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Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise is a brilliant and passionate actor who has been proving his attributes continuously with successful movie performances. He didn't just reach the peak of hollywood stardom, bur he has stayed there for years, which has earned him worlwide respect and recognition. Thomas Cruise Mapother IV was born on the 3rd of July, 1962 (eerily similar to his film Born on the 4th of July), in Syracuse, New York. He was the only boy of four children. Since his father was an electrical engineer, he must have inherited his love for acting from his mother, who was a teacher. One of the reasons why he is such a well-grounded human being is because of his difficult upbringing. His family had to get by with little money after his parents divorced when he was only 12. In his search of fame, Cruise attended drama classes and auditioned for various TV commercials. His efforts were unsuccessful, but they led to his landing a small role in the 1980 movie Endless Love. His first major role in Taps originally consisted of one line, but the director was so taken with his performance that he decided to offer him the third biggest role in the movie. Cruise was afraid of the challenge associated with such a role, but later accepted it, prepared for such a challenge. He was very alluring and enthusiastic in his teen roles during the early 80's, but he quickly moved on to more adult roles and movie star status. By the early 90's, he moved up the ranks to become one of the most respected and well-paid superstars of his generation. Basically, any movie that featured Cruise was a box-office hit.

His acting career really began because he injured his knee in high school and was forced to quit the amateur wrestling team. He took on the role of Nathan Detroit in the high school production of Guys and Dolls. He was so infatuated with acting in high school that he dropped out during his senior year and went on to pursue his dream. He arrived in LA in 81 and met Paula Wagner, an agent at Creative Artists Agency. After his primitive roles in Endless Love and Taps, he landed the starring role in Losin' It.

He was cast in 1983 in The Outsiders, a Francis Ford Coppola production. He starred alongside a talented young cast that included hotshots such as Matt Dillon, Patrick Swayze, Rob Lowe, C. Thomas Howell, and Ralph Macchio. This role became a stepping stone for the rest of his career, especially for his role in Risky Business that same year. His popularity took a beating in movies like All the Right Moves in 1983, followed by Legend in 1985. Cruise's career began to solidify during his signature hit of the 1980s, Top Gun.

Another big success was Cruise's role in The Color of Money, alongside Paul Newman in 1986. This Martin Scorsese production moved his professional image from the boy-next-door to a more confident and cocky young man with an attitude. This was later portrayed in Cocktail (1988) and Days of Thunder (1990).

He proved his dramatic talents in the 1988 drama Rain Man, where he co-starred with Oscar-winner Dustin Hoffman. Oliver Stone's Born on the Fourth of July (1989) earned him a Best Actor Oscar nomination for his hard-hitting portrayal of anti-war activist Ron Kovic. Cruise fell short for his role in Far and Away (1992) with co-star Nicole Kidman, who he later married in 1990 after sharing the screen once again in Days of Thunder.

His commercial comeback began with movies like A Few Good Men (1992), where he successfully confronted the legendary Jack Nicholson. He played a lawyer once again in the thriller The Firm (1993). Both of these movies provided great box-office returns. Striving to take on even bigger roles (and paychecks), he starred in Interview With The Vampire (1994), alongside Brad Pitt; and Mission: Impossible (1996), based on a 1960's TV show, which had a huge budget of approximately $67 million, and was long-awaited by fans.

Now a producer and actor, Cruise's resume also includes Jerry Maguire, with the pouty-lipped Renee Zellweger, Eyes Wide Shut, Magnolia, and the Summer 2000 mega blockbuster, Mission: Impossible 2. Cruise and his wife of 10 years, Nicole Kidman, filed for divorce in February 2001. He has since been seen with Spanish beauty Penelope Cruz, his Vanilla Sky co-star. Keeping with the science-fiction theme of Vanilla Sky, Cruise's next starring role is Steven Spielberg's Minority Report. A third Mission Impossible is rumored to be in the works.


Tom Cruise: No more Mr. Nice Guy

After a lifetime playing wholesome, all-American heroes, Tom Cruise has finally discovered his dark side. He's also ditched his publicist, moved in with his sisters and is looking for the third Mrs Cruise. So is Hollywood's leading man having a middle-youth crisis?

'Want to meet my mom?' Tom Cruise asks as we walk through the halls of the Celebrity Center, ground zero for Scientology in Los Angeles.

Um, sure.

We round a corner and enter the president's office, where Mary Lee - Mum - has just ordered a salad. In town from Florida, she is leaning against a doorframe near Lee Anne DeVette, Cruise's sister and publicist, and Tommy, who manages Cruise's philanthropy work. Mum is thin and tanned, and she beams an even toothier smile than her son when she is introduced.

Considering that she is a practising Catholic, it is somewhat surprising to see her in the Celebrity Center. 'I just finished taking the Way to Happiness course,' she says. 'I learnt so much.' She pauses for a moment and reflects on the day's lesson: 'And I thought I was happy before.'

Cruise joined Scientology, the controversial church of religion and life philosophy started by L Ron Hubbard, after church courses helped him overcome his dyslexia in the Eighties; he was followed, one by one, by his three sisters. His mother held out alone. A year ago, however, after going through 'some things', she relented. But doesn't Scientology conflict with her Catholicism? Not at all, she says: 'I think Jesus wants me to be here right now. My church may not agree, but I personally know that.'

We sit down on the couch, and Lee Anne puts on a video. It is a tape of Tom Cruise speaking at her daughter's graduation from the Delphian School, which uses L Ron Hubbard's learning principles. It is a passionate speech, in which Cruise sings the praises of Hubbard's 'Study Tech' and rails against psychiatry and psychiatric medication. After graduating, Lee Anne's daughter will work in Cruise's office. They're a tight family.

On the surface, Cruise seems to be at a turning point in his life and career. Romantically, he is alone, having divorced Nicole Kidman after 10 years and broken up with Penélope Cruz after three. And he recently left his longtime - and notoriously overprotective - publicist, Pat Kingsley, preferring representation by his family. Meanwhile, in his movies, he is taking steps to shed his old persona of headstrong young hotshot with a good heart in favour of progressively more evil characters - from Lestat in Interview With the Vampire to Frank 'TJ' Mackey in Magnolia to Vincent in his latest film, Collateral. An older character with salt-and-pepper hair, Vincent is a cold-blooded killer and an irredeemable sociopath.

But the most surprising change is that the famously press-phobic Cruise seems more open about his commitment to Scientology, having provided funds for a detoxification clinic to help New York firefighters who became sick after 9/11. Since Scientology, in the popular imagination, is such a loaded word - often associated with heavy-handed recruitment tactics, strong-arm lawyer assaults and steep membership and course fees - one would think that Cruise wouldn't be so willing to take a journalist through that world.

'Who are those people that say those things?' Cruise asks when I bring it up over lunch one day. 'Because I promise you, it isn't everybody. But I look at those people and I say, "Bring it. I'm a Scientologist, man. What do you want to know?" I don't mind answering questions.'

He lists some of Scientology's selling points: its drug abuse, prison-rehabilitation and education programmes. 'Some people, well, if they don't like Scientology, well, then, fuck you.' He rises from the table. 'Really.' He points an angry finger at the imaginary enemy. 'Fuck you.' His face reddens.

It is a beautiful exhibition, and I don't believe that he's acting. Before meeting Cruise, I had been warned roundly by my colleagues. They told of restrictions set in interviews, documents that I would have to sign, unprintably generic answers I would receive. They said that he smiles and listens and talks and looks you in the eye, but afterwards, when you walk away, you realise that you've really been given nothing but a command performance. Frankly, none of that turned out to be true.

My afternoon in the Scientology Celebrity Center, a church (with a restaurant, a hotel, a spa and classrooms) that caters to Scientology's Hollywood dignitaries, was the cap to a fascinating and unusual week in the world of Cruise that began in the blistering heat of the Mojave Desert.

'I'm training to jump a trailer,' Cruise says when I arrive at a Willow Springs International Raceway wheelie school in Rosamond, California. He is in black bike leathers, with a matching black helmet tucked under his left arm and two days of stubble on his chin. He points out a trailer sitting just off the track. 'It'll be bigger than that one,' he continues. 'But it's not that hard.' He narrows his eyes and squints at the trailer for a moment, visualising the feat. 'Well, the jumping's not that hard,' he says. 'It's the landing that's difficult.'

Cruise has spent the day training to be an action hero. The trailer jump is part of his warm-up for Mission: Impossible 3. Earlier in the day, he took his Cessna plane out to practise loops, prepping for his role as a Second World War fighter pilot in his next collaboration with Collateral director Michael Mann, The Few. I have been summoned to the desert to learn to do wheelies with Cruise. There is only one flaw in the plan: I've never ridden a motorcycle in my life. But I'm willing to learn.

'That's great,' Cruise says. He reaches his right hand out to shake mine as a gesture of approval. He has a habit of making great bonding alpha-male gestures of body contact. When you've said something that earns his agreement or respect, you get a firm handshake. Respect mixed with encouragement earns you a spine-collapsing clap on both shoulders. And if he feels a little healthy surprise, you get the flying elbow to the chest. He is the ultimate high-school jock, but not the mean, arrogant one. He's the one who's so guileless and friendly that even the nerds don't resent him.

Cruise shows me the powerful Triumph bike I will be riding - the brake, the clutch, the gearshift and the wheelie bar added to the back of the bike. If a line could be drawn between comfortable personal space and invasive personal space, Cruise would always be just a centimetre over the line. His behaviour is not meant to be rude, only sincere and attentive. 'Look at this,' he says, rapping on the wheelie bar, which trails behind the bike and stabilises it when the front wheel lifts off the ground. 'It's gauged to make sure you don't go too high.'

Cruise is a dedicated student of the action hero disciplines: he wants to gain competence, he says, at rock-climbing and flying; he is loath to use a stunt double, preferring instead to spend months training in swordplay, Nascar racing and bike riding for films. As he talks about his adventuring skills, one gets the feeling that in the event of an apocalypse, an action hero would have a more likely chance of survival than most ordinary folk.

Cruise considers the idea. In fact, there's nothing that you can say that he won't seriously consider. He pays attention, almost to a fault. 'I can live out in the woods,' he begins. 'I would eat bugs.

I can use a sword and a pistol and stuff.' He is, ultimately, a survivor. 'There's a confidence that comes from knowing you can work, no matter what,' he says. 'I can deliver papers. I can take care of myself.'

Cruise's dogged work ethic is one reason directors love him. And he rarely limits his involvement in a film to just acting - he has helped produce, write, even scout locations. Even rarer for an actor, he is a team player. In movie after movie, he has played the straight man in order to enable great performances by his co-stars, whether it be Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man, Cuba Gooding Jr in Jerry Maguire, Paul Newman in The Color of Money or Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men.

