Cruise out of Control?

Radar Online looks at Tom Cruise’s recent publicity shenanigans– you know, talking about his religious views and consorting unconvincingly with inappropriate women– and lays the blame on his replacing uber publicist Pat Kingsley with his sister Lee Anne DeVette:

Suddenly, after years of inaccessibility, restrictive pre-interview contracts, and aggressive legal fuck-you letters to transgressors who dared ask what-must-not-be-spoken (Gay? Cult? Who fathered the kid?), Cruisie is out there in an unfettered way that has veteran Cruisologists scratching their heads. As the editor of one major celebrity mag says, “It used to be, like, ‘He’s a freak, he’s an android.’ Now that Pat is gone, he’s not as dark and weird and mysterious as he used to be.” Goodbye, I, Robot. Hello, The Passion of the Cruise.

In this new glasnost, Tom has decided that WOTW is an evangelical opportunity. His contract for the movie stipulated that the Church of Scientology be given a booth on set from which to proselytize to cast and crew. (“[They] were there to help the sick and injured,” Cruise says. Lee Anne, dear, are you high?)

With the door thus opened, German weekly Der Spiegel was the first to confront Herr Cruise. When, in a recent interview, he claimed that Scientology has “the only successful drug rehabilitation program in the world,” DS’s reporter called bullshit, with the facts to back it up. (Presumably DS doesn’t worry about being shut out of the halls of celebrity. Silly Germans.)

In the old days, when Pat Kingsley commanded the good ship Cruise, the DS writer would never have gotten to “-ology” before his tape would have been confiscated and his tax returns audited. Now the ship looks to be running aground. Cruisie lost his cool at DS, saying, “If someone is so intolerant that he doesn’t want to see a Scientologist in a movie, then he shouldn’t go to the movie theater.”

Unwittingly, Tom Cruise is now the focal point of a Great Entertainment Industry Experiment. If ‘War of the Worlds’ bombs, it will widely be perceived as being his (and his sister’s) fault for mismanaging his public image. But if it’s a hit– and mark my words, it may be– it will raise an interesting question: Does deft Kingsley-like publicity handling always have a monetizing value?