Jon Stewart to Tom Cruise: What happened to the old, “vulnerable” Tom Cruise?

29 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Does Thomas want to be Mrs Cruise?.

I’d say there have only been three action/espionage franchises worth mentioning in the last few decades. Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation lands in cinemas on Friday July 30, 19 years after the first time Ethan Hunt hung suspended from the ceiling as he tried to swipe files from a computer.

Mission Impossible Rogue Nation is almost ready to explode into cinemas and while it’s definitely a Tom Cruise film it’s a little-known Swedish actress who steals the spotlight. 31-year-old Rebecca Ferguson only has a couple of feature credits to her name (including a part in 2014’s Hercules) but there’s no doubt that she’s going to be a star, bringing a huge amount of presence and energy to her part as the mysterious Ilsa Faust.The constant clash of huge egos, the stress of hectic schedules and the long hours spent waiting on petulant actors – the film industry’s a tough enough place to work at the best of times.The A-list star reprises his role as IMF superagent Ethan Hunt in the summer blockbuster—his first film in the wake of the damning Scientology doc ‘Going Clear.’ Mission: Impossible star Tom Cruise began learning the real meaning of a self-destructive message when he became Scientology’s couch-jumping, psychiatry-slamming poster boy in the 2000s. There’s Bond of course, the grand daddy of them all, all Viagra’d up thesedays by an overdue injection of decent talent in front of and behind the camera.

Then Ethan was faced with having to destroy a deadly genetically modified disease in his second impossible mission, before having to save his girlfriend from a dangerous rogue arms dealer in the third. But spare a thought for the friends and family of Emily Thomas, a young British production assistant who’s reportedly in the running for the starring role of a lifetime.

But amid increasingly insidious accusations against the church—and recent rumors that he’s ready to quit for the sake of his daughter, Suri—Cruise’s silent submission to the David Miscavige regime belies the principled heroes he plays in $100 million blockbusters. Then there’s Bourne; for a few years a pretender to the throne, but now probably dead and buried unless Matt Damon suffers a catastrophic divorce and needs a payday in a hurry.

Then the IMF had to go rogue when it was implicated in the bombing of the Kremlin and now the team face trying to eradicate an anti-IMF in the latest of the tricky assignments. As soon as you hear the faintest echo of it, you know that the drama is about to quicken and that Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt will respond, Pavlov reaction-style, by performing yet another death defying stunt. So why, despite the scandalous allegations linking him to nefarious Scientology deeds earlier this year in the documentary Going Clear, do audiences keep flocking to see him save the world as ’90s era superspy Ethan Hunt? It all started with the training and the stunt support team which works with co-star Tom Cruise: “Vertigo training – so they’d put me in a harness and pull me up a meter and work themselves up.” And she also had backup if she ever felt like she wasn’t able for a stunt: “I knew I had this great stunt team and stunt double Lucy who is incredible.

The attentions of one of the world’s most powerful movie stars could go to any young woman’s head, especially one who may want to get ahead in an industry where the thrice-divorced Cruise has long been treated as a god. The damning accusations in HBO’s Going Clear, based on Lawrence Wright’s expose of the same name, say that when Cruise distanced himself from the church between 1992 and 2001 at then-wife Nicole Kidman’s behest, Scientologists waged a covert campaign to split up their marriage. A convoluted and cockamamie yarn about a secret black-ops spy network killing world leaders for fun feels as if it has been lifted from the bad old days of Bond movies.

And in every second that I couldn’t do something she would jump in.” But Ferguson didn’t want to miss out on all the action, so she took on the challenge and achieved some amazing things! “I rose to the challenge as well to try and do it. The scathing doc claimed Cruise himself suggested wiretapping Kidman’s phone, according to ex-Scientology officer Marty Rathbun, while the church ingratiated itself into Cruise’s superstar life by providing Sea Org slave labor and “re-educating” his adopted children to turn them against Kidman. Sequels can always be hit and miss, but history would suggest that getting the lead role in Mrs Tom Cruise IV might not be the happiest fate for any young woman.

