‘Jerry Maguire’ at 25: Renée Zellweger says Tom Cruise really had her at ‘hello’ when they first met

Tom Cruise and Renée Zellweger in 'Jerry Maguire' (The Everett Collection/TriStar)

If Renée Zellweger was nervous en route to her try out for Jerry Maguire, the 1996 hit that would ultimately help turn the up-and-coming Texas-born actress into one of Hollywood’s most in-demand performers, she had a solid coping mechanism to deal with it.

“I drove to my audition that day, and I was laughing to myself the whole time,” Zellweger said of her experience landing the film — released 25 years ago, on Dec. 10, 1996 — during a 2016 Role Recall interview (watch above). “That was just hilarious to me, you know? Because Tom Cruise was down at Sony waiting for me [laughs]. I mean, that’s funny, you know?”

At the time, Zellweger’s profile was steadily rising after roles in such films as Reality Bites8 Seconds, Love and a .45 and Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation, opposite fellow up-and-coming Texan Matthew McConaughey. Cruise, however, had already been cemented as one of the world’s most bankable movie stars, and was fresh from a string of acclaimed films, including A Few Good MenThe Firm and Interview With the Vampire.