When we return to the riding lesson, there are two words that seem to recur over and over in Cruise's vocabulary: competence - his goal in learning anything new - and gradient, which is a step in the process of learning. Days later, when he supplies me with material written by L Ron Hubbard, I will learn that they are concepts that come from his pamphlet The Way to Happiness (Step 17: Be Competent) and his Study Tech manuals (Barrier 2 to Study: Too Steep a Gradient).

We drink some water and pop a couple of salt tablets to prevent dehydration, then get on our bikes. While Cruise races around the track on his back wheel, I inch along at 10mph on his 955cc Triumph. Afterwards, we adjourn to his trailer for lunch. Nearly every available inch of wall space is filled with photos and montages of Cruise and his fams. Even the dashboard is covered with framed photos of the younger generation of Cruises. Cruise currently lives in Los Angeles with his sister Cass, her three children and, when they are with him, the two children he adopted with Nicole Kidman, Isabella, 12, and Connor, 9. He pauses, then reflects, 'I would live with all of my sisters if I could. We've always been very close, my sisters and me.'

Cruise removes his bike gloves, pulls off his motorcycle helmet and runs a hand through the perfectly shaved black stubble on his head. 'That's my daughter,' he says, pointing to a girl in his arms on the wall of images. 'Look at that. So cute. And that's my son doing his first oral presentation, on Ulysses S Grant. And that's us in New Zealand.'

I ask him how often he sees his kids. 'A lot,' he replies, unzipping his bodysuit to reveal his trademark immaculately white T-shirt. 'Nic and I don't talk publicly about custody but, definitely, both of us share the kids back and forth. They're amazing kids.' He pauses and his eyes narrow, as they usually do when he's speaking about a serious topic. His left eye tends to close a little more than the right one, giving the appearance of deep focus. He nods his head and repeats the thought with more emphasis. 'They're amazing kids.'

There are few questions that Cruise won't answer, but there are many that he won't give a direct answer to. The general rule is that the more difficult the question, the longer the silence before he answers. These periods of silent contemplation tend to mean that the answer will be a deflection to another topic. And the last line will be a firm and resolute statement, so that it seems as if a meaningful answer has been given. For example, I ask: 'Since your parents' divorce affected you to some degree, were you worried that your break-up would affect your kids?'

One second, two seconds, three seconds. 'When it comes to divorce, it's ...' Four seconds, five seconds, six seconds, seven seconds, eight seconds, nine seconds. 'The important thing with a child is that you love them, you protect them and you help them to grow and find out who they are. And as a parent, it's my responsibility to help them to become independent and get all the knowledge and a broad view of the world and life. I know that Nic absolutely agrees with that. And that's what's important: being there.'

At a table near the back of the trailer, a small feast of salad and finger sandwiches has been laid out. Everything always seems to be running with maximum precision in the world of Cruise; he seems to have life worked out for himself pretty well. There are essentially just three things he divides his time between: his work, his family and his Scientology-related activism. 'Yeah, that's exactly it,' Cruise says, slamming both hands on the table. 'I've got my family, I've got my work and I have my humanitarian things that I'm doing. If I have any more time, then I get to go fly my airplanes.' That doesn't leave much time for finding the third Mrs Cruise, after Mimi Rogers and Kidman.

I ask whether he wants to father children of his own. He answers that, although he's single now, it's not out of the question. 'I might meet a woman, and we'll sit down and talk about it and see, you know.' He stops and corrects himself. 'I mean, I am going to meet a woman. I do plan on getting married again. I really enjoy relationships. And I just really want to find a woman who just shares that.'

On a ledge above the table is a framed picture of his children. He lifts it up and puts it next to the plate in front of him as we discuss his criteria for the perfect mate. Suddenly, Cruise snaps his fingers loudly. An epiphany has been reached. 'I'd like to be with a woman who goes [he switches into a woman's voice], "I've reviewed your schedule, and I'm going to set up this motorcycle trip for you, because you've been working really hard. And I'm going to go with you. We're going to go riding together. And I've already been working on it for a couple days so it can be special."'

And now, here it comes: the famous Tom Cruise laugh. It comes on just fine, a regular laugh by any standards. You will be laughing too. But then, when the humour subsides, you will stop laughing. At this point, however, Cruise's laugh will just be reaching a crescendo, and he will be making eye contact with you. Ha ha HA HA heh heh. And you will try to laugh again, to join him, because you know you're supposed to. But it doesn't come out right, because it's not natural. He will squeeze out a couple of words sometimes between chuckles - in this case, 'Wouldn't that be awesome?' - and then, as suddenly as he started, he will stop, and you will be relieved.

'That woman,' he concludes, 'I would worship.'

And then Cruise does something funny: he tilts the picture of his children closer to him. And it makes me wonder. Everything about him - socially, physically, emotionally and professionally - has the appearance of being so perfectly in order that it begs a question: is he obsessive-compulsive?

'No. Things don't bother me if they are out of place. But I want to be prepared in an airplane. Because if I take someone up in an airplane, what's the worst-case scenario? Death.'

Well, that's obvious.

'I'm very responsible. I'm one of those people that if I say I am going to do it, I don't need a contract. I will do everything I can to get it done.'

Maybe he's obsessive but not compulsive.

'No, I just show up on time. If I'm not there, people are concerned because something went wrong. Something major went wrong.'

And with that comes one of those a-little-too-long Tom Cruise laughs. And then it suddenly shuts off. He stands up and looks at the clock on the microwave. The time is 2.04pm. Soon after, he smashes his fist into the microwave. 'I have a production meeting at 3pm,' he says. And, as we already know, Tom Cruise is never late.

He hit the clock. The guy actually punched a clock. Now, it may have just been a solid gesture of resolution from a man who does everything with a strong physical presence and intensity. Or it may have been evidence of a darker, more temperamental side rearing its head.

When I meet Cruise at the Celebrity Center for lunch a few days later, I ask him if he ever loses his cool.

'Yeah, I lose my cool. But I'm not a hothead. I'm not someone who screams at people. It takes a lot. It depends on the situation, know what I mean? You look at something and you think, "How much is it going to take to get it done?"

Because nothing keeps me from doing something. If I decide I'm going to do something - ha ha HA HA hee hee, you gotta know, Neil, heh heh, you got to know, ha ha - it's gonna get done.'

So you've never hit a wall?

'Oh, man, I hit a lot of walls. I hit a lot of walls. But there are moments where you just say, "OK, I'm going to climb over the wall."'

I meant that literally. You're upset, you lash out in anger. It happens.

'Gosh. It's been a long time since I've hit a wall. Probably not since I was a teenager. When things start to get chaotic, I get calmer. If I get upset or freak out, it's not going to help a situation.'

But I noticed the way you hit the clock yesterday. And in Rain Man and Jerry Maguire there are scenes where you lose your temper so well that you must have some experience of the emotion.

'I can get intense. Sometimes it depends on the situation and what it calls for. It's not that it's necessarily easy. But I don't want easy. The second you stop learning stuff, man, you're dead.

'I remember starting out when I was 17 or 18 years old and wanting to be an actor. And I said, "You know, I want to learn about this." I look at you. You have an adventurous spirit. That's cool. Because you aren't going to be that guy who is 70 years old and won't venture out.'

A plate of steak arrives, and Cruise digs in. He is clean-shaven and ruddy-cheeked today, wearing a dark green crew neck T-shirt that fits his body like a glove. He certainly doesn't look 'almost 42', as he puts it. And though he may never admit to having a dark side, all one has to do is watch his movies. In nearly all of Cruise's films in the Eighties and Nineties, he has an older mentor in his corner, teaching him lessons in life - whether it be Newman in The Color of Money, Robert Duvall in Days of Thunder, or Hoffman in Rain Man. It is a role that makes sense for an actor who didn't even speak to his father for years after his parents divorced when he was 12.

Now that Cruise has aged and is playing the older, wiser mentor - to Brad Pitt in Interview With the Vampire and, in a twisted way, to Jamie Foxx in Collateral - the father figure is no longer a nice guy. He is a killer from whom his charges try desperately to escape.

As Cruise puts it, he chose his character in Collateral because he was 'interested in playing an antisocial personality in a way that is inviting but unrelenting. I'm looking for a comedy after this.' Cruise laughs, but he is serious. 'I'm working with Steven [Spielberg] on a few pictures, and we are working on a comedy also.'

Over the past few days, I have been taken around three Scientology-related buildings in Los Angeles and introduced to many of the higher-ups. At the Celebrity Center, the tour included the sauna - where adepts go to sweat impurities out of their bodies - and the classrooms, where auditors are trained to use the church's famous E-meter, a device that measures skin conductance. But I still have a burning question. How much has Scientology helped his career?

'It's helped tremendously. I would not have had the success that I've had without it. There are things that I can apply to my life that have helped me grow as an artist, in ways that I wanted to and in ways that were beyond my wildest dreams.' Are there people you've met in the church - lawyers or contacts or other resources - who have had a direct impact on your career?

'No, it was the tools that I had that they used. No other way. That doesn't make sense to me. I really don't know. If you really want to know, get What Is Scientology?, the book, and look at it, because that's what Scientology is. It's a very large body of knowledge with tools that are available. It's, ah ... it really is the shit, man.'

Cruise leans forward in his chair, resting his elbows in his lap. He is low in his seat, and his head is parallel with the surface of the table. As he speaks, he expresses himself through gestures as subtle as changing the aperture of his eyes. The guy was born to sell things: movies, himself, Scientology, you. Every time I make a comment with even a hint of self-deprecation, he jumps on it and throws it back in my face. 'Who said that?' he'll ask. 'I don't see that at all.'

Not unlike Arnold Schwarzenegger, one realises that if Cruise wasn't an actor, he could be, well, just about anything he wanted to be.

At Able, an umbrella organisation for many of Scientology's social programmes, I was shown another videotape of Cruise speaking, at the opening of a new educational facility, Applied Scholastics International, in Spanish Lake, Missouri. Watching his passionate, charismatic and very in-the-moment public speaking style, it's clear that if Arnold Schwarzenegger can be elected governor of California, then Cruise could definitely win head of state. In fact, ask him about politics and you'll see just how political he can be. I mention to him that I remember reading that, early on, he had supported the war in Iraq.

'You know what, that was out of context. I'm interested in helping people. I'm not interested in war in general. I love my country, and I'm glad I live in America, but also, I don't want war. It's not in my nature. It's just not who I am, to see people dying.'

Does he have feelings about the next election?

'I don't know what ... No, I kind of don't.'


'There is no simple answer. At this point, my focus is on doing what I can do. People talk about it - I do. I just do. I do what I'm going to do to help contribute in the way that I can contribute.'

