As Jennifer Connelly gazed into Tom Cruise’s eyes and gently adjusted his shirt at the Top Gun: Maverick premiere in Cannes last week, those not up to date with celebrity gossip could easily have assumed they’re daying.
But the actress, 50, has been happily married to Marvel star Paul Bettany, also 50, since 2003, while her co-star is reportedly single, despite the amourous looks and very public display of affection.
Jennifer and Tom are the latest co-stars to indulge in ‘faux-flirting’, where celeb pals act all loved-up on the red carpet to get the cameras flashing and the fans talking about their undeniable chemistry.
Oscar Isaac set the red carpet of Venice’s International Film Festival on fire last September when he left a sultry kiss on the arm of his longtime pal Jessica Chastain while the pair were promoting their mini-series Scenes of a Marriage.
In 2019, it was Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper who set Hollywood ablaze with rumours of an affair after their very cosy piano duet from A Star is Born at the Oscars that even got under the skin of Cooper’s partner at the time, the Russian model Irina Shayk.
Others, like Viggo Mortensen and Lea Seydoux in Cannes, have opted for more innocent but equally telling embraces on the carpet to drive speculation.
And according to body language expert Judi James, celebs are turning to this trick because it speaks to their great working relationship, while sending fans into a frenzy – thus boosting ticket sales.
Jennifer Connelly and Tom Cruise shared an intimate moment at the premiere of Top Gun: Maverick at Cannes’ Film Festival last week. The actor gazed into his co-star’s eyes as she did his top button up
JENNIFER CONNELLY AND TOM CRUISE
Even with planes blazing over head and a crowd of celebrities wearing their red carpet best, all eyes were on Tom Cruise and Jennifer Connelly at the Top Gun: Maverick premiere in Cannes last Wednesday.
The actors, who play love interests in the aviation flick, shared a few intimate moments that lit up their photocall.
Connelly was seen adjusting Cruise’s shirt collar, while the actor gave her one of his best smiles, and Judi noted how the interaction was full of subtext.
‘Only two red carpet veterans like Tom Cruise and Jennifer Connelly could say so much with so little effort,’ the body language expert said.
Cannes-not stop the PDA! Other celebrities use ‘faux-flirting’
As the world’s cameras looked on, other pairings packed on the subtle PDA to get an even bigger slice of the limelight at the Cannes film festival this week.
Viggo Mortensen and Lea Seydoux, who both star in David Cronenberg’s Crimes of the Future, looked very cosy during their daytime photocall.
Lea Seydoux and Viggo Mortensen, who both star in David Cronenberg’s Crimes Of The Future, shared a knowing smile before he kissed her cheek at the photocall for the movie in Cannes yesterday
The Danish actor planted a tender kiss on the cheek of the French star after they shared a lingering look.
Meanwhile, Swedish director Ruben Ostlund and Charlbi Dean Kriek, who stars in his movie The Triangle of Sadness, emulated some Cruise and Connelly energy in their own pictures with the actress reaching to fix his collar.
Swedish director Ruben Ostlund and Charlbi Dean, who stars in his movie The Triangle of Sadness, emulated some Cruise and Connelly energy in Cannes
The South African actress gently played with the collar of her director, but has been dating her fiance Luke Volker since 2018.
Meanwhile, the director has been very private about his dating life since his 2007 divorce.
‘This simple “straightening the collar” grooming ritual has a veneer of innocence and friendship over a dramatic and romantic underlay,’ she added.
Judi went on to say that while the touch was not sensual, it ‘shrieked possessive territorial marking.’
‘No woman would watch another woman doing this to her man without snarling inwardly,’ she said.
And Judi went on to explain that the interaction spoke to the close friendship the stars shared.
‘Everyone knows Tom Cruise is a man who needs no tidying, straightening or adjusting.
‘He is always totally impeccable, making this an emotional, rather than a practical-looking gesture,’ she said.
‘The message from Jennider is “I do it because I can, not because I need to”, which is a silent boast about the length of their friendship,’ the expert added.
The expert added how Cruise’s reaction to Jessica’s gesture went against his ‘action-man’ image.
‘We also see Tom standing in cheery submission, smiling while watching Jennifer, which also allows for a subtle maternal/child signalling, too, making the way he is playing against type here even more adorable for the fans,’ Judi said.
