Connell Cruise is a talented singer, songwriter, musician and actor from Johannesburg. Connell was born into a family with a love for music and began playing the piano at the age of 4. After years of practice and dedication he continued to pursue the dream, nurturing his gift with training from Luz Divina Rodriguez and Lorna Heher, obtaining qualifications through London's Trinity School of Music.
Cruise signed an exclusive worldwide artist and publishing deal with The David Gresham Record Company in 2012 and released the Not Just Friends EP exclusively on digital platforms. His self-titled debut album was recorded over six months by award-winning producers, Theo Crous and Ziggy Adolph, who have worked with the likes of Prime Circle. The Connell Cruise album is led by the number 1 smash hit, Not Just Friends, accompanied by a black-and-white music video featuring Christina Storm.
Connell is busy promoting his debut album and recently opened 94.7's Joburg Day to a crowd of 30,000 people. At the end of the year, he'll be heading back into studio to record his second album. Blessed with film star looks, musical talent and taking South Africa by storm, we were lucky enough to get a Top Ten Movies interview with this exciting young man to find out, which movies mean the most to him.
"For me, movies are very personal. "
I can't watch movies without...
- ...I have to eat Smarties during the movie. My friends and family all know that when it comes to movies they'll order popcorn and Coke and all that stuff, I just need Smarties and a bottle of still water. Nothing like popping back a candy-coated chocolate every now and then.
Which famous people share your birthday?
- Ferdinand Magellan - the Portuguese explorer, Malcolm X, Pete Townshend - the lead guitarist from The Who, Joey Ramone from The Ramones, Danny Trejo - the Mexican actor from Machete and my favourite one, Peter Mayhew who played Chewbacca in Star Wars. (19 May)
What is the first film you remember watching?
- The movie I have the most vivid memory of watching first was Jurassic Park 2. My brother I went to watch it at the movie house and we loved it so much, we watched it every time we went to the movies. I have a vivid recollection of going at least four or five times to see Jurassic Park 2. The last time we watched it, we were the only people in the big old movie house. Every time we watched the last scene with the Velociraptor, we still got a fright!
What's the worst movie you've ever seen?
- This is a cool question, but I have to think long and hard about it. I'm not one of those people who doesn't enjoy movies... I never put myself in a position, where I'm not going to enjoy something. I try to make the most of it. I've never been in a movie where I walked out. If there's one movie that was really terrible in a it's-so-bad-that-it's-good way, I'd have to say the 1966 Adam West version of Batman, it was so camp. There's a shark on Batman's foot as they're flying over the sea. It's just so shocking and The Joker with his moustache painted over. All of it doesn't work... that was the best bad movie I've ever watched.
What movies have made you tearful?
- I'm really in touch with my emotions. I've been told lots of movies make me cry, but there's one movie that I bawled my eyes out. I was staying with my mom at the time and this movie came on M-NET called The Notebook and I started watching it. At the end, I was so overwhelmed. I turned off the TV and walked upstairs to my room.
I was sobbing. So my mom hears this and says "Conn what happened?". I just fell on the floor and was like "Mom it was just so beautiful". She runs up and she had to cradle me as I was bawling my eyes out trying to explain this beautiful love story. At the end she says "Connell, you've got to be a man". I try to keep my bawling to a minimum but with The Notebook... shew, I was finished!
Who is the most famous movie star you've ever met?
- The only famous movie star I've met... it's kind of a cheat, because he's my friend. His name's Tats Nkonzo, he's a comedian and he was in the movie, Blitz Patrollie. So I know him, but we go way back. I could tell you I've met Sean Connery, but I'd be lying.
What's your favourite movie line?
- I have two. I think the greatest movie line I've heard or seen delivered was Sean Connery in Dr. No. When he first appeared at the Baccarat card table and the camera's behind his back and he's asked what his name is and he replies *in a Connery accent* "Bond, James Bond.". It's just the way he does it. I grew up watching Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig, so I never watched any of the old Sean Connery movies. I just recently watched them in the last year or so, to see that, the way he did it. It's perfectly timed. Everyone else after that is just trying to match up to the way he did it.
In The Lord of the Rings, Gandalf says this beautiful monologue, it's just the way that Sir Ian McKellen delivers it, he's such a magnificent actor. I can say it, but I have to say it in Gandalf's voice so I hope I don't get any nerd points for this. "So do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us." That's my favourite movie line.
Who would you choose to play you in your biopic?
- At this moment in time, I'm such a Zac Efron fan. I have a bit of a man crush on him. So if he would be willing to play me, I'd be more than happy. He's going places...
If you could produce a movie, what would it be about?
- Funny you say this, I'm actually working on a bit of a screenplay. It's not much, it's in the beginning stages... and all about time travel. I like the concept of being in different times. You hear people say "I wish I was born in the '20s" or "I think I was born 15 years too late". I'm just exploring that theme a bit... it's fascinating. That's what we want to do, we want to go to other places and time travel's the most logical way it could work.
Finally, your top ten movies of all-time...
For me, movies are very personal. There's no movie I've listed I watch on my own. The movies I love the most are the movies I enjoy with other people. They have memories and sentiment... something that ties us together.
- The Lord of the Rings trilogy ...I do think it's one movie and when I watch it, I try and watch it altogether. It's got to be on top of my list, I love it and I'm such a fan of the books. I watched the extended edition as a back-to-back movie marathon when it came out, you've got to do it!
- Casablanca ...it's my favourite classic movie. I watch it almost once a month, not religiously, but I'd say on average once every two months.
- Star Wars: New Hope ...I'm a bit of a geek about this one.
- The Dark Knight ...it's just so amazing. I love superhero movies, I'm a big fan of comic books and I collect them. There's just something about the way Christopher Nolan made this movie, it was leaps and bounds above everyone else.
- The Pink Panther ...I'm a huge Steve Martin fan and sort of a tradition in my family to watch that with my cousins whenever we're together.
- Ocean's Eleven ...the concept behind this movie is just brilliant.
- The Pianist ...the movie set in World War 2 about the Jewish pianist and the story about restoration. Being a pianist myself, there's a beautiful piece of music in the movie that complemented it.
- Chocolat ...with Johnny Depp I love that movie. It's a beautiful love story with the whole French-Irish vibe.
- Goodbye Mr. Chips ...the black-and-white version. I like the story behind this old classic.
- Risky Business ...it's the movie I'm named after. My parents loved this movie and named me Connell Cruise after Tom Cruise in Risky Business. It's the scene where he dances in his shirt and socks. I should do one of my next music videos as a homage!
Top Ten Movies with... is a people series on SPL!NG, featuring a host of celebrities ranging from up-and-coming to established personalities from all industries including, but not limited to: Internet, Radio, TV, Film, Music, Art and Entrepreneurs. It's a chance to discover who they are, find out where they're at and to get a fun inside look at their taste in movies.