But even thinking about it objectively, it's hard for any intelligent person to not see how on so many levels America has declined in the past four years.

'It's the same thing as when you bring up that I supported the war. It was really taken out of context. So when we get on this subject, the spinmeisters get on it and spin it either way. I'm not a politician. I'm an artist, and that is my focus.'

But let's just say that MoveOn called you and said that if you acted in an anti-Bush commercial directed by Steven Spielberg, it could have a major effect on the election. Wouldn't you want to do that to effect change on a worldwide level?

'I find that there are times when change can be cosmetic. There are a lot of wars in our own country that we need to handle. I'm not saying that it's not important, but I'm looking at the amount of things I have on my plate. And you have to pick, as a man, what are you going to do? Am I going to get sucked into politics? Because it doesn't end there. That's why I have to pick things that I totally understand for myself to put my energies into.'

One reason why journalists often have trouble with Cruise is because an interview for him isn't psychotherapy. This isn't just because Scientologists are strong opponents of psychiatry, but because of one of his most admirable qualities: he is strong-willed, centred and resolute. Any turmoil that must be resolved, any issue that must be handled is solved first and foremost in a dialogue between Tom Cruise and himself.

'I don't really keep counsel with others,' he says. 'I'm the kind of person who will think about something, and if I know it's right I'm not going to ask anybody. I don't go, "Boy, what do you think about this?" I've made every decision for myself - in my career, in my life.'

This is one trait of his for which Scientology gets only half the credit. The other half goes to his upbringing - attending 15 schools while moving around as a child, being the only man in the family after the divorce, and having an exceptionally tolerant mum who allowed him to learn things for himself. 'I was the kind of kid who climbed the tallest tree when the wind was blowing,' he remembers, 'and I remember my body going back and forth, looking way down at my mother. And she'd go, "Oh, hi, you having fun?"'

When we meet his mother, I ask her about this. 'I bit my tongue a lot,' she said of his childhood.

The conversation turns to one of the places in which Cruise grew up - Louisville, Kentucky. His mother has two sisters, one of whom had six children. Their family there extends far and wide enough that when one of her children would start dating someone, she'd have to make sure the suitor wasn't a third cousin twice removed.

His mother's salad arrives, and she sits down to eat. But for Tom, it is clock-punching time again. He must go. When he leans in to bat me on the shoulder, I'm prepared to not be knocked off balance. And I'm prepared for the vigorous double-hand clasp goodbye. But what I'm not ready for is his action-packed goodbye. Just as he reaches the door, he turns around, leaps into a crouch, puts his hands in a karate position and widens his eyes. It is his way of saying, 'Catch you around.' Some say all these mannerisms are an act. But who really cares if they may have been a facade at one time in history? Now they're who he is.

Film icon rankings raise eyebrows

A magazine's list of the "50 Greatest Movie Stars" is getting more jeers than cheers from film lovers flabbergasted that Tom Cruise outranks John Wayne and Marlon Brando.

Premiere magazine's editors spent two years painstakingly crafting the royal roster that puts Cruise at No. 3, behind only Marilyn Monroe and list-topper Cary Grant.

Another head-scratcher was Julia Roberts, who cracked the top 10 at No. 7, while four-time Oscar winner Katharine Hepburn came in No. 14.

"Julia Roberts shouldn't even make the list yet," said Mark Groblewski, 51, a construction director from Centerport, L.I. "You have to put in a lot of work to get there."

Jessica Faurie, 25, of Manhattan said Cruise doesn't rank on her personal list of top-shelf film stars.

"There are many actors who are better than him," said the medical secretary.

But Premiere senior editor Glenn Kenny said Cruise earned his spot on the list, one notch above John Wayne, because he's "the biggest contemporary movie star in the last 20 years." Cruise is so big with the magazine's editors that they put his picture on the cover of the April issue.

Roberts, who won an Academy Award in 2000 for her portrayal of crusading environmentalist Erin Brockovich, earned her high spot on the list for being Hollywood's highest-paid go-to actress.

"Another reason why she's so appealing is because she often identifies - onscreen, anyway - with the working class," reports Premiere.

Part of the reasoning for picking actors like Roberts, Cruise, Will Smith (No. 44), Nicole Kidman (48), Russell Crowe (49) and Brad Pitt (50) was their "staying power."

"We weren't going to do this list based on a whole nostalgic trip," said Kenny. "To just do a list where you're going to ignore contemporary movie stars makes no sense."

Twenty-six of the 50 greatest are dead, including Ingrid Bergman (5), Greta Garbo (8), James Stewart (9) and Henry Fonda (10).

Besides Cruise and Roberts, Paul Newman (6) is the only other living actor to make the top 10.

New York favorites Al Pacino and Robert De Niro finished 37th and 38th, while Mount Vernon-born Denzel Washington was 39th.

"I think that if you get too hung up on rankings, you're going to miss the enjoyment of the list," said Kenny.

Beverly Dawkins, 56, a receptionist from Rego Park, Queens, thought the list was spot-on.

"I love movies, especially old movies," Dawkins said. "I think it's an excellent list. You have all my favorites - but not in the right order."

Premiere's list of '50 Greatest Movie Stars' - does it match yours?

1. Cary Grant

2. Marilyn Monroe

3. Tom Cruise

4. John Wayne

5. Ingrid Bergman

6. Paul Newman

7. Julia Roberts

8. Greta Garbo

9. James Stewart

10. Henry Fonda

11. James Cagney

12. Grace Kelly

13. Humphrey Bogart

14. Katharine Hepburn

15. Marlon Brando

16. Jack Nicholson

17. Robert Redford

18. Audrey Hepburn

19. Spencer Tracy

20. Sidney Poitier

21. Clark Gable

22. Judy Garland

23. Fred Astaire

24. Doris Day

25. Bette Davis

26. Errol Flynn

27. Gregory Peck

28. Tom Hanks

29. Warren Beatty

30. James Dean

31. Steve McQueen

32. Jane Fonda

33. Shirley Temple

34. Rita Hayworth

35. Harrison Ford

36. Sean Connery

37. Al Pacino

38. Robert De Niro

39. Denzel Washington

40. Elizabeth Taylor

41. Peter Sellers

42. Gary Cooper

43. Clint Eastwood

44. Will Smith

45. Jack Lemmon

46. Meryl Streep

47. Johnny Depp

48. Nicole Kidman

49. Russell Crowe

50. Brad Pitt

Tom Cruise voted the Top Living Icon

Hollywood heartthrob Tom Cruise has been voted the top living film icon in a survey conducted by Premiere magazine.

The 'Mission Impossible' star, who has also been named the Most Attractive Star in the survey, stands third on the All-Time list behind Cary Grant and Marilyn Monroe, but tops the list among still living stars.

According to femalefirst, other stars to figure in the list include Julia Roberts, Jack Nicholson, Robert Redford, Elizabeth Taylor, Denzel Washington, Robert De Niro, Tom Hanks and Al Pacino.


Clicking Vergara to get to Cruise

Photographers have been mobbing the sets of Latin model Sophie Vergara's new Canadian movie, so much so director John Singleton has had to step up security to paparazzi at bay.

The cameramen allegedly want to get a shot of Vergara with her supposed new love Tom Cruise, after rumours surfaced of them having been dating for the past few months, reported the Internet Media Database.

But even if the rumours are true, the two have remained elusive and have avoided the paparazzi very successfully.

So photographers from around the world have flocked to Toronto, where Vergara is starring alongside Tyrese Gibson in director John Singleton's "Four Brothers" - hoping to catch Cruise visiting his new 'girlfriend'.

"Seven different paparazzi had to be thrown off the set," a source was quoted as saying.

Tom Cruise wants Scarlett Johansson for 'Indiana Jones':

Scarlett Johansson has reportedly been lined up to star in the next 'Indiana Jones' movie, after Hollywood superstar Tom Cruise convinced director Steven Spielberg that the actress was the right choice as Harrison Ford's assistant.

"Steven was discussing how there are not many young actresses who can carry off such a strong role. He considered Natalie Portman but she's too associated with 'Star Wars'. So Tom suggested Scarlett who he has been working with on 'Mission Impossible 3'. She is said to be really interested, but nothing has been decided yet," femalefirst quoted a source as saying.

Johansson, however, had recently revealed that she is considering giving up her acting career to become a charity worker. She said that she gets bored when filming movies, and therefore, might go to Bangladesh with Oxfam and then explore into India.

Tom Cruise Press Conference: The Last Samurai

Here’s the problem with press conferences. Instead of having intimate time with the star, you’re sharing with everybody. This isn’t terrible, but it means you’re only going to get one question, and if that question needs a follow-up, you won’t be able to get it. Then, depending on other journalists’ agendas, you may have to suffer through some useless, inane inquiries that you can’t do anything about. But, how else are you going to get to talk to Tom Cruise? He’s not going to have me over for tea, so press conference it is.

Cruise stars in The Last Samurai as disgruntled Captain Algren in Civil War era America. He’s recruited to train Japanese troops, but he’s captured by enemy Samurai, who take him into their way of life.
Realizing that’s a better way than he’s ever known in the west, he joins their cause to preserve the old traditions.

In person, Cruise was as charming as could be in front of over 100 people. He couldn’t make personal contact with anyone, but he did smile and thank everyone for coming out to support the film. Here are some excerpts from the hour long session.

What impressed you about Japan besides the Samurai issue? As a kid when I was growing up, I remember vividly being at a drive-in. I guess I was about six or seven years old, I was on the roof of my family station wagon, and across the screen was the Sahara Desert. I always wanted to see other places and learn about how other people lived. Because I was traveling every day, even within America, there's different cultures. And when I go to Japan, it's so enigmatic to me. It's different. The culture is different. I don't think anyone who has been to Japan or seen pictures of Japan — when I was a child, we didn't have the internet, we didn't have television. I've just been absolutely fascinated and in awe of the culture. I find it aesthetic and the people fascinating. I wanted to know more, more about their history, how they lived, how they got to where they are today. And when you study the sword, that is the greatest sword ever made in the history of this world, and the art of it — it is both a powerful weapon yet it’s aesthetically superb. The balance, the engineering — they didn't have thermodynamics then, so when they were forging it, they would hold the heat up to the rising sun or the setting sun for temperature. And they knew at that point it was ready to pound and they'd fold it over and over. It's an amazing culture, but I've always been fascinated by that. One of the great things about being an actor is that I get to travel to these places. I get to learn about the people and that is the most enjoyable thing for me. To learn about the history of people and how people live and their daily lives. Also, you find a common ground. Even though the language is different and the culture is different, you find that common ground of joy, happiness, pain. And it really gives you a sense of hope. We're all in this thing together here, you know. So we’ve got to help each other out and I really enjoy that.

