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Published on April 23rd, 2013 | by Yellow Magpie

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Tom Cruise: A Fine Actor Under The Dark Shadow Of Scientology

Tom Cruise Photo By MTV Live

As this piece is being written Tom Cruise is standing tall. His film, Oblivion, has just taken in $150 million in its first two weeks internationally. Cruise is a rarity in Hollywood his films are consistently able to bring in huge amounts of ticket sales yet his performances still garner widespread praise.

There is no doubting Tom Cruise’s ability to act though the dark cloud, in the form of Scientology, may threaten to overshadow all of his considerable achievements.

A Troubled Upbringing

Tom Cruise, or Tom Mapother as he was then known as lived almost a semi-nomadic childhood having spent time in quite a few places growing up. Fuelling this peripatetic lifestyle was the patriarch of the Mapother household.

Cruise would later go on to describe his father as a ‘merchant of chaos‘. Tom Mapother senior was noted as a surly figure who seldom, if at all, interacted with his neighbours. A man prone to violent fits of rage, he would periodically beat the young Cruise offering no reason or motivation for the assaults.

Speaking to Parade, Cruise stated : ‘He was the kind of person where, if something goes wrong, they kick you. It was a great lesson in my life—how he’d lull you in, make you feel safe and then, bang! For me, it was like, “There’s something wrong with this guy. Don’t trust him. Be careful around him.”‘

His mother left his dangerously unpredictable father and moved Cruise and his three sisters from Canada to Kentucky in the United States. There the family would reside until eventually Cruise would live on his own.

Tom Cruise Photo By Kevin Ballard

Tom Cruise: The Talented Actor

There can be no doubting Tom Cruise’s acting abilities. A thespian with a keen self-awareness and nous for what is required for a successful portrayal, Cruise excels on-screen.

Possessing a ruthless work-ethic Tom Cruise fully immerses himself in whatever role he is portraying. He is also noted for commendably doing nearly all of his own stunts including the high-speed driving and martial art feats that appear in some of his films.

Though Tom Cruise’s performance in the 1983 film, Risky Business, marked him out as a rising talent it would be a movie three years later that would cement his place as a Hollywood A-lister.  Top Gun would make Cruise a household name on its way to taking $356 million in international box office receipts. Inflation-adjusted this figure is worth $746 million in today’s money.

Cruise would go on to reach commercial and critical acclaim in a wide-variety of films. As of 2013 he has been nominated three times for Oscars for Born on the Fourth of July, Jerry Maguire and Magnolia. Despite being one of the finest actors of his generation Tom Cruise has yet to win an Academy Award.

The Box Office ‘Sure Thing’

Tom Cruise is an economic powerhouse when it comes to movies. Worldwide, his films have made a box-office gross of $7.4 billion. His Mission Impossible franchise has totalled over two billion U.S. dollars over the course of its four films. The fourth film alone,Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol has taken in almost $700 million.

The closest to a box-office sure-thing in more than three decades of making films, only three Tom Cruise movies have flopped. Two of these films, the 1983 Losin’ It and 1985’s Legend were before the actor would go on to become a Hollywood A-lister. The only other title to do poorly was Rock Of Ages although Tom Cruise’s character still received praise from critics.

Tom Cruise's Former Wife Nicole Kidman Photo By Eva Rinaldi

Allegations Of An Invented Past

In his book, Tom Cruise: An Unauthorised Biography, Andrew Morton maintains that Tom Cruise has somewhat doctored his past. Cruise claimed that he was thrown over a chair by a teacher. This has been contested by school principal, Kevin McGrath who maintains that an event like that would have been extraordinarily out of character for a teacher, even in the 1970’s.

Tom Cruise, who is a dyslexic, attended one of the most progressive schools in Canada, Robert Hopkins elementary school. This was a learning facility  that was one of the best equipped to deal with dyslexia and meeting the needs of children who required extra attention.

In an interview Cruise claimed that: ‘I was forced to write with my right hand when I wanted to use my left. I began to reverse letters, and reading became difficult.

This is at odds with what we see in his films where he predominantly uses his right hand for most on-screen tasks. Morton notes that Cruise’s former special needs teacher, Asta Arnot, completely disagrees with the statement above as she encouraged left-handed children to write with their left hand.

While 12-year-old Tom Cruise had sufficient reading ability not to need extra assistance at Henry Munro school, Ottawa, according to teacher Byron Boucher who taught him.

Though it could be said that virtually all our memories are reconstructed especially those of our childhood. Thus they are subject to errors and encoding flaws. Similarly Cruise’s recollections could be an example of the inconsistencies of reconstructed memory.

The Height Of Tom Cruise

Few people’s height is the subject of as much speculation as Tom Cruise. Clearly this is partly because he was married to Nicole Kidman, a tall actress at 180 centimetres (5 feet 11 inches). Although perhaps the ultimate reason is the disparity between Cruise’s self-proclaimed 5′ 9″ (1.76 cm) and what most observers believe is his actual height, 1.70cm (5′ 7″).

The amount of deliberation that has been attached to Cruise’s height is still bizarre. The strangeness of this phenomenon becomes apparent when you consider that it is extremely rare for the public to talk about the height of other actors, be they short, tall or average.

Tom Cruise With Mimi Rogers Photo By Alan Light

Rumours Of Being Gay

One rumour that is in constant circulation surrounds Tom Cruise’s sexuality. To this day the myth persists that Cruise is gay. A rumour that is completely at odds with his past. Even while in secondary school Tom Cruise had a reputation of being a ‘ladies man’ who would woo girls with his charm and attractive looks.

