Wilford Brimley turned 77-years old on Tuesday, which led to a lot of people around Moviefone HQ asking, "Wait, Wilford Brimley is only 77-years old?" He is. And what's actually quite interesting about Brimley's age is that Tom Cruise -- who will once again play super agent Ethan Hunt in December's 'Mission: Impossible -- Ghost Protocol' -- is the same age that Brimley was when the Quaker Oats pitchman filmed 'Cocoon.' Let me repeat for effect: Tom Cruise -- starring in 'Mission Impossible 4' -- is the same age that Wilford Brimley was in 'Cocoon.'
If you haven't seen it in a while, 'Cocoon' is the story of a group of elderly friends who -- thanks to some helpful alien intervention -- are rejuvenated with youth. The 1985 film starred 76-year-old Don Ameche, 73-year-old Hume Cronyn, 76-year-old Jack Gilford, 75-year-old Jessica Tandy and Brimley as the group of elderly friends. Oh, funny thing about that: Assuming the majority of 'Cocoon' was shot in 1984, Brimley was only 49 at the time!

I wonder what that conversation was like between Brimley and director Ron Howard:

"Hey, Wilford, I'd really like you to be in 'Cocoon.'"

"The movie about the elderly people? I'd love to, Ron. Were you thinking I'd be the guy with the boat who helps the elderly people?

"No, no. We've already hired Steve Guttenberg."

"Oh... do you want me to be the alien?"

"Nah. We have Brian Dennehy for that. What we really want is for you to play one of the elderly people."

"You do realize that I'm only four years older than Dennehy, right?"

So happy belated birthday, Wilford! Oh, and congratulations, Tom Cruise, for still playing an action star at the same age that Brimley had to be taken to another planet to ward-off old age.

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Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol
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