How much preparation time did you put into this? I put a lot of time into everything I do. Rain Man and Born On The Fourth were years prepping. This film is different in that it took me almost a year to physically be able to make this picture. I take great pride in what I do. And I can't do something halfway, 3/4, 9/10. If I'm going to do something, I go all the way and I didn't know if I could do it, honestly. If I could find that kind of physical elegance and movement that the Samurai have, it was a year preparing not only physically but it was developing the character. I kept copious amounts of notes so I could remember, you know, for the training sequences, where Algren starts and where we end up. And I haven't really found or made an epic film. And I knew what Ed [Zwick] was going for with this picture, and it was very ambitious on many levels, because here we want to deliver- we both love adventure films, and yet you're looking at this time period and his particular dedication to that history. Yet in the spirit of adventure and epic films, we're imbuing it with this wonderful story. It took that amount of time to prepare. I don't make a film unless I feel that I have that kind of time. Even Jerry Maguire, before I started — every film I do there's a lot of preparation. And this one in particular because I had to study the American Indian War. I’m an American. I thought I knew about the American-Indian wars and that time period in our history, but I was blown away by how little I knew. Also the Japanese history during that time period and a little earlier, how the country came to this moment. And also I revisited the Civil War again for myself, just because Algren had lived through that time period and I had collected a small library. So I needed that kind of time to absorb the film and to work with Ed and I enjoyed it. I loved working with Ed Zwick. Bright, sensitive artist. So it was pleasurable for me.
How did you train for your fight scenes? I couldn't touch my toes when I started out. I bent down and I couldn't get my hands past my knees. With all the training and stunts that I’d done before, and I've done quite a bit of stunts. I knew that the way that I would have to move, just carrying the armor. You have to think, 50 pounds of armor doesn't seem so much but when you start lowering your center of gravity and bending your knees, it's a tremendous amount of pressure on the knees, the groin, the hamstrings. So I put on 25 pounds for the picture. I was 25 pounds of muscle heavier than I am right now. I worked with a great stunt coordinator, Nick Powell who built me up very slowly, he did all kinds of Chinese sword work to build up my forearms and my shoulders in order to make that movement, the rotation.A lot of stretching and just training, doing the sequences, building it up and learning moves and working, working, working, working on it. I spent a year being able to do that. Now the Kata, there's a sunset shot in the movie where I do the Kata and it looks see easy. I mean, the balance. I would do it and I’d be moving around. The balance was something. It took a lot of time for me to be able to do that and to move. There are certain things. When I'm working on a character and just start finding how a character moves, the amount of emotional weight he had at the beginning of the picture, and then as the film goes on, how he just moves differently. The first time when he moves in the village, and then by the end of the movie there's a grace that I was going for, where I was able to move in a different way. It took a lot of training and there was a lot of help I received and the guys that I worked with were excellent. I'm more concerned about not hurting someone else because when you're moving those swords, even though at times they weren't razor sharp but they could still cut your finger off at the speed we were travelling and those swords coming in the way they were. And I have to say that the guys I worked with were excellent.

What does this film have to say about American history? Well, I mean look at the American Indian wars. You look at Custer, and when you start studying the history, it’s not what was happening. You know, Custer’s wife went out to try to promote his image. But during that time period, they were uncivilized. They were savages that should be either civilized or destroyed. And it’s not just one way or the other, because the American Indians contributed to some of the conflict, but a lot of it was brought on by the U.S. government, and the people and the miners, and the people encroaching on their land. So I read some just beautiful poetry from soldiers during the American Civil Wars and American Indian wars, because they found how the Indian was very connected to the land. And now you look at just how they harvested, how they hunted. They were actually taking care of their land. It’s the way to harvest and the way to hunt.

What is your process for choosing roles? In the beginning, when I started out, you just want to work in the beginning. And you don't know if you are going to work. But really, after Taps, I had an extraordinary experience. But what I do is I just take my time and look at the material that is available. Because I want to work. I love what I do. I read something and I just have an immediate response to it as an audience. Something I go, "Wow, this is a great story." Or "This is a great character. I want to play, I want to go on that journey." And I look for something that I feel is going to be challenging to me and an experience that I can learn from, that I can contribute to. And I look at the group that I am working with. That's really how I choose it, and what I personally respond to. And then I just jump from there. I don't take a lot of time deciding if I am going to do something or if I am not going to do something. I know pretty quickly and I make very quick decisions when I read something. When I work, I work very hard. So I look to work with people who have that level of dedication. And I depend on that from everyone. From the director to my crews that I work with. I work with, a lot of times, the same crews. And I depend on that because they help create that kind of environment that I need to work in. That I think is an ideal scene for an artist and for a film to get made.
How far will you go to promote The Last Samurai for Oscar consideration? I always feel a responsibility to promote a film, and I am just going to promote this film. I haven't opened any shopping malls, but I may. [Laughs] I do believe, like a record album, that every film has its audience. And I have made very diverse films. From Born on The 4th of July to Interview with The Vampire, because as an audience, I enjoy different types of movies. Magnolia, even Rain Man, when we were making that... You look at this movie now, and I’m very, very proud of this film, [but] you never know how a movie is going to turn out. But I'll travel around and I'll talk about the movie and do what I can to support it. So much of my life has gone into my films and I want people who want to see the movie to go see the movie. I know what it takes to make a film. And the responsibility.

How did the Japanese actors help you? Well, they were very generous with me. And we had done so much research, they validated the research that we had done. I think they were a little surprised how extensive it was, all the way to the wardrobes and such, the history that we knew. And Ed had wanted to know different ceremonies that you see in the film, it informed the film, it informed us about their culture. That’s something that we discovered through rehearsal when we were making the film. I always said, “Well, what do you think, how do you feel? How’s this?” And you know you look at Hiro Sanada, he’s someone who was at the Royal Shakespeare Company, and he would come in and work with me on the sword and Kata. I work better in an environment that is encouraging. And I like a sense of family. When I’m making a film, it’s not about me. It’s about the movie. It’s about us together and working together. So I really depend on that kind of support from everyone and when it comes together, the film is much easier to make when everyone’s going in the same direction and working together. It’s a great feeling. I definitely felt that from Ken, from everyone involved. When I’m speaking Japanese, Hiro actually came in and worked with me on my accent, when I was speaking it and when I was looping it. He helped fix some of the inaccuracies of my accent and the stress on words. So they gave that kind of support throughout the entire film.

How did this character change you? Well, I was a stiffer, inflexible body. Now I have greater flexibility. You know, I change every day. I enjoy the research, and yeah, it lives with you, and you carry it. But if you use things immediate in your life for particular scenes- - I don’t use things. I create the emotion there in the moment. I work on the character and work on the character, and that’s where the jazz comes in. That’s where the confidence and the research and the technique and the skill that you have come in. So that you’re causing it, you’re creating it there. What I find sometimes that is tricky is if actors are using too much of their own life in a picture, in a scene, they get locked into a particular way to play the scene, and it lacks an immediacy. And a presentness. What I try to go for and what I want as an actor for me, is that it’s immediate. Whatever happens, it’s just going to happen. I don’t predetermine. I understand the story, I understand the narrative, I understand the character. I learn the lines, but I learn the lines in a way that’s just [snaps]. I don’t play the scene when I’m learning lines. I just learn the lines. And then when I get into that scene, I’m there with that actor. And I’m present in whatever the character is going through. I’ve done the research and set it up and it just happens. So the fun of it is not getting locked into that emotion, where I have to spend days preparing for a scene. Because you’re not then discovering all the different harmonics of that particular moment, and you get locked into how it should be played. So when I talk about jazz within a scene, I mean I work hard and spend a lot of time preparing, and you must be concentrated, focused, yet you still have to have a spirit of play. I love creating that emotion or going to that place, at that particular time, and just make it happen. Sometimes I listen to music or start doing things, but I’ve never pushed myself where it says in the script. I always go through and cross out tears, laughter. I like shooting things in continuity as much as I can. I don’t want to go in on the coverage until we have the scene, because now we’ve got the actors, we’re on the set, it’s there, whatever, whatever impulse happens, I just want to explore that. Someone’s saying something or doing something, I’m there. And I validate the fact that that is the character, I am the character and whatever’s happening is happening. You know, and to give, to look at choices in life.

Tom Cruise reportedly enjoying a romance with Sofia Vergara

Tom Cruise is reportedly enjoying a romance with a stunning actress.

The Hollywood heartthrob is said to have been on a string of dates with Latino beauty Sofia Vergara after meeting her two months ago, according to Britain's The Sun newspaper.

A source told the paper: "Sofia has lots of male Latino admirers and pictures of her on the internet are hugely popular.
"Tom has been single for a while and has been throwing himself into work. But he felt the time was right to start dating again. Hopefully they'll make a perfect a match."

Sofia has previously dated singers Enrique Iglesias and Craig David while Tom - who has two adopted children with ex-wife Nicole Kidman - has been single since splitting from Penelope Cruz last March.
However, Tom has sparked speculation he may be set to rekindle his romance with Penelope after they arrived arm-in-arm at a pre-Oscars party.

The couple, who have remained firm friends since their split, reportedly spent the whole evening talking, dancing and drinking together, according to Britain's Daily Mirror newspaper.

A fellow party-goer told the paper: "They looked very much the loving couple. They were dancing together, buying drinks and generally having a good time."

Spanish beauty Penelope is currently dating handsome actor Matthew McConaughey and speculation is rife he is set to propose.

Cruise achieves the impossible

Hollywood superstar Tom Cruise isn't just hoping to break box office records with his new film Mission: Impossible 2 - he's also expecting to set a new pay record.

The actor is set to earn £75 million in the film, which sees him reprising his role as special agent Ethan Hunt, and has already enjoyed one of the most lucrative openings in cinema history in the US.

From the studios point of view, Cruise has everything - looks, sex appeal and box office clout. Little wonder scriptwriter Robert Towne describes the actor as a "10,000 lb gorilla, who can wrestle the titans of Hollywood and get impossibly difficult movies made."

For his part though, Cruise dismisses suggestions that he is addicted to power and insists that artistic content is all that matters to him.

"I didn't become an actor to have power, but it just happens that I have it and so I have a lot of opportunities," he says matter-of-factly.

"I also realise power is fleeting, it doesn't last forever in this career, so I want to make the most of it. I want to make the kinds of pictures that interest me, it's as simple as that."

He adds: "I've never done work for money ever. If your choices are based on grosses and the film doesn't do well, what does that mean? It leaves you with nothing."

However there is no denying that Cruise's clout in Hollywood is considerable. That's why the fiercely ambitious actor has been able to swing between risky independent dramas like Eyes Wide Shut and conventional blockbusters such as the 80 million dollar M:I2.