According to the Alex Gibney film, the church actively recruited future Homeland actress Nazazin Boniadi to be Cruise’s girlfriend after his Kidman split, only to see Boniadi taken off assignment and punished for disrespecting church head David Miscavige. To make matters worse, anyone who isn’t Tom Cruise (looking a little ragged these days as franchise spearhead Ethan Hunt) has to stand around movie-splaining all developments (sample dialogue: “If A, B or C happens, then this could spell D, E or F for G, H or I.”) as they happen. After a stunning pre-credits sequence which sees Ethan run after, jump aboard and summarily disarm a jet plane full of nerve-gas missiles, the rot sets in quickly for . Rumours have been circulating for months that the scarily focused Cruise had found in Thomas the romance that has been absent from his life since he split up with previous wife Katie Holmes. Only a few decades ago the 5-foot-7 charmer with a marquee smile had bested Air Force pilots, NASCAR champs, Jack Nicholson, and corporate America on his way to becoming Hollywood’s biggest box office star.

Hunt’s longtime handlers at the IMF (led by Jeremy Renner as Agent Brandt) have been absorbed by the CIA, whose blustery boss (Alec Baldwin) wants Hunt and his buddies yanked from the field ASAP. As Ethan dangles from aeroplane wings or faces being cut into pieces by the “bone doctor” or goes for over three minutes without taking a breath, viewers are likely to be so caught up in the moment that they won’t question why he needs to take such hare-brained risks in the first place. Hunt, as is his style, ignores the order to down tools, and goes off the grid to expose and eradicate ‘The Syndicate’ (an anti-IMF mob comprised of bad dudes long presumed to be dead by all authorities). A series of globetrotting location switches invariably ushers in an action sequence of high quality (Austria for an assassination at the Vienna Opera, Morocco for a deep dive inside a subterranean water facility, Great Britain for a kidnapping of the PM) and then yet more explanatory yapping of low quality.

This is a film which whisks us for no very good reason from London to Vienna to Morocco with brief stop-offs in Havana and elsewhere – and then back to London. Of the support cast, only newcomer Rebecca Ferguson (a mysterious double agent) and Simon Pegg (expanded comic relief duties) register any fleeting impact here. You also get to set up your own IMF base, where you can play co-op with other players, combine resources and defend or take on other bases at your will. But Cruise’s rock-solid, twinkly-eyed, all-American star power took a hit—several hits, in quick succession—as his tabloid life encroached on his screen life and the specter of shadowy Scientology puppet masters became part of his brand. As for Alec Baldwin, he may never live down having to deliver the worst line of idiotic dialogue (”Ethan Hunt is the living manifestation of destiny, and he has made you his mission”) this side of an Adam Sandler picture.

So he’s come in and explains the different areas of lung capacity and usually it’s just the knowledge and being relaxed and gradually we’d expand the time.” “It’s about knowledge and when we pass something and realise we’re capable of so much more. The centre-piece, for me at least, is a motorbike chase that actually looked genuinely fast and dangerous, which is a rarity now on our CGI-drenched screens. After an excruciating scene in which we hear Ethan discuss classic hipster jazz in very stiff fashion as he leafs through the vinyl in a London record shop, we discover his real adversaries. They’re hell bent on world domination – and on eradicating the IMF (The Impossible Mission Force for which Ethan works.) The CIA under director Alan Hunley (Alec Baldwin) is gunning for the IMF too. When you go out running, turn on the app, put on your headphones and in no time you will hear hordes of zombies growling and groaning towards you and the only to avoid them is, you guessed it right, run!

It’s not just that by all accounts he’s a little odd, it’s also because anyone who marries him is essentially also marrying his beloved Church of Scientology. He followed those critical and commercial hits with Eyes Wide Shut, Magnolia, and Mission: Impossible II, the first sequel in his first franchise, which brought in $546 million globally. As celebrity figurehead of the controversial organisation, regarded in some countries as a dangerous cult, Cruise has always put his religion first and foremost in his private life – with dire consequences for the women he shared it with. Vanilla Sky, Minority Report, The Last Samurai, and Collateral—his only truly villainous turn—each added shades of intrigue and complexity to the Tom Cruise that America loved to buy tickets to see. Fuelling his loneliness no doubt will be his separation from his daughter Suri, who now lives with her mother in New York and sees little of her father.

Ron Hubbard-devised treatments; overseas, he was deemed a “self-declared militant” by officials in Paris, France thanks to his association with Scientology. Although the evidence suggests he is just as close to the church as ever, it was recently claimed Cruise was to leave Scientology so he can spend more time with Suri. Sources claimed that because the church had no control over her upbringing, they were close to declaring Suri a “suppressive person” – essentially, a pariah who should be avoided. Like a latter-day Douglas Fairbanks, he shimmies up pipes, leaps off high ledges, dives into whirlpools and generally shows off his acrobatic ability at every opportunity. Cruise cracked the practiced yet humbled superstar façade that he’d built up through the ’80s and ’90s in one surreal May 2005 moment, bounding up and down on Oprah Winfrey’s couch like a madman to prove his love for Katie Holmes. “If Cruise was hoping to fit into the zeitgeist by inviting fans into his intimate life, he misjudged the mark by miles,” writes LA Weekly film critic Amy Nicholson in her book Tom Cruise: Anatomy of an Actor. “Instead, he came across as so human that he seemed inhuman.

