Despite controversies, Tom Cruise is still one of Hollywood’s most popular stars
Sunday - 11/06/2017 18:49
WHAT is it about Tom Cruise? The quintessential movie star has been leading Hollywood’s biggest movies for years, whether in award-winning turns or big-budget franchises.
When his career first skyrocketed in the early 1980s, Cruise appeared to be an unstoppable force — and he remained that way. He is one of the last remaining industry A-listers who has maintained a sense of intrigue and excitement after decades of fronting films — this guy’s just got something. He lights up a screen no matter what role he’s playing, and because he’s aged so well, keeps up his electrifying charisma, and never lets us forget that he does his own stunts, the magnetic mystique of Tom Cruise is as unwavering as ever.
For every movie star success story, there’s usually an accompanying scandalous fall from grace — and we eat up both with equal enthusiasm. It seemed only natural that some dirty secret come out about Cruise while he was on top of the world, and it did. Not just one — a slew of secrets … and they weren’t of a run-of-the-mill Hollywood scandal caliber, either. The craziest thing about what we now know about Tom Cruise is that he was outspoken about his position, and at the beginning, they didn’t seem to be all that harmful. So Jerry Maguire was a Scientologist — so what? Danny Zuko was too. For a time, Scientology was Hollywood’s hottest club — until it wasn’t.
When he jumped on the couch and professed his love for Katie Holmes, we barely flinched. His feud with Brooke Shields (and assertion that her use of antidepressants to cure post-partum depression was “irresponsible”) may have left a bad taste in our mouths, but we kept going to see Mission: Impossible movies. The Cold War that followed a contentious interview with Matt Lauer that famously included Cruise calling psychiatry a “pseudoscience” didn’t put a dent in the performance of War of the Worlds. But when Lawrence Wright’s Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief came out, it seemed like the gig might be up. The untouchable Tom Cruise essentially revealed to have been complicit in the sinister, abusive underbelly of The Church of the Scientology — and perhaps even second in command to the notoriously violent David Miscavige. For those the book didn’t reach, HBO’s documentary Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief acted as an eye-opener to the Church’s abuses, but still — another blockbuster roared into theatres, and took home a substantial amount of dough.
Why didn’t Cruise’s complicity lead to a boycott of sorts? A condemnation of his behaviour by Hollywood peers? These alleged human rights violations theoretically should have resulted in protests and an investigation of the Church, but nothing has come of it. There’s something fishy about the whole thing — and perhaps it speaks to Scientology’s enduring industry power. Stars who are members of the Church are consistently given a pass by the media, and despite the recurring criticism of the Church in a variety of forms — television, film, and literature — there seems to be no stopping its rapid spread and domination of entertainment. Sure, it’s juicy for us to consume, but is anyone going to actually do anything about it? The answer at this current point in time is seemingly a resounding no.
Tom Cruise, Hollywood icon and indestructible movie star, will continue to carry big blockbusters on his back as long as we let him — and it doesn’t seem like we plan on holding him accountable anytime soon. Scientology influence aside, Cruise only has as much power as we allot him, and if the last ten years of his career are any indication, we sure like to see him rule. In an industry where abuse is the status quo, it makes total sense that Cruise, among other tainted names, would continue to operate under his sparkly white smile and enduring charisma. This is Jerry Maguire, Maverick, Ethan Hunt we’re talking about. A man as talented as he is stunt-ready. If Scientology didn’t stop him, what will?