The sequel sees Cruise pursuing a globe-trotting villain who is seeking a deadly virus, and along the way becoming entangled with his love interest, played by British actress Thandie Newton.

Because Cruise has very definite ideas of what he wants, there were reports of creative differences on the Australian set during the seven-month M:I2 shoot.

The main differences arose because Cruise insisted on doing his own stunts on motorbikes and cars. The actor also demanded that he, rather than a stunt double, climb a 1,500-foot cliff in the movie's opening shots.

"I do it because it's fun. I'm not a great mountain climber but things like that excite me. I think a lot of people are going to think that stuff is special effects, but it's not. I'm on the mountain. Throughout the fight scenes, when things come dangerously close, that's all real," he says.
Although this may have given the studio executives some heart-stopping moments, Cruise insists he was never really in danger.

"We had a great stunt co-ordinator. I just dislocated my finger once and that was it. I never really got injured. The exciting part of acting, I don't know how else to explain it, are those moments when you surprise yourself," he says with a grin.

Cruise says he likes the fact that the second Mission: Impossible has been fashioned by director John Woo, who's known for treating his action sequences like dance movements.

"His action has a combination of reality and surrealism that makes the emotion in his pictures very real," says Cruise.

If M:I2 proves as big a box office hit as is anticipated, Cruise should keep his place as the highest paid star in Hollywood, and is looking forward to taking on some unusual projects.

While the actor is likely to do Minority Report with Steven Spielberg, followed by another Robert Towne script Dead Reckoning, there are reports he is considering doing another film with wife Nicole Kidman. This time about wife-swapping, and the couple may team up in a stage version of the Tennessee Williams' classic Cat On A Hot Tin Roof.

The off-screen relationship between Cruise and Kidman is undoubtedly one of the keys to both their success. The actor claims the happiness of his private life has had a calming influence on his life.

"Sure I've learned to relax more. Everybody feels pressure in what they do, maybe mine is just a little different because there doesn't seem to be enough hours in the day to accomplish what I want to.

"The thing about film-making is I give it everything, that's why I work so hard. I always tell young actors to take charge. It's not that hard. Sign your own cheques, be responsible," he says.

With homes in Britain, American and Australia, Cruise, Kidman and their adopted children go to a lot of trouble to protect their privacy. But the actor says attracting attention in public is just part of the business.

"When I first started out all the attention could be a bit unnerving, especially when people stared. Now I find the best thing is to just relax. Being recognized is just something you have to get used to."

Although Kidman's box office success has yet to match her husband's, Cruise is supportive of her career.

"I like it that she's independent, it challenges me. Nicole's my best friend, with her it just seems right."

Tom Cruise: Old School Samurai

Tom Cruise as "The Last Samurai" Director Edward Zwick ("Legends of the Fall," "Glory") must have blown a bundle on stuntmen and CGI to pull that off, right? Wrong. The actor dove into his role as a Civil War hero-turned-Japanese feudal warrior, training extensively and working hard to nail his own stunts.

MTV: I've got to apologize because this is the second time I've underestimated you. I'm a huge Anne Rice fan and I thought, "Tom Cruise as Lestat? No." And then I saw "Interview With the Vampire" and you sold it, I was in. This time I thought, "This is going to sink him, this won't work. A samurai movie?" And "The Last Samurai" is among my top five movies this year. Is it your plan to show everyone you can do anything?
ruise: No, I was curious whether I could do it either, you know? With Anne Rice and "Interview With the Vampire," I just knew I was going to do everything I can to make it work, and the same with this character in this picture. You don't know until it is done. You have belief and a vision [of] where you want it to go. You believe in the people you are working with and you just go with it and hope it works.

MTV: You did all your own stunts. Tell us about that.

Cruise: That was cool. It took me a year to prepare to be able to do that. And it was incredible. The character development and the physical change that I had to make for this film were hand-in-hand, that transformation. I didn't know whether I would be able to do that either, just with the flexibility and strength. I ended up putting on about 25 pounds of muscle.

You're talking about 12-hour-long days for these sequences and a lot of maneuvers, and changing the maneuvers on the day. It may not seem like a lot, but I had to be able to do it, not just kind of like, "OK, you move here." When I'm working with a guy I've got four or five guys around me. ... I really have to have spatial awareness of where these guys are and as skilled as they are, if someone makes a mistake or someone is not on that exact step, you've got to be prepared enough to see it coming and know and adjust to keep the sequence going.

MTV: This wasn't wires and CGI; this was old-school.

Cruise: Old-school, bring it, swingin', hope I don't hit you, really hope you don't hit me.
MTV: Tell me about your co-star Ken Watanabe. He has that Chow Yun-Fat presence. Do you think we are going to see a lot more of him after this movie?

Cruise: Yeah. I think he and Hiro [Sanada] are tremendous actors. I really want to see that happen for Ken and I think it will. It's going to happen for both of them because they are so talented. Wonderful sense of humor and dramatic and charismatic.

MTV: My favorite scene in the movie is when you are on the boat and the narration explains the stillness of the sea and to forget what's behind you and what's ahead of you. Do you ever wish you could have that stillness and be away from this? Or do you have that?

Cruise: I do have that in my life. Absolutely. I have that stillness in my life. And it's what's kept me where I am. I feel a tremendous happiness and stillness.

Tom Cruise on wearing braces, turning 40 and mowing Rosie's lawn

Being the biggest star in Hollywood gets you things like Steven Spielberg to direct a pet project--writer Philip K. Dick's futuristic thriller Minority Report--but it doesn't make life perfect, as Tom Cruise found out when his glamorous 10-year marriage to Nicole Kidman fell apart last year. And it doesn't stop people from asking stuff like, "Are you worried about turning 40?" and "What the hell are you doing to your mouth?"

Cruise keeps smiling regardless. And not just because the star of Risky Business, Top Gun, Jerry Maguire and the Mission: Impossible movies can afford to. He appears to be enjoying his life to the fullest.

Hollywood's biggest star recently sat down with E! Online to talk about taking risks, dating Penélope Cruz and not dwelling on the past.

In Minority Report, you wear bandages around your eyes, and your face melts into that of an old man. Masks, disfigurement and prosthetic disguises have played a part in most of the movies you've made since the mid '90s. What is that, a comment on having such a famous face?
I've done something like this in the last four movies, I know. It just happened that way. It's something that came out with these characters. For Mission: Impossible, it's part of the franchise. For Eyes Wide Shut, masks were just in the story. For Vanilla Sky, I loved the character, and it was just part of it.

So you say. But something is going on. Now you're even changing your teeth.
Yes, I got braces. Can you believe it?

No. How can your smile, of all people's, be improved?
I did a lot of research for my kids, looking at their teeth development, and my upper teeth were coming down hard on my lower teeth and kind of fracturing them. I couldn't close my mouth.

You're not worried about messing up your meal ticket?
[Laughs.] I'm willing to take the risk.

You joke, but you're known for--if you'll pardon the pun--risky business. You've raced cars, flown airplanes, skydived. Were you born an adrenaline junkie?
I was one of those kids. When I was three or four years old, I had that G.I. Joe you throw up in the air and a parachute thing happens. So, I tore the sheets off my bed, dragged the monkey bars over to the garage, tied the sheet around me and jumped off the garage roof. Knocked myself out. I was always climbing trees and stuff like that.

What about with your career? You seem to choose your movies carefully, but Eyes Wide Shut, Magnolia and Vanilla Sky were kind of risky, even for a star of your caliber.
I don't do films because people think this of me, so I'm gonna go this way or do that. I don't know how to think that way. I just think in terms of what I feel. I read it, and I go, This is exciting; I'd like to do it.

What excited you about Philip K. Dick's short story Minority Report?
When I first read it, I was filming Eyes Wide Shut. I thought it had great potential for a screenplay, a personal story within a story that has wonderful twists and turns. Yet there's also this other layer of the future; what is the future? Then when Steven said he wanted to get involved, I wanted to see what the future is for Steven Spielberg.

We started talking about how we wanted to create this real world that people can identify with yet is still a little beyond our reach. You could say: That can happen; that will happen. Those retinal scans? Posters calling out to you at the Gap? That stuff. That can happen; that's where we're going. I mean, you look at email right now, the junk mail you get... I just thought it was cool, all these things.

There are scenes in the film that seem Kubrickian, like when your eyelids are clamped open à la A Clockwork Orange. You starred in Stanley Kubrick's last film, and Spielberg made a film he'd spent years developing, A.I., after Kubrick died. Were you trying to make another Stanley homage out of Minority Report?
Obviously, because A.I. was coming out, I talked to Steven about Stanley. And with the eye thing, of course, Stanley came up. But thematically, this isn't the only film that has dealt with these issues. To my knowledge, it was not intentional or thought of in terms of referencing Kubrick.

Are you looking forward to your 40th birthday in July?
Yeah. I think some friends are planning to throw a party for me.

Ever think you'd be looking so good at this age?
[Laughs.] I had no idea.

What's the exercise routine?
I'm an active person. I fly airplanes; I climb; I do a lot of different things. No regular gym, but sometimes when I'm preparing for a film. Right now, I'm working on The Last Samurai, so every day there's lots of sword work and different flexibility things. Those boys were intense!

No midlife crisis jitters, then?
I just want to keep working. I remember being young and thinking, Jeez, am I ever gonna work again? What's gonna happen? I just want to keep doing it, keep growing. Now, I don't think it'll end. I think if I do something wrong a lot, I'll be on borrowed time. But I still feel really excited when I work.

Guess you've gone through enough crisis in your life recently to not need a midlife one.
Obviously, what happened last year was the toughest time in my life, but it is the way it is. I have a blessed life. I really do, and I know that. I have the opportunity to do something I love and to keep doing it.

So, I'm not someone who talks about stuff like that, really, to anyone or who dwells on it or complains about it. I mean, my kids are healthy, Nic is healthy, my parents are healthy. But I've never been under that much pressure.

How has the divorce left you emotionally? Skeptical about relationships? Stronger?
I'm not jaded. I think I'm definitely wiser. I have a greater appreciation for life in many ways.

Falling in love with Penélope Cruz would obviously help with that, whenever it happened.
When did it really happen? When did it really click? We were friends, we were talking on the phone, we spent a lot of time...It happened in July, I guess. You know relationships--they evolve. You enjoy each other's company and see where it goes. You date. We're dating, just like anybody else.

Your personal life has been the target of so much scrutiny, lots of it fabricated, all of it intrusive. How do you cope?
It's funny. When I was growing up, I was always the new kid in school. I always dealt with gossip and stuff whenever I moved. You experience that you're "different," that people say things about you. You're not invited to parties, and rumors are spread and all that kind of stuff. I used to think, Man, I can't wait till I get the hell out of here; it's gonna be different. But then you realize that this is the world.

