Rob Lowe: Tom Cruise went 'ballistic' over sharing a room during 'Outsiders' auditions

They’re both big stars now, but back in 1983, the actors were still newcomers to showbiz — but you wouldn’t have known it based on this story.
Rob Lowe recalled working with Tom Cruise as they auditioned for their roles in “The Outsiders,” and he said the not-yet-star went "ballistic" about sharing a hotel room back in the day.
Rob Lowe recalled working with Tom Cruise as they auditioned for their roles in “The Outsiders,” and he said the not-yet-star went "ballistic" about sharing a hotel room back in the day.Getty Images
/ Source: TODAY

"The Outsiders” was a breakout film for several young actors in 1983, reinforcing early success for rising star Matt Dillon and effectively putting names like Patrick Swayze, Emilio Estevez, Ralph Macchio and C. Thomas Howell on the Hollywood map.

And added to that list are Rob Lowe and Tom Cruise, who'd barely had a chance to shine on the big screen before being cast in Francis Ford Coppola’s coming-of-age classic.

But according to Lowe, Cruise didn’t let a little thing like lack of fame dim his star power — even when they were still trying out for their parts.

Emilio Estevez, Rob Lowe, C.Thomas Howell, Matt Dillon, Ralph Macchio, Patrick Swayze and Tom Cruise in "The Outsiders."Everett Collection

"All of the L.A. people survived the L.A. auditions, and then the hand-picked people had to go to New York to face the New York version," Lowe recalled during an interview for Dax Shepard’s “Armchair Expert” podcast. "So it was me and Tom Cruise and Emilio and C. Thomas Howell."

And their trip to New York not only led to Lowe locking down the role of Sodapop Curtis and Cruise landing the part of Steve Randle, it also offered them the opportunity to spend the night in a swanky hotel.

"(It was the) first time I ever stayed at The Plaza Hotel, and we check in and Tom finds out that we’re sharing a room and just goes ballistic," Lowe laughed.

But despite the seeming absurdity of the situation, his laugh wasn’t a derisive one.

"To me, what’s great about the story is, there’s certain people who have always been who they are, and that element of them has powered them to where they are today and the rest is history," the 56-year-old explained. “And the notion that an 18-year-old actor with a walk-on part in ‘Endless Love’ and, like, a seventh lead in ‘Taps’ could have that kind of like wherewithal."

So Cruise’s alleged display in the lobby of the five-star hotel actually left Lowe feeling awe, as well as a case of the giggles.

A lot has changed since their early acting days in 1983.Everett Collection

"I remember going, 'Wow, this guy is the real deal,'" he said. "I mean it made me laugh, it was gnarly. But in the end of it, you can't argue with the results. He’s had his eye on the ball since day one."

Six films in the “Mission Impossible” franchise (and a seventh on the way) and countless other blockbusters since then certainly confirm that.