It’s been a while since we had some good old-fashioned Scientology trash-talking on the feed. Blessed be, then, to Leah Remini for refusing to take her foot off the gas in reminding the world that the organization is (allegedly) a toxic cesspool of exploitation and greed. In a new interview with The Daily Beast, she focused her ire on the most famous Scientologist on the planet, one Thomas Cruise Mapother IV. Heard of him?
Thandie Newton, in a wonderful interview with E. Alex Jung of Vulture, talked candidly about working with Cruise on the second Mission: Impossible movie and the weird experience she had with him. She focused mostly on the surreal nature of dealing with an actor as notoriously intense as Cruise. It’s important to note that Newton didn’t say she hated Cruise or working on the movie — indeed, she said she ‘had the most extraordinary time’ — but what most people got from the interview is that Cruise is, frankly, kind of weird? As Dustin noted in his write-up, ‘we don’t often get too much of a sense of Tom Cruise as a human being, because I’m not entirely sure he is one.’
Regarding Newton’s anecdote, Remini said, ‘That takes huge balls to do what she did, and if more people speak out in that way, and be brave enough to do so, I think we might get somewhere.’
It’s a curious quote because Newton wasn’t damning about working with Cruise. She seemed more baffled than anything else and is mostly sympathetic to the pressure he was under at the time. I wonder if Remini got the full quote from Newton before she was asked to comment on it.
The real meat of the interview comes when Remini digs further into Cruise’s reputation and his status as Scientology’s golden boy. She said, ‘Tom has gotten away with being this ‘nice guy’ because that’s what Scientology policy says — to create good PR in the world and make those ‘good actions’ known. But if you actually look at his actions, they’re not consistent.’
Remini, who was an active and oft-vocal member of the Church of Scientology for 33 years, also says that she got into trouble for questioning Cruise’s behavior to fellow Scientologists. She said:
‘Why is this guy the poster child for Scientology? He can’t keep a f***in’ marriage together, he’s jumping on couches, he’s acting like he knows anything about post-partum. I learned pretty quickly that that’s not something you should be doing, because Tom Cruise is considered a messiah in Scientology. This is a man who has not even seen his own daughter in years. That this guy can be running around and having people think he’s this super-nice guy, I don’t get it. But that’s the Hollywood bulls**t game people play.’
For the longest time, Cruise was defined by his status as the nicest guy in Hollywood. He was famous for doing red carpet events where he would speak to every fan and offer so much of his time to autograph signings, phone calls, and so on. In the industry, you don’t really hear talk about Cruise being sh*tty to work with. He’s intense, sure, but he’s also the only actor really doing what he does in the business now. No actor has the clout, support, or insurance to pull off the stunts he gets to achieve in blockbusters. This is the guy who’s now going to make a movie in space!
Of course, there’s an obvious disconnect between that Tom Cruise and the one who is basically the big boss of one of the most notorious pseudo-religions on the planet, one with countless reports of human rights abuses, exploitation, and scamming to its name. The more vocally pro-Scientology Cruise got in the press, including slamming Brooke Shields, a woman he did not know, for using anti-depressants following the birth of her kid, the less people liked him. There’s a reason he basically doesn’t discuss Scientology or his private life at all in the press now.
Indeed, there’s a much sharper divide between professional and personal for Cruise now. The Kidman/Holmes days are over. We’ve no idea if he’s dating anyone, which is rare for a star of his caliber. He’s not a tabloid staple like he was in the ’90s and 2000s. Read any interview he’s done over the past few years and, when he’s not talking directly about the work, he’s super impersonal and cloistered. That’s a choice. It was impossible for him to maintain that Nice Guy image when he was out there jumping on couches, calling Matt Lauer ‘glib’ and being painted as the villain in the ‘Free Katie Holmes’ saga.
I’ve no doubt that there’s a disconnect between Cruise the A-List star and Cruise the guy who seems to have free reign of Scientology as well as access to all the really dark sh*t that’s allegedly ruined thousands of people’s lives. So why is Remini bringing this up now? Here’s the thing — people like Tom Cruise now. The Mission: Impossible movies keep getting better, Cruise is pandering to nostalgia with a Top Gun sequel, and most importantly, he’s shut the f**k up about thetans and Xenu. So, it’s easier for people to put the Scientology stuff aside to spend a couple of hours watching Ethan Hunt fling himself off the side of buildings. I wrote in 2017 that his new public image was that of an invincible force beyond mere human, and I stand by it. Perhaps Remini wanted to remind people that there’s only so much one can avert their eyes from the blinding truth.
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