My mother used to say, "This is the world, Tom. Hello. Wake up." Then you grow up, and it happens, but it's something you have a choice about. You can just live your life, go on and do it. I don't want to waste hours of my day worrying about stuff like that. I do the best I can. I live the best life I can and enjoy it.

How does your belief in Scientology fit into that?
In the mid '80s, when I became a Scientologist, it was very helpful. There are things in it that really helped me with my life...to alleviate stress and a lot of fears. It gave me tools for the first time, as far as education goes, and just different things that have helped me become more me.

Now that we've covered all of the superficial stuff, tell us what everyone really wants to know: Why'd you cut Rosie O'Donnell's lawn [taped for Rosie O'Donnell's finale episode]?
She asked me to. And I'm good at it. I've always been very good at cutting grass.

High Price of Crossing Tom Cruise

Hustlers beware: It'll cost you $10 million just to claim you went to bed with Tom Cruise.

The litigious actor won the megajudgment in his defamation lawsuit against a gay porn star, who allegedly claimed he had an affair with Cruise.

Cruise's lawyer announced the victory Wednesday--not that there was ever any doubt who would win.

The now debt-ridden Chad Slater (who went by the stage name Kyle Bradford) had subsequently admitted that he had made the whole thing up, but the story ran in the tabloids anyway.

Slater told E! in 2001 that he had filed court papers defaulting on the lawsuit--effectively admitting defeat--and was willing to file for bankruptcy should Cruise's lawyers pursue the case. No word from him today about his future fiscal plans.

Cruise, who's currently filming a movie in New Zealand, has not been notified of the judgment says his attorney Bert Fields.

The lawyer told E! Online he hopes the ruling "deters people from saying false things about Tom. Tom feels strongly that he doesn't want his kids or his grandkids, for that matter, to read about the fact that he did things he never did so whenever anybody says false things about Tom he's going to go after them. He has the will and the means to do it.

"The amount of the judgment should send a message to the world that if you say something false about Tom you're about to get hit by a sizeable judgment and not just get a slap on the wrist."

Fields says the sum is largely a symbolic victory as the chances of collecting from Slater are "difficult."

Any proceeds Cruise does recover will be donated to charity, Fields says.

It was the second such case filed by Cruise in 2001 to stamp out rumors about his sexual orientation. A magazine publisher who claimed to have a videotape proving Cruise engaged in risky business with another man later issued a retraction and denied the existence of any such tape.

Cruise's ex-wife, Nicole Kidman recently spoke out about her husband's propensity for filing lawsuits.

"I personally don't believe in doing huge lawsuits about that stuff. Tom does. That's what he wants to do, that's what he's going to do. You do not tell Tom what to do. That's it. Simple. He is a force to be reckoned with," said Kidman in the December issue of Vanity Fair.

The couple, who were divorced in 2001 and share custody of their two adopted children, Isabella Jane, 10, and Connor Anthony, 7, did reunite to sue beauty retailer Sephora last year for illegally using their pretty mugs to sell perfume.

The defamation lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court two years ago, claimed Slater, an erotic wrestler, "concocted and spread the completely false story that he had a continuing homosexual affair with Tom Cruise and that this affair was discovered by Mr. Cruise's wife, leading to their divorce." Slater's story appeared in a French magazine called Acustar and was subsequently picked up by several publications, including the National Enquirer.

According to the complaint, Cruise "had no relationship of any kind with Kyle Bradford and does not even know him."

Slater, whose film credits include The Cockpit Club and Forced to Submit, saw himself as the victim in the situation as he told E! News Live last year.

"I never met him and never really wanted to. I just want to put an end to it. My family was hurt deeply. To turn on the TV and see that your son is an adult entertainer, which you didn't know, and secondly, your son is being sued by Tom Cruise for $100 million, that's a lot to take," said Slater who at the time claimed he had abandoned his porn career.

Slater's credit in last year's The Size of It seems to dispute the assertion that he's retired from the skin-flick business.

Meanwhile, Cruise, who is currently filming The Last Samurai in New Zealand, could soon find himself in hot water. Local Maoris are reportedly upset that sacred Mount Taranaki will sub for Japan's Mount Fujiyama in the movie.

We don't recommend they sue.

Cruise and Kidman Go Courtin'

Tom cruise and Nicole Kidman are together again. At least for the purposes of a lawsuit.

The divorced celeb couple have teamed up for a $15 million-plus lawsuit filed Wednesday in Los Angeles against a beauty-products retailer they say misused their famous mugs in an ad.

Sephora USA, the company in Tom and Nicole's crosshairs, declined to comment on the case Thursday.

At issue: A 2001 Sephora Valentine's Day advertisement featuring a picture of the Days of Thunder duo, and the headline: "L'eau down on celebrity sweethearts."

The text goes on to say: "Tom & Nicole--The red carpet glamour of Hollywood's royal couple never fails to leave us with eyes wide open."

Pretty snappy copywriting, no? To the Cruise-Kidman tandem, it's pretty misleading.

In their suit, they allege they were used as "involuntary models without pay." Not only did they not endorse Sephora fragrances, but if they did, the lawsuit charges, they "would have been paid a very large sum of money."

If Cruise and Kidman get their way, they'll get their biggest payday yet. Their suit seeks $15 million in damages--an amount they want tripled (to $45 million, for the non-math wizards out there) under a federal law, the Lanham Act, which protects trademarks and whatnot (like famous faces, apparently).

To top it off, the lawsuit also seeks unspecified punitive damages.

The lawsuit, it could be said, is Cruise and Kidman's first joint project since 2001's The Others (she starred, he produced). The two formally ended their 10-year, A-list marriage last November, quietly dividing their estimated combined riches of between $150 million and $300 million.

Wednesday's filing marks the latest in a string of lawsuits headed by the ever-litigious Cruise, who has sued everybody and everything from tabloids to an erotic wrestler. Not only does Cruise sue, he wins.

"I've actually never lost a lawsuit," Cruise told CNN's Larry King last December. "Never. I have never lost."

Tom and Nicole Settle Up

Sorry, dirt seekers: The supposedly bitter legal feud that was Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman's divorce has ended with an "amicable" settlement.

Even worse, it's being kept secret. Nine months after announcing their split, the former Hollywood power couple has "come to an amicable, full resolution of all issues," according to a statement from their lawyers. "This was done to ensure that the best interests of their children were protected."

It's not known exactly how Cruise and Kidman divvied up their assets--which, depending on which tabloid you enjoy reading, are estimated anywhere between $150 million and $300 million. Details of the settlement are confidential and the court file has been sealed.
But Cruise lawyer Dennis Wasser says they've agreed to share custody of their two adopted children, Isabella, 8, and Connor, 6. Initially, Kidman had been seeking primary physical custody, while Cruise was asking for shared custody.

Regardless, the settlement does end what had been a surprisingly public legal quarrel over the children and the money. Cruise, 39, and Kidman, 34, first announced their split in February. Then, two days later, Cruise filed for divorce, citing irreconcilable differences and contending that they actually split up in December, just shy of their 10-year anniversary.

With his divorce matters now out of the way, Cruise apparently felt comfortable spilling some personal details to Access Hollywood about the divorce and his new squeeze, his upcoming Vanilla Sky costar Penélope Cruz. In a two-part interview that was to air Wednesday and Thursday, Cruise said he and Kidman are staying close for their kids' sake.

"We're family," he said. "We're going to raise these kids together. Both of us are going to insure that these kids are raised. We're now just the parents that are no longer together, but we still care about each other and there is a lot of respect and a lot of love there. We love our kids, and so we're going to do that together."

He also didn't rule out getting married again. "I don't have any feelings like I'm never going to get married again," he said. "I don't feel that way. I'm very much a romantic, an optimist. What I had with Nic, we had some extraordinary moments together and times that I cherish and I'll never forget."

And when asked if he warned Cruz about the tabloid feeding frenzy that goes along with dating him, he replied, "I tend not to warn them. I don't want to scare them away."


Tom Cruise: Scientology Ambassador

Tom Cruise is crusading on behalf of Scientology.

The Hollywood hunk, a steadfast devotee of the Church of Scientology, met with the U.S. ambassador in Germany to stick up for the organization's rights in that country, according to Reuters.

Unnamed "diplomatic sources" tell the wire service that Cruise, in Berlin to hype his Vanilla Sky, met with Ambassador Dan Coats for more than an hour last week. During the meeting, which preceded a screening of the film for embassy staffers, the actor reportedly lobbied the former senator to lend his support to a campaign petitioning Germany to recognize Scientology's right to exist, as well as improve the human rights of its more than 30,000-plus members who live there
It's the latest attempt by Cruise and Scientology pals like John Travolta to have Germany reconsider its views on the church and prevent German members from being treated like second-class citizens. Scientology is not recognized as a formal religion in Germany.

German officials are currently investigating Scientology, accusing the U.S.-based organization of acting less like a church and more like a profit-hungry cult bent on world domination. Some German authorities assert that Scientologists have been plotting to infiltrate government and business elites, a claim the group has vehemently denied.

In fact, in 1997, Cruise and other big time Hollywood entertainers took out an international newspaper ad denouncing Germany for resorting to the same totalitarian tactics against Scientologists that the country used against the Jews under Hitler during the 1930s.

Signed by the likes of Travolta, Dustin Hoffman, Goldie Hawn, Larry King and 28 other celebrities (most of whom were not Scientologists), the ad protested alleged discriminatory polices of then-German Chancellor Helmut Kohl. Officials in Kohl's ruling Christian Democratic Party had launched a boycott a year earlier against Cruise's Mission: Impossible simply because the thespian was a Scientologist. The party also organized a nationwide awareness campaign against the Church of Scientology.

Kohl's government also came under heavy criticism from the U.S. State Department and the United Nations Commission on Human Rights for banning Scientologists from assuming public jobs such as counseling and teaching.

Although Kohl is no longer in control, the anti-Scientology bias remains, despite the best efforts of Cruise and company.

While embassy reps refused to comment on specifics of Cruise's meeting with Coats, it's likely the former Top Gunner espoused the same points he made in January's issue of Vanity Fair. In that interview, Cruise revealed how Scientology has helped him over the last 13 years overcome a number of personal problems--everything from those pesky gay rumors to his rift with his late father to his dyslexia to his very public divorce last year from Nicole Kidman.

Tom Cruise stars in ambitious big screen adaptation of War of the Worlds

H.G. Wells’s classic tale of invading aliens, War of the Worlds, is getting the big screen treatment again, and when we say big, we mean big. Not only does it have Steven Spielberg in the director’s chair and Tom Cruise in the lead, the production budget for this Hollywood remake is reportedly set to exceed the cost of Titanic, which was budgeted at US$200mil (RM760mil).

