Hollywood has never known a more successful actor than Tom Cruise – or a more relentlessly happy one. He talks to John Hiscock about the joys of parenthood, Samurais and Scientology.
Tom Cruise comes into the Beverly Regent Hotel in Beverly Hills like a one-man Christmas parade. He exudes bonhomie and cheer, stopping to shake hands, slap backs and chat with fans and well-wishers. He has a smile and a cheery word for everyone. People who work with him say he is always the same: enthusiastic about everything he does and full of encouragement for those around him.
These things — you know, any time — where there’s ignorance about something or people don’t want to know about something, you know, it really gets back to gossip or, you know, just people don’t know something, there you have racism. There you have bigotry. And that’s where those things stem from.
The publishers of Apologetics Index publically challenge Tom Cruise to show where and how these research resources on Scientology are the result of “ignorance,” “gossip,” “racism,” and/or “bigotry.”
At the moment he is particularly enthused by his latest film, The Last Samurai, imbued as it is with themes of honour and integrity. He co-produced the film, which opens in January, and stars as the disillusioned and haunted US Army officer Captain Nathan Algren who, after America’s Civil War, is hired by the emperor of Japan to train the country’s first modern, conscript army. But as the emperor’s advisers try to eradicate the Samurai warriors, Algren finds himself impressed and influenced by the Samurai and their warrior code.
It is something that impressed Cruise, too. “The elegance and beauty of the Samurai, their spirit of bushido, of strength, compassion and fierce loyalty, their commitment to honouring their word and a willingness to give their life for what they know is right was something I couldn’t resist,” he said. “I just knew I had to make this picture. I have a very strong connection to its theme, as well as to the characters in the story.”
While always ready to talk about his work, nowadays he seems more eager than ever to also promote what he perceives to be the benefits of Scientology. The much-criticised religion plays a large part in his life and he wastes no opportunity to extol its virtues. As he does with everything he undertakes, he has immersed himself in it, and he digresses from discussing his career to talk of the teachings of Scientology founder L Ron Hubbard.
“I have literally seen miracles with people who have learned the study the technology of L Ron Hubbard and it’s something that has absolutely turned my life around,” he says.
Diagnosed as dyslexic at the age of seven, Cruise credits Scientology with everything from helping him to become an actor, producer and father to becoming a commercially rated pilot.
“It’s extraordinary. I wouldn’t be here now without it,” he says. Any criticism of Scientology he denounces as “bigotry and ignorance“.
While he persuaded his previous wives, actresses Mimi Rogers and Nicole Kidman, to accompany him to the Church of Scientology – they both dropped the religion after divorcing him – his current girlfriend, the Spanish actress Penélope Cruz, has so far shown no interest in joining him in his beliefs.
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