There is no evidence whatsoever to support the assertion that Cruise is gay but a lot of substantiation to suggest that he is exclusively attracted to women.

Tom Cruise David Miscavige Photo By Scientology Media See Wikipedia Sharealike Policy For Terms Of Usage

The Dark Shadow Of Scientology

The nasty side of Scientology and its devastating effects on people and families have been well-documented and for reasons of brevity shall not be dealt with here. Tom Cruise was introduced to Scientology by his first wife,  Mimi Rogers. Rogers would later leave the organisation after her divorce from Cruise.

Eventually, the legacy of Tom Cruise may not be his prowess on the silver screen but rather his involvement with the Scientology cult. Cruise is regarded as being very close to the cult leader of Scientology, the highly controversial David Miscavige. It has been claimed that Miscavige regards Tom Cruise as his defacto number two. Marc Headley, stated in the October 2012 edition of Vanity Fair that ‘if he weren’t Tom Cruise the actor he would be the number two.

According to the author of the Vanity Fair article, Maureen Orth, Miscavige played a critical part in the break-up of Tom Cruise’s marriages to Mimi Rogers and Nicole Kidman. Both apparently had serious misgivings about the organisation and its leader.

According to Claire Headley in the same article, breaking up celebrity couples is a speciality of Miscavige who is alleged to have had a major part in the  collapse of Michael Jackson’s marriage to Lisa Marie Presley as well as Kristie Alley’s marriages.

Tom Cruise With Katie Holmes Photo By Angela George

 

Auditioning The Role Of Cruise’s Love Interest

The article by Vanity Fair claimed that Tom Cruise, with the aid of the church of Scientology auditioned young actresses for the role of Tom Cruise’s romantic partner. This claim has also being asserted by Morton. Among those chosen apparently included Sofia Vergara and Nazanin Boniadi.

One of the leading contenders was Nazanin Boniadi a young Iranian-born actress with a medical background and excellent credentials. Boniadi was also an Amnesty International spokesperson, a position that she still holds. In her favour was the fact that Boniadi was already a member of the cult.

Maureen Orth in a piece backed up by director, Paul Haggis, asserted that Boniadi unknowingly was auditioned for the role of Tom Cruise’s love interest after she gained the Scientologist’s approval. She actually thought she was going to be given a secret ambassadorial role. A caught-off guard Boniadi was then subject to a whirlwind romance with Tom Cruise.

Orth writes:

‘The degree of control Boniadi was subjected to by Cruise and the organization was mind-boggling, according to several sources. For the first three weeks she was isolated and not permitted to communicate with anyone. Despite the fact that her parents were deeply worried, she was allowed to tell them only that she was in New York on a special Scientology project, never that she was with Cruise.’

Boniadi’s relationship with Cruise ended abruptly seemingly after saying something that Miscaviage didn’t approve. It is believed that Cruise had someone else tell her the relationship was over.

Boniadi was allegedly punished for confiding in a friend about her troubles. This ‘friend’ is thought to have subsequently reiterated what Boniadi told her in confidence and the actress was apparently forced to work scrubbing toilets with a tooth brush and digging ditches in the middle of the night as reparation for this supposed transgression.

A short time later Tom Cruise would be seen appearing on the Oprah Winfrey show jumping on her couch while proclaiming his undying love for Katie Holmes, a woman he had only knew for a short period of time. Andrew Morton attests that Katie Holmes drew Cruise and Scientology’s interest when it came to their attention that she spoke favourably of him in an interview.

Tom Cruise And Katie Holmes Photo By Jay Tamboli

Litigious Litigate

Tom Cruise is highly protective of his image and is not adverse to suing when he feels that his name has been unjustly tarnished. This coupled with Scientology’s legal clout and litigation-prone habits means that Cruise can be quite a formidable foe in the court room and has successfully won many lawsuits.

Recommended Reading

You might also like to check out Yellow Magpie’s Tom Cruise Quotes: The Stalwarth Of Hollywood, Top Gun Film Review: Can The Fascination Be Explained and Oblivion Film Review: Raising The Bar For Science Fiction Films.

You may like to visit Vanity Fear to read Maureen Orth’s excellent article.

Tom Cruise: An Unauthorized Biography is a compelling read from author, Andrew Morton. It charts what Morton sees as a talented, hard-working actor that is nonetheless a controlling, manipulative personality that seeks constant attention and fame.

Blown For Good: Behind The Iron Curtain of Scientology is a fascinating account of the cult by former member Marc Headley who originally joined the organisation at the behest of his brain-washed mother.

You can obtain Tom Cruise: An Unauthorized Biography and Blown for Good – Behind the Iron Curtain of Scientology here from Amazon.

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For people living in Ireland or the United Kingdom, you can access: Tom Cruise: An Unauthorized Biography and Blown for Good: Behind the Iron Curtain of Scientology from here.

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For Canada: Tom Cruise: An Unauthorized Biography and Blown for Good: Behind the Iron Curtain of Scientology.

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For Germany: Tom Cruise: An Unauthorized Biography and Blown for Good: Behind the Iron Curtain of Scientology.

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For France: Tom Cruise: An Unauthorized Biography and Blown for Good: Behind the Iron Curtain of Scientology.


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