Melbourne, Jan 18: Tom Cruise targeted James Packer as the ‘perfect recruit’ for Scientology during his crusade to convert wealthy and influential celebrities to his controversial Church in mid-2002, claims Andrew Morton in his biography on the actor.
Packer joined the campaign when he was extremely sad, overweight and left by his then wife Jodi Meares.
In his book, Morton describes Packer as the ‘raw meat’ Scientology needed to achieve recognition and credibility.
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“Not only was he (Mr Packer) wildly wealthy and emotionally confused, he was a well-known figure in a country that has been hostile to the faith, a 1965 (Australian) Government report accusing scientology of being ‘evil’,” News.com.au quoted Morton, as stating in the book.
“Dominated by his larger-than-life father (the late Kerry Packer), James Packer cut a sorry figure, overweight and out of shape.
“Not only had his One.Tel communications business collapsed, but his wife of just two years had walked out on him.
“His ‘ruin’ was obvious to anyone – and it did not take long before he was reading Scientology literature,” he added.
According to Morton, the ‘Mission Impossible’ star offered Packer a role as a samurai extra in the movie ‘The Last Samurai’ only to convert him.
Packer was immediately seduced, saying later he admired Cruise for his humility, values and decency.