Tom Cruise stays a star by being ''honest and passionate''.

The actor has had had a return to the top of the box office with profitable films such as 'Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol' and 'Jack Reacher' and his friend, director Cameron Crowe, says it's because he's not afraid to take a hard look in the mirror.

He told GQ magazine: ''Tom has never been afraid of the dark stuff. But the trick is to stay interesting. And Tom Cruise stays interesting by being honest and passionate. The guy on the big screen is a magnified projection of exactly who he is. And he is exactly where he wants to be and doesn't waste a second of your time.''

Another of the star's associates, Paramount Pictures vice president Peter Bart says the relative failure of some of Tom's other films, such as 'Lions for Lambs' and 'Valkyrie', has made him work even harder.

He said: ''I think having a few uncommercial movies made an impression on Tom. It was a reality check for him. And he's bent on survival. He's bent on remaining a star.''