No, say sources, the fact he is being romantically linked with his PA, a complete unknown, shows that the days when he could have his pick of Hollywood’s most glamorous actresses are over. Cruise is so busy running and jumping that very little time is given over to developing the romantic sub-plot between Ethan and the beautiful spy Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson) who shadows him. Now they were doused with a bucketful, and they were agape with shock—and maybe schadenfreude.” At the time, doubters questioned if his motive was marketing.

Senior Scientology defectors have claimed that in 2004, after Cruise split up from Cruz because she allegedly failed to embrace the religion, church leaders auditioned beautiful starlets to replace her. Ferguson plays Ilsa with an Emma Peel-like zest (and she even gets to dress a bit like Diana Rigg in TV’s The Avengers in black leather.) “She tried to shoot me,” one agent complains about her. “It doesn’t make her a bad person,” Ethan protests. Rogue Nation deserves awards for its music (scored by Joe Kraemer) and sound editing: the ingenious way it combines Lalo Schifrin’s theme with opera and then, during the prolonged motorbike chase, creates a mini-symphony out of the sounds of engines and gunshots. If, as Hollywood sources argue, women stars now run screaming from any romantic connection to him, Cruise and his Scientology friends have only themselves to blame.

Veteran carrom players can play delightful rebound shots and try to beat other gamers on multiplayer, while casual gamers can joust with the computer and hone their skills before taking on other gamers online. In the grand scheme of things, Katie Holmes was a relatively minor development in Cruise’s headline-grabbing run as everyone’s favorite Scientologist. A month after his Oprah outburst, Cruise crossed Brooke Shields over her “irresponsible” use of antidepressants to counter post-partum depression and outed himself as a true believer in some of Scientology’s most controversial beliefs.

Sean Harris plays the The Syndicate’s bespectacled leader Solomon Lane in suitably sneering and malicious fashion but is never quite as intimidating as might have been expected. There is a sprightly cameo from Tom Hollander as the British prime minister and an enjoyably sinister one from Simon McBurney as a duplicitous British spy boss who seems to have stumbled out of a George Smiley novel.

He or she has the ability to create new and better realities and improve conditions,” he raves over the sound of a cheap Mission: Impossible knockoff riff. For Cruise-watchers, it is and always will be too tempting to dig into his sci-fi canon for Scientology parallels and autobiographical nods on the screen—to search for clues that Cruise isn’t just drinking that Kool-Aid, but dosing his audience with subliminal messaging. Those M:I films, however, remain among Cruise’s top-grossing films—partly because they offer a consistent version of Tom Cruise audiences know, love, and remember that’s devoid of all things Scientology.

Ron, there are no distracting alien mumbo jumbo sci-fi parallels to be found in Ethan Hunt’s near-death adventures saving the world on behalf of the IMF. There’s barely even a consistent personality in Cruise’s Hunt, since the movies tend to give way to the director du jour—stylized Brian De Palma, action romanticist John Woo, slick and overplotted J.J. Abrams, cartoon architect Brad Bird, and in this week’s fifth installment, Usual Suspects and Jack Reacher helmer Christopher McQuarrie, who brings a classicist undercurrent to Ethan Hunt’s pas de deux with an alluring femme fatale. For every insane Scientological scandal that rocks Cruise’s now-carefully controlled image, these films will always harken back to the halcyon days of the ’90s, before he was exposed as a figurehead for the most controversial religious organization of our time. Although a joint public statement claimed the couple had “respect for each other’s respective beliefs”, Holmes privately sought assurances nothing would happen to “alienate” Suri from her when she is with her father.

Reportedly restricted legally in what they can say, Cruise’s ex-wives have not commented about the role of Scientology in their marriages to the star. Kidman still talks fondly of him as a husband, telling Vogue only this week her only real regret is that they didn’t have at least twice as many children. As for his Scientology minders, they just want Cruise to be with a woman who doesn’t try to get in the way of his relationship with Miscavige, says Tony Ortega.

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