The original screen adaptation with the same name was also a Hollywood production made in 1953, and was very well received and noted for its stunning special effects. And judging by the current remake’s budget, this is going to be no less a visual effects feast. And like its predecessor, this Hollywood blockbuster retells Wells’ seminal classic, and is set in contemporary America.

The story behind this latest version of War of the Worlds is seen through the eyes of one American family who go through “the extraordinary battle for the future of humankind”, according to the synopsis on the film’s official website, www.warofthe worlds.com.

More details on the story are not available at the moment.

This summer, audiences can see box-office draw Cruise as a family man experiencing the alien onslaught. Cruise plays Ray Ferrier while Miranda Otto of The Lord of the Rings fame plays his wife Mary Ann, and Dakota Fanning, his daughter Rachel. Oscar winner Tim Robbins also stars in the film as the astronomer Ogilvy.

This movie marks another departure for Cruise who recently appeared as an ageing assassin in Collateral and previously as a disillusioned civil war vet sent to Japan to train the local army in The Last Samurai.

War of the Worlds is set to hit Malaysian cinemas on June 29. In the meantime, you can read (or re-read) Wells’ book on aliens and giant spaceships from Mars. Incidentally, Orson Welles’ infamous radio play version in 1938 caused public mass hysteria in the United States as listeners mistook the broadcast for an actual alien invasion. We shall have to wait and see what effect Spielberg and Cruise have with this latest remake

Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman's kids are embarrassed by their parents

One might think that every child in the world would want parents who looked like Tom Cruise and his ex- wife Nicole Kidman, but their two adopted children, Isabella and Connor, have revealed otherwise.

Oscar winner Nicole, who adopted the children when she was still married to Cruise, says that the children are very embarrassed by the fact that they have such big celebrity connections and even tried to change their surnames so that people would not recognise them.

"They're very embarrassed. They actually deny us, which is OK. They even tried to change their last name, and they say, 'Don't come to our school. Whatever you do, don't come," the report quoted Nicole as saying.

Tom Cruise: Women Love Him, Men Envy Him

He is responsible for the resurging popularity of Ray Ban sunglasses, air pilot jackets, being a race car driver, a bartender, and even a vampire. He is a cultural icon, a man who has made it in an industry where only 0.01% reach his status. Getting to the top is tough; staying there is even tougher, and he has proven himself over and over. That million megawatt smile has helped Tom Cruise reach the pinnacle of his profession and stay there. He's a down-to-earth movie star with huge box-office hits under his belt such as Top Gun and Mission: Impossible. Tom Cruise has always epitomized cool, but somehow over the last couple of years, he has gone from just another Hollywood pretty boy, to a certified world renowned actor. It seems that everything he touches turns to gold. Not everyone likes him, but at least now almost everyone respects him. His movies make millions, he is an international star.

Damn his smile. That smile puts us all to shame. His charisma is often singled out as the most determining factor of his success. If you have it, flaunt it; Tom has never been shy about doing exactly that. Tom has honed his acting abilities in the last couple of years, resulting in greater recognition from his peers. The movie Magnolia has already won him a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor, while he received an Oscar nomination in the same category. There has always been rumors and questions about Tom Cruise's manliness, but we doubt any of that is true. After all, wouldn't it be a huge waste? Tom might not be Arnold, but he isn't exactly a pushover either.

There are certain women who think Tom Cruise is a god (i.e. Rosie O'Donnell), and others who think the man is plain ugly. Yet when Tom Cruise makes a public appearance, the throngs of women that appear prove our point -- women worldwide love him, especially a certain Spanish actress named Penelope Cruz. Magnolia, Eyes Wide Shut, Mission: Impossible, Jerry Maguire, Interview With the Vampire, The Firm, A Few Good Men, Far and Away, Days of Thunder, Born on the Fourth of July, Rain Man, Cocktail, Top Gun, The Color of Money, Risky Business. This long legacy of successful films is why he now makes $20 million per movie.

He gets high marks just for the movie roles he has taken on. Fighter pilot, race car driver, spy, vampire, bartender, etc. He has become so popular with men because he lives out our fantasy roles. How many of us didn't leave Mission: Impossible with an urge to give our local spy agency a call about recruitment? At any awards show, regardless of the tons of celebs present, Tom is still one of the biggest. When he wants to, he can dress with style (without the flash of Will Smith); but most of the time, he just wears boots, jeans and a baseball cap. We get the fact that he wants to be comfortable, but a less scruffy look would look fine on him too.

