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Tom Cruise is life-threatening

Discussion in 'Translation and Text Composition Projects' started by TrevAnon, Jun 3, 2008.

  1. TrevAnon Member

    Tom Cruise is life-threatening

    Translation of “Tom Cruise is levensgevaarlijk”, NRC Handelsblad, Dutch newspaper, last week.

    “Tom Cruise is life-threatening”

    Biographer Andrew Morton on the religious fanatism of a powerful actor

    By Herien Wensink

    “Tom Cruise made his film Valkyrie about Claus von Staffenberg in Germany to create goodwill over there for his Scientology Church”. Andrew Morton, author of “Tom Cruise, an unauthorised biography” says so. After biographies on Lady Di, Monica Lewinsky, Madonna and David and Victoria Beckham he worked for two years - which for him is a long time – on the biography about the fanatical blockbuster-actor with the self-assured victor's smile. Only to find out that the guy was much more fanatic than he already thought.

    Different from when he did the Diana-biography, for which the author got a lot on information from the princess herself, the Briton Andrew Morton (1953, Dewsbury, West Yorkshire) he didn't get any collaboration from his subject this time. “I asked for an interview, but Cruise refused.“ However, he says he interviewed “more than a hundred” people, amongst them a lot of acquintances who knew the movie star in his youth. From their stories a credible picture of young Cruise comes up: a small youngster with an attitude and a will to enforce. A small length macho (according to Morton Cruise measures 1.70), who at times got bullied and suffers from his violent father, but gets spoilt by his sisters and his mother.

    From a bossy, aggressive adolescent he develops to a resolute, a times possessed young actor. In realising his ambitions he is concise and monomaniacal. Whoever might be able to do something useful for him is being charmed by him using his chats and a nowadays famous look: the eyes squeezed and the eyebrows a little frowned. But if he doesn't need you anymore you are being put aside just like that. “If he had had it with you, he really had had it with you”, Diane van Zoeren, a friend from his youth, summarizes it.

    De stories of his youth made Andrew Morton look differently to his subject, he tells in an Amsterdam hotel. “I wanted to write about Tom Cruise because of his remarkable behavior in the last few years: jumping the couch te witness of his love for Katie Holmes, the unreasonable attack on Brooke Shields, who, according to him, shouldn't have used anti-depressants during her post natal depression. I admired Cruise as an actor – I thought he was amazing in Magnolia an Collateral. - and asked myself what had happend to him: was he struck by a nerve compression? Did it originate from his strange beliefs? Public figures in strange situations – that struck me.“

    After he did some investigation on Scientology Morton developed a theory: Cruise was a “Manchurian Candidate”, like in the Richard Condon book: a brainwashed pupput on a string, misused by Scientology for promotional purposes. “But after I found out about his youth and his character, I realised I was wrong. The harsh, merciless Scientology belief system, the feeling of superiority of the parishioners and the fact that he is seen as the new Messiah in his community, make him feel very good in there. He stands behind the thinking and is ready to go really far when it comes to defending them. He has not been brainwashed and he is not confused, but he chooses it being in full possession of his faculties.”

    Fitness Center

    Morton's book also has all the clichés of the average actor's biograhpy – Tom Cruise visits a fitness center three times a day to get in shape for a role, Tom Cruise behaves like a military cadet outside of the set of the movie Taps (1981). There gets to be a good picture of Cruise as an actor though: he is not really a personality, but he works very hard and is especially good in the role of a spoilt, good-for-nothing but explosive person (lawyer, business man or yuppie) what decides to go the right way, like in A few good men, Rain man, The firm and Jerry Maguire.

    The book is full of bizarre little facts about Scientology, that is forbidden in Belgium and Germany. An example being the stalinistic prison camp. Another one being the ritual of the silent birth – loud sounds were to be traumatic for the newborn child – that Cruise and his third wife Katie Holmes had used during the birth of their daughter Suri. About the contracts with which parishioners are being isolated from their non-believing family. About the intimidation that is being put on critics. “All a bunch of lies”, so did Scientology say. However, Morton says: “I know tens of ex-Scientology members that assured me it was right. I had to be very critical on the information otherwise they will sue me immediatly.” Up till now Scientology did not take any steps, so says Morton.

    From ex-Scientologists he heard about the friendship that has developed between Cruise and the controversial Scientology-leader David Miscavige. “That relationship fascinated me. It is a very complex friendship between two men, in which the one defies the other over and over again. They race together, they skydive together. However, intellectual Miscavige gets the better of Cruise.” Cruise has changed on the outside, Morton thinks. “He has a more decisive tone of voice, he behaves offensive, has an angry, piercing look in his eyes, and – whenever he laughs – it's a fanatical laugh, as if he is possessed.” More than one ex-scientologist told him that Cruise is looking like Miscavige more and more.

    Morton's book can be read like a warning. He reacts fierce when confronted with the observation that almost any star has his own weird religion – for Madonna being it Kabbalah, for Richard Gere being it the Dalai Lama: “According to me there is no secret service in Kabbalah, and they don't have any prison camps. And as far as I know they do not strive for world domination or suspending psychiatry.”

    Millions of fans

    Morton being serious about it also gets clear from the last, rather bombastic part of his book, in which he warns the world for the “influential and dangerous” Cruise. The actor is said to be more powerful than most politicians. However, other than politicians, Cruise never has to defend himself for his irresponsable judgements like “psychiatry is a nazi-science”, and “methadon was first named adolphine, after Adolf Hitler”. Could that be because most people don't take notice of these judgements, and because Cruise doesn't have any real political influence? Morton: “Don't underestimate the ties between Hollywood and Washington. In the US actors can be senators or even president. Cruise is being invited and allowed in the most powerful groups of people. He came to visit Nicolas Sarkozy while he still was a secretary of state.”

    Other than John Travolta, who with Battleship Earth made a movie on Scienology, Cruise doesn't sell his convictions in his films. Morton: “No, he is cleverer than that. However, he nowadays uses his tv-interviews to promote his religion. He is willing to damage his own image to promote his church. On the other hand he is smart enough to try and repair the damage. He owns his own film company, bu he is talking to Paramount again, where he was fired before. The Forbes magazine still counts him among the most powerful people in Hollywood.”

    According to Morton Cruise shortly before his love declaration to Katie Holmes dated the Colombian model Sofia Vergara. That was not only a matter of attraction but also of marketing: in the mrs Cruise – role she might have added to the popularity of the Scientology beliefs in South America. In the same way Valkyrie being a German PR-project is not so far-fetched. Morton: “Off couse, he might have thought of it as an interesting story. But isn't it a coincidence: Cruise seldom works on a movie that won't be a blockbuster, and this one is situated in Germany of all places, where Scientology is controversial and they can use all the attention that they can get.”

    How will we look back on Tom Cruise as an actor? “The necrologies will be about Scientology as much as about his life. This crusade is a shadow over his career.”
  2. JimmyJames Member

    Re: Tom Cruise is life-threatening

    I was actually thinking about this earlier today. I had read an interview with Cher and she had described Tom in his early years of stardom. She said he was often made fun of in school and no one cared about him outside of his family. It seemed obvious that Tom would join scientology and come to power inside the organization. People wouldn't just follow his movie career, which could be over if he was in a flop film or two, but they would follow HIM. Spiritually. He would pretty much be able to dictate their lives, not in the world of going to the theater and tucking in some popcorn, but in their personal lives. People would look up to him as a leader, not as just a great actor.

    In scientology, they gave him the power he had always wanted. He'll never leave.

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