SINCE he rocketed to stardom with his memorable performance in Days of Thunder (co-starring Nicole Kidman, now his wife), 29-year-old Tom Cruise has never looked back. In his latest hit movie, A Few Good Men, now showing in Hongkong, he picked up GBP6 million (about HK$66.6 million). It centres on a knife-edge courtroom drama, the court martial of two US Marines charged with murder. A slick Harvard lawyer with a history of plea bargaining fights the legal battle of his life against prosecuting military attorney (Demi Moore) and the base commander (Jack Nicholson). Cruise has just put the finishing touches to one of Hollywood's biggest movie deals, which is likely to put him ahead of Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenneger. His new contract with Paramount will earn him GBP60 million, and clears the way for theheart-throb to make his debut as a director. In school, Cruise developed into an agggessive wrestler but hurt his back in a competition. ''That ended my wrestling career,'' he said. Seeking a new outlet for his talents, Cruise auditioned for the senior class play, Guys and Dolls, and won the lead. Before he met Kidman, Cruise was married to actress Mimi Rogers for three years. Rogers was almost 10 years older than Cruise. ''It didn't work because I was too immature,'' Cruise said. ''Also, I was obsessed with forging ahead with my career. I wasn't ready to take on the responsibility of being a husband.'' The smash-hit success of Top Gun turned Cruise into a superstar. He became a hot box-office attraction, following up with The Color of Money, Cocktail, Rain Man and Born on the Fourth of July. Cruise first met Kidman on the set of Days of Thunder. Says Kidman: ''Tom was charming and tender, very far from behaving like the big superstar he's entitled to be.'' The couple were married in 1990. They're not part of the Hollywood party set, and whenever they can, they shun the media spotlight. The couple's idea of a good night out is to put on casual clothes and take a stroll to their nearest local cinema. At one time, Tom had serious thoughts about becoming a priest, and is a recent convert to Scientology. He says it helped cure his dsylexia (word blindness). Directing a movie is Cruise's goal, but he will continue acting, with a role lined up in The Firm, from John Grisham's best-selling novel.