More fun facts about Tom Cruise

Cruise and Oprah Winfrey hosted the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize concert.
Is the first foreign actor to have his handprint earmarked for a place on a central Tokyo square resembling Hollywood's Walk of Fame. (2004)
Inaugurated a new center for the Church of Scientology, of which he is a member, in Madrid, Spain. (September 2004)
Was snubbed by double Olympic athlete Kelly Holmes, when he asked to escort her to the UK premiere of his new movie -- Holmes admits she was starstruck when she met Cruise, but turned him down because she didn't have anything to wear. (September 10, 2004)
Worked as a FedEx deliveryman to research his role for the movie COLLATERAL.
Is one of the bearers of the 2004 Olympic Torch Relay.
Has hit back after a website claimed to have discovered his diva demands for the set of MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 3. (June 7, 2004)
Has been forced to wear a chest wig in his latest film because his torso is too bare. (June 7, 2004)
Has denied reports he has followed the latest Los Angeles trend by boasting a hairless body. (May 22, 2004)
Germany has turned down a request by Cruise to shoot scenes for MISSION IMPOSSIBLE 3 in the famous Reichstag parliament building's giant glass and steel dome. (May 5, 2004)
Refused to cooperate with a diet plan designed to get him into top shape for MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 3, because he prefers doing it his own way. (April 15, 2004)
Helped raise 1.2 million dollars to treat emergency workers exposed to toxic materials following the September 11 terror strikes in New York. (April 13, 2004)
Has split from girlfriend Penelope Cruz. (March 27, 2004)
Tom Cruise and Steven Spielberg are set to bring H.G. Wells' classic alien invasion epic, The War of the Worlds, to the big screen with Cruise headlining, and Spielberg directing. (March 18, 2004)
Has fired his longtime publicist Pat Kingsley, and replace her with his sister. (March 16, 2004)
Rushed to be with girlfriend Penelope Cruz after she collapsed while filming SAHARA in Morocco -- Cruz was suffering exhaustion, from the intense desert heat and violent sandstorms on the set of the movie. (March 12, 2004)
Has Welsh roots. His real name is Thomas Cruise Mapother IV.
Has acted as cupid for a Portuguese couple, appearing on state television to implore a factory worker to marry her longtime cameraman boyfriend. (January 17, 2004)
Is already excited about this year's Academy Awards, thanks to the buzz surrounding his chances of being crowned Best Actor. (January 9, 2004)
Attended the British premiere of THE LAST SAMURAI in London Tuesday and signed autographs for an astonishing two hours outside the cinema. (January 7, 2004)
Was set to play Jude Law's character in COLD MOUNTAIN before he demanded too much money. (December 29, 2003)
Attended the LA premiere of THE LAST SAMURAI Tuesday night with girlfriend Penelope Cruz. (December 4, 2003)
Spectacularly declared he always will love ex-wife Nicole Kidman when American broadcaster Katie Couric chatted to him over a sushi picnic in Los Angeles' Will Rogers State Park for an upcoming Dateline news special. (November 14, 2003)
Co-star Hiroyuki Sanada came close to cutting off Cruise’s head when filming a sword fight scene in THE LAST SAMURAI. (November 12, 2003)
A New Zealand-based inbound tour company is banking on Cruise movie THE LAST SAMURAI to generate interest in some of the exotic locales the picture showcases. (October 30, 2003)
Has made history by becoming the first man ever to pose for the cover of long running women's magazine Marie Claire. (October 29, 2003)
Cruise had onlookers at a live circus spectacular amazed when he popped into a ladies' toilet -- The actor was taking his children to see the world-famous Montreal performers Cirque Du Soleil, in Los Angeles, when he suddenly needed to relieve himself; he seemed slightly desperate as he rushed for the door, not appearing to notice he was in the wrong place. (September 25, 2003)
Is teaming up with Val Kilmer to play a daring pilot for the second time in World War Two epic THE FEW. (September 11, 2003)
Cruise, and Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, performed a duet of an Elvis Presley classic when he was in Tokyo to promote his new movie, THE LAST SAMURAI. (August 29, 2003)
Said his role in THE LAST SAMURAI was a difficult departure from the characters he's portrayed in the past – He said, “I trained for eight months prior to shooting the film. I put on 20 pounds for the character but also for the muscle to carry the swords and wear the armor. (August 29, 2003)
Cruise has been criticized for speaking about how Church of Scientology teachings helped him overcome his learning difficulties -- The International Dyslexia Association has hit back at his claims, insisting his statements are unscientific. (July 18, 2003)
Cruise has gone public with his dyslexia trauma in a bid to convince parents of kids with the learning disorder that there is a solution -- Cruise is now a board member of Hubbard's Literacy Foundation, the Hollywood Education & Literary Problem (HELP), and he wants young dyslexics to have the benefit of his findings. (July 14, 2003)
Cruise said he learned to overcome his learning disability through Scientology -- After TOP GUN came out in 1986, Cruise became a Scientologist and discovered the Study Technology, which the religion's founder, L. Ron Hubbard, developed in the 1960s. (July 12, 2003)
Cruise is launching a campaign to stop kids taking drugs prescribed by their doctors – The actor flew to Washington DC last week to lobby politicians for stricter controls on how medicines are handed out to minors, particularly those with Attention Deficit Disorder. (July 3, 2003)
Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman's breakup was voted one of the most explosive of all time by Ipsos U.S. Express (on behalf of CuervoNation). (June 25, 2003)
Cruise poured scorn on reports he had split from Spanish girlfriend Penelope Cruz with a public display of affection -- Cruise kissed his lover in front of public Thursday night at an awards ceremony in New York Cruise. (June 23, 2003)
Cruise plans to make a film about the first ever civil class-action suit against the American government -- Cruise's production company, C/W Productions, is developing the story of the 1947 accident which led the landmark suit. (June 10, 2003)
Tom Cruise and Penelope Cruz are facing tough times in their relationship, pals say -- The pair have not spent much time together due to hectic filming schedules, and pals speculate the couple will not stick together for good. (June 4, 2003)
Britain's Culture Minister Kim Howells is accusing 'swashbuckling heroes like Tom Cruise' of staying away from Europe because they're more scared of bomb threats than globetrotting 'grannies from New York' -- Cruise, it seems, was singled out for failing to turn up at this year's Cannes film festival, citing 'work commitments'. (May 21, 2003)
Cruise says he'll miss New Zealand now that he's finished filming his scenes for THE LAST SAMURAI -- The actor spent nearly four months in the Taranaki province filming on the set of the movie about Japan's legendary warrior class adapting to Western influence in the mid-19th century. (May 12, 2003)
Tom Cruise and Leonardo DiCaprio are both planning features on one H.H Holmes, a serial killer who stalked his victims at the 1893 Chicago World Fair -- Cruise's production company have just optioned the film rights to The Devil In The White City, a best-selling novel on the story; while Leonardo's production house, Appian Way, is also working on a story on the same subject. (April 10, 2003)
This year's Cannes Film Festival will be the first public occasion with Tom Cruise, Penelope Cruz, and Nicole Kidman all on the guest list -- The 'A' list trio has never been seen in the same place at the same time since Cruise's high profile divorce from Kidman, and subsequent romance with Cruz. (April 5, 2003)
Was the first person to congratulate his ex-wife Nicole Kidman on her Best Actress Oscar triumph - He called her the moment she switched her mobile phone on after the Sunday night ceremony, and she was reportedly stunned, and close to tears upon hearing his voice. (March 26, 2003)
New Zealand's Prime Minister Helen Clark, described Cruise as a very attractive young man - Clark spent much of Tuesday with Cruise, his girlfriend Penelope Cruz, and his two children on the set of the THE LAST SAMURAI being shot near the city of New Plymouth, 320 kilometers (200 miles) from the capital, Wellington. (March 5, 2003)
Cruise is finally making progress on his remake of hit 1940s movie I MARRIED A WITCH -- He's signed up Danny DeVito to direct it. (February 28, 2003)
Cruise used his star status to score some cash for a rural New Zealand school in Wellington -- A local radio station, hoping to cash in on the city's high-profile visitors, offered a payoff of $2,745 to any listener who could get Cruise to call in live on the air; it seems Cruise wanted the radio station to bump up the pot to $3,600 and promised to match the amount if the funds could be funneled to the local Urenui Junior School. (February 14, 2003)
“Menacing” calls featuring Cruise's voice were placed in December by the geniuses at 20th Century Fox as part of a promotional push for the British video and DVD release of MINORITY REPORT, but a British watchdog group has banned the ad, saying the recorded message could cause undue fear and distress. (February 13, 2003)
Cruise won the mega judgment ($10 million) in his defamation lawsuit against a gay porn star, who allegedly claimed he had an affair with Cruise -- the now debt ridden Chad Slater (who went by the stage name Kyle Bradford) has subsequently admitted that he made the whole thing up; Cruise's lawyer says he hopes the ruling deters people from saying false things about Tom. (January 16, 2003)
Penelope Cruz has sensationally postponed her wedding to Tom Cruise because she fears he may be unfaithful – the ceremony, due to take place on Valentine's Day, has been halted while the Spanish star prepares to confront Cruise over his friendship with another Latino beauty Sofia Vergara. (January 10, 2003)
Producers on Cruise's new film THE LAST SAMURAI are ordering local workers in New Zealand to avoid making eye contact with the star -- executives on the new movie have reportedly insisted that anyone that works on the project should have a clause inserted into their contract forbidding them from looking at Cruise in the eye. (January 3, 2003)
Cruise is planning a dream wedding to Penelope Cruz on the Mediterranean island of Malta -- according to a Britain newspaper, a host of film stars will fly out to the paradise isle for the celebration, which will cost $2 million. (November 23, 2002)
Cruise settled a lawsuit filed against a couple who he claimed defamed him in an article about his sexuality; Cruise filed suit against Kristina Slater last year after she claimed he had a gay fling with her ex-husband Chad Slater (aka Kyle Bradford) and took her story to American Tabloid National Enquirer. (October 12, 2002)
Cruise thrilled movie fans at the Hollywood Film Festival on Sunday night when he turned up unannounced and woolly bearded at the premiere of new movie Narc. (October 10, 2002)
Cruise pulls back his statement that he supports a war against Iraq, saying that he was misquoted on that. (October 9, 2002)
Cruise spoke of his admiration for Japan's warrior spirit at a news conference in western Japan Tuesday to mark the start of shooting for his next movie, THE LAST SAMURAI, describing the role he’ll play as a dream-come-true thing. (October 9, 2002)
At a press conference in Rome, where they were promoting the Italian release of MINORITY REPORT, Cruise and Steven Spielberg have spoken out in support of President George W. Bush's proposed war on Iraq. (September 30, 2002)
Cruise and Steven Spielberg, two of Hollywood's biggest celebrities, said on Thursday that they strictly limit how much television their children watch and emphasize reading rather than viewing. (September 27, 2002)
Cruise is now even closer to perfection - he's had his braces removed and now has a faultless set of teeth. (September 26, 2002)
Cruise is looking forward to marrying again -- and hasn't been put off by his previous breakups.
He proved just how hot a star he is - when he went riding around in a fire engine belong to his best friend, Jay Leno, last July 1st 2002. He was accompanied by his girlfriend Penelope Cruz and Cruise's two children Isabella, nine, and Connor, seven. Car collector Leno had just finished refurbishing the vintage fire engine and on June 22 decided that he'd treat the screen star and his gang to a ride around Los Angeles.
Cruise has filmed a cameo role in AUSTIN POWERS IN GOLDMEMBER that opens in the United States and the UK on July 26 alongside Steven Spielberg, Kevin Spacey, Danny DeVito and Gwyneth Paltrow.
He has thrown a massive secret party to celebrate his 40th birthday on July 3rd, 2002. He hosted his own bash at Santa Monica's Museum Of Flying, in California, on Saturday, where he keeps some of his plane collection. Cruise, and his actress girlfriend Penelope Cruz, partied with 200 friends and family at the party, which was kept so quiet there were no paparazzi in sight. One way he threw the paparazzi off the trail was by having the party nearly 2 weeks before his actual birthday.
He has been sporting railtrack-like braces on his famous grin after knocking out a front tooth, smashing another in half and chipping an upper molar while playing with his and Nicole Kidman's adopted son.
He has jetted into London for the UK premiere of his latest film, MINORITY REPORT - and fans are hoping for a repeat of his crowd-pleasing appearance for the premiere of VANILLA SKY in January when he delighted the crowds in London's Leicester Square by going on extended walkabouts and making calls on their mobile phones.
Cruise said his only problem was getting the people on the other end of the line to believe it was really him.
Says working with Steven Spielberg has inspired him to try his hand at directing.
Having been friends with Steven Spielberg since the actor shot to stardom with 1983's RISKY BUSINESS, now joins the director as one of the demigods of modern Hollywood — spent years kicking around ideas for a joint project.
Cruise has a third MISSION IMPOSSIBLE film in the works. He also is producing and might star in a remake of H.G. Wells' WAR OF THE WORLDS.
Lack of privacy was one of many themes that resonated with Cruise and Spielberg in MINORITY REPORT. The film presents a world where, along with psychics peering into people's unconscious thoughts, police can monitor the whereabouts of everyone by eye scans.
BORN ON THE 4TH JULY (1989): Director Oliver Stone proposed that Tom Cruise takes a drug to temporarily render him paralyzed from the waist down so he can experience the same thing Kovic did (the drug's effects would last about a week). Cruise was all for it... but his agent was not, and he was pushed not take the experimental drug.
Was considered to play Nash in A BEAUTIFUL MIND (2001).
In early drawing of ALADDIN (1992), Aladdin resembled Michael J. Fox. As the story developed, Jeffrey Katzenberg didn't think Aladdin had enough appeal to women, so he asked Aladdin to be beefed up a bit to resemble Tom Cruise.
Tom Cruise and Lea Thompson had body doubles for the sex scene in ALL THE RIGHT MOVES (1983)
Cruise wanted a private set in INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE: THE VAMPIRE CHRONICLES (1994), and hence tunnels were built to escort the actors to and from the set. This was done so that the vampire's makeup effects would remain a secret.
Began filming MINORITY REPORT (2002) only days after completing work on VANILLA SKY (2001).
Disguised with a beard and mustache and appears as a bad guy that walks out of a door and is shot in YOUNG GUNS (1988). He was added because he was visiting the set and said he had never been in a film gunfight.
For the 'knife-in-the-eye' scene in MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 2 (2000), he insisted that a real knife be used, and that it stop exactly quarter inch from his eyeball, instead of somewhere vaguely near his eye, as John Woo suggested.
He was placed on an elevated platform during some scenes to reduce the height difference between his character and other vampires.
In the very beginning of RAIN MAN (1988), a red sports car has MI 3762 4 written on its windshield. The numbers 3762 spell out Cruise's birthday: 3 July 1962.
In his bedroom, there is a poster for JULES ET JIM (1961), a French movie in which the climactic scene involves the female star driving a car with her and her lover off a bridge (VANILLA SKY).
In TOP GUN (1986), he is an inch too short to be a Navy pilot (minimum height 5'8, based on minimum sitting height 32 and minimum leg length 36).
Initially offered to return to the role of Lestat in THE QUEEN OF THE DAMNED (2002), but he declined.
In-joke: he goes online with his laptop by typing in, not Usenet, but Cruisenet (MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE (1996)).
JERRY MAGUIRE (1996) was his fifth consecutive $100-million-plus film, a new record.
Wanted the part of Bud Fox in WALL STREET (1987), but Oliver Stone had already agreed to Charlie Sheen. Oliver Stone later promised Cruise with a role in another picture, BORN ON THE FOURTH OF JULY (1989).
Cruise did his own trick shots for THE COLOR OF MONEY (1986), except for one in which he had to jump two balls to sink another. Scorsese said he could have let Cruise learn the shot, but it would have taken two extra days of practice, holding up production, and costing thousands of dollars. The shot was instead performed by professional player, Mike Sigel.
It was during the filming of DAYS OF THUNDER (1990) that he, then married to Mimi Rogers, fell in love with Nicole Kidman. They were married later the same year.
Cruise and Nicole Kidman were both considering roles in COLD MOUNTAIN (2003), yet Cruise was unaware of Kidman's involvement. Cruise backed out but Kidman immediately signed up.
The tremendous hype around the release of EYES WIDE SHUT (1999) resulted in several rumors about the plot. The most widely circulated was the mistaken rumor that in the film, Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman played married psychiatrists having affairs with their patients.
At the party to begin EYES WIDE SHUT (1999), two seducing women promise to take Cruise to the other end of the rainbow. Later, while in the costume shop, Cruises' head is depicted just underneath the near side of the rainbow sign in the shops window.



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