OSCAR ISAAC AND JESSICA CHASTAIN
Oscar Isaac set the Venice International Film Festival ablaze last September when he kissed the arm of his co-star Jessica Chastain while promoting their movie Scenes of a Marriage
Last September, fans were sent into a frenzy when Oscar Isaac planted a sultry kiss on the upper arm of his Scenes of a Marriage co-star Jessica Chastain.
A video of the scene was immediately shared on social media, sending Twitter into deep speculation over whether the stars were dating.
In reality, Chastain has been married to fashion exec Gian Luca Passi de Preposulo since 2017 and Isaac tied the knot with Danish filmmaker Elvira Lind that same year.
Judi noted that while Isaac’s arm kiss was ‘rather daring,’ it remained ‘classy’ while looking more intimate than an actual kiss.
‘The upper arm (especially the part close to the armpit) is a hugely sensitive area. So sensitive in fact that this “kiss” could feel more intimate than a mouth one and Oscar really is making a meal of this ritual, holding her arm with one hand while either kissing or sniffing the flesh,’ Judi said.
‘It looks oddly romantic and rather sensual, making Jessica’s pose even funnier.
‘She rests her arm out onto his shoulder but turns her head away to laugh at the cameras. It’s an unusual pose but very compelling for the fans,’ she added.
‘The suggestion is that their film will contain passionate but creative scenes,’ Judi said.
Gemma Chan and her co-star Richard Madden looked very cosy at the red carpet of the Eternals movie at Rome’s 16th Film Fest in October last year
RICHARD MADDEN AND GEMMA CHAN
Some celebrities have also adopted similar poses that require minimal effort but reap maximal results.
For instance, Richard Madden and his Eternals co-star Gemma Chan caused a commotion on the red carpet of Rome’s 16th Film Fest last October with just one discreet pose.
A snap showed the Bodyguard actor whisper in the ear of the Crazy Rich Asians actress as she responded with a coy smile.
‘This pose is a favourite red-carpet fall-back when two stars want to stir up a little speculation but without getting too sexual or intimate,’ Judi said.
‘It’s the classic “whispering” pose where the guy gets to press his face into the woman’s ear and she responds with the kind of knowing smile that suggests she’s being flirted with.
‘It gives the press their “moment” because from certain angles it can look as though the man is kissing the woman’s cheek or ear.’
The expert added that this pose also signals ‘exclusivity,’ where the pair appear to be ‘lost in their own world and their own communication rather than standing in front of a bank of cameras.’
And Madden found the way to make people even more interested by placing his fingers over the cut out over Gemma’s waist, the only place where she was showing skin.
Judi said the move is a ‘vintage technique that still gets the job done in terms of getting the fans guessing and booking tickets.’
The world stopped when Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper entertained the 2019 Oscar with an amourous duet from A Star is Born
BRADLEY COOPER AND LADY GAGA
When it comes to all out displays of sizzling chemistry, very few pairings have come close to matching the level of intimacy displayed by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper at the 2019 Academy Awards.
The moment, which saw the singer and the actor engage in a steamy piano duet during the ceremony, was talked about for weeks, especially because Cooper was then in a relationship with Russian model Irina Shayk.
‘This was the body language that launched a thousand ticket sales as the couple serenaded each other to plug their film,’ Judi said.
‘Both went totally into role here, giving the impression that they were canoodling alone and sharing an intimate and very heated moment that ended with their heads pressed together,’ the expert added.
‘With more chemistry on display than in an entire science lab, the cameras were also busy picking up shots of Bradley’s then-girlfriend’s facial expressions as she watched this non-verbal declaration of what looked like love,’ she went on.
However, according to Judi, the move was thoroughly thought out, and it is unlikely Gaga, who had to sing and play the piano at the same time, would have lost herself in the moment so deeply.
‘Gaga didn’t miss one note on the night but it did fool a lot of their fans,’ the expert added.
Lifelong pals Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet are experts at delivering ‘will-they-won’t-they’ pictures at glitzy, like in this snap, taken at the 2016 Oscars
KATE WINSLET AND LEONARDO DICAPRIO
One couple has mastered the will-they-won’t-they look over the years, driving decade-long speculation that they might end up together.
Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet became instant BFFs when they met as budding actors on the set of James Cameron’s Titanic, and have entertained a strong bond since.
And after playing love interests over several collaboration, the pair have mastered the art of leaving people guessing.
‘It’s the torso-closeness that looks intimate here, as Leo places one hand around Kate’s waist,’ Judi said.
‘Their cheeks brush rather than press together and despite Leo’s reflective downward glance he looks like a man totally aware that the cameras are busy recording this moment for a global audience,’ Judi added.