Tom Cruise and Steven Spielberg
Tom Cruise and Steven Spielberg got more than they bargained for in a recent interview for the German magazine Spiegel. Both the actor and his director were confronted with tough questions about Scientology and its influence in Hollywood.
Cruise was asked specifically why he had a tent set up promoting his religion on the Paramount set of his new film with Spielberg titled “War of the Worlds.”
“I felt honored to have volunteer Scientology ministers on the set,” he said.
Steven Spielberg tacitly admitted it was “an information tent” promoting a “belief system,” but then claimed that “no one was compelled to frequent it.”
If the Oscar-winning director makes a movie with Mel Gibson will there be a tent on that set for his schismatic Catholic sect?
How far does catering to stars go when making a feature film?
The reporter then asked Cruise if he felt that it was his “job to recruit new followers for Scientology?”
“I’m a helper,” said the middle-aged actor.
But then the one-time “samurai” made the startling claim that “Scientology [has]…the only successful drug rehabilitation program in the world…called Narconon.”
The German reporter then did something akin to Hara Kiri in Hollywood he disagreed with Tom Cruise.
“That’s not correct,” he told the star.
He then went on to say that Narconon “is never mentioned among the recognized detox programs [and] independent experts warn against it because it is rooted in pseudo science.”
Narconon is based upon the teachings of L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology.
The former “Top Gun” then told the reporter, “You don’t understand what I am saying. It’s a statistically proven fact that there is only one successful drug rehabilitation program in the world. Period.”
Apparently Mr. Cruise thinks that when people don’t agree with him they must not “understand.”
But the premise of the Narconon program is largely based upon something called the “purification rundown,” which has been dismissed as “not scientifically verified” nor “medically safe.” And Scientology’s claim about curing drug addicts has been censured by the British Advertising Standards Authority.
In fact, Narconon has been at the center of controversy recently within California public schools for the very reason that it promotes unproven claims. And as Mr. Cruise should know the very same type of Scientology-linked program has been sharply criticized in New York, regarding the so-called “detox clinics” the actor opened up there amidst much fanfare.
Mr. Cruise apparently doesn’t wish to be confused by the facts and instead dogmatically insists upon his Scientology version of reality, which incidentally includes a theology based in part upon space aliens revealed to Scientologists when they reach the “Operating Thetan Level 3″ or OT3.
There are eight “Operating Thetan” levels within Scientology.
Tom Cruise has reportedly reached at least OT6, which means he knows the space alien story called “the incident.”
Perhaps his latest film really reflects the essence of Tom Cruise’s current life, a kind of “War of the Worlds”?
On one side there is the real world of scientific fact and reality, on the other Scientology’s rather bizarre world based upon a mix of fiction and somewhat flaky philosophy concocted by a former Sci-fi writer L. Ron Hubbard, a man that had less than a stellar record for telling the truth.
Though Hubbard certainly never reached the stature of the author of “War of the Worlds” H.G. Wells, in Mr. Cruise’s mind he is messianic.
The star’s Hollywood crusade has included guided tours through Scientology’s “Celebrity Center” for Paramount executives. And it seems like if anyone wants to work with him in the entertainment industry they must pander to his penchant for proselytizing.
After all, no one less than Steven Spielberg has let him pitch a tent on a movie set for his controversial sect.
“Are you trying to extend Scientology’s influence in Hollywood,” the Spiegel reporter asked Cruise.
Spielberg again quickly jumped in to seemingly defend his bankable star.
“I often get asked similar questions about my Shoa Foundation,” the director said.
The reporter retorted, “Are you comparing the educational work of the Shoa Foundation [devoted to a study of the Holocaust] with what Scientology does?”
“No, I’m not,” responded Spielberg.
But then the director went on about how some people in Hollywood feel strongly about “very personal missions” and “in Tom’s case, it’s his church.”
Might that be his “Mission Impossible”?
Maybe everyone is getting a dose of religion in Hollywood these days, especially since Mel Gibson made so much money from his “Passion.”
However, the Spiegel reporter wasn’t moved and pointed out that “in Germany Scientology is not considered a religion…but rather an exploitative cult with totalitarian tendencies.”
Maybe someone should have told him that in Hollywood superstars have “totalitarian tendencies” and that their cachet can make almost anything palatable, even a so-called “exploitive cult.”
That is, as long as their box office grosses hold up.
On that basis both Spielberg and Cruise must focus on their mission to make “War of the Worlds” more successful than their last effort together “Minority Report.”