directions to the Chateau Mormont.” Penn recalled that he and Cruise answered, “‘You know where the Chateau Mormont is.’ [Belushi] laughed and he pulled away.”

Curtis Armstrong, Cruise’s costar in 1983’s Risky Business, detailed Penn and Cruise’s tight friendship in his 2017 memoir Revenge of the Nerd. He wrote that Cruise “admired [Penn] enormously. He admitted to me that he was intimidated by Sean’s talent and even then, in 1982, believed him to be the greatest actor of his generation.”

Penn stars opposite Dakota Johnson in the new film Daddio, in theaters June 28.

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