Although Mike Fleming’s deadline.com duties keep him very busy, he still finds the time to continue one longstanding freelance tradition. The Playboy interview.
Beginning with Robert Downey Jr. in the 1990s, Fleming has contributed around two dozen centerpiece Q&As to the publication, chatting with everyone from Denzel Washington to Harrison Ford to Quentin Tarantino. For the June issue, the A-lister across the tape recorder is Tom Cruise. Towards the end of the conversation, Fleming asks Cruise what he learned from that whole Matt Lauer–Oprah Winfrey train wreck:
“When I go back and look at it, I find myself thinking, I don’t feel that way. I get how it came across, but I don’t feel that way, and I never have. Telling people how to live their lives? I saw how that came across and how pieces were edited.”
Fleming also touches on Scientology. Although he does not specifically mention the release of an old Church video that arguably caused Cruise more PR harm than either the Lauer or Winfrey appearances:
“What’s interesting is, if I don’t talk about my religion, if I say I’m not discussing it or different humanitarian things I’m working on, they’re like, ‘He’s avoiding it.’ If I do talk about it, it becomes, ‘Oh, he’s proselytizing.’ Reviewing the whole thing and how things can be edited and misinterpreted, I decided, You know what? Here’s the deal… When I’m promoting a film, I’m not going to get caught up in anything else, and that includes all my personal things.”
To read the full interview, click here.