Cruise's Scientology baggage -- again

tom cruise scientologyTom Cruise's dumping by Paramount Pictures for his off-screen behavior brings Scientology back into the news. It's still too early to say for sure, but early news accounts are fairly clear that Paramount executives were put off by his crazy antics over the last year. Here is a Reuters report:

Paramount Pictures and actor Tom Cruise called an end to their 14-year production deal on Wednesday as the chairman of the studio's parent company took a parting shot at the movie star's off-screen behavior.

"As much as we like him personally, we thought it was wrong to renew his deal," Viacom Inc. Chairman Sumner Redstone told the Wall Street Journal in an interview posted online. "His recent conduct has not been acceptable to Paramount."

Paula Wagner, the actor's longtime partner in his movie company, Cruise/Wagner Productions, struck back at Redstone, calling his comments about the three-time Oscar nominee "offensive" and "undignified."

Scientology talk is going to be all over the blogs, but the angle is even slipping into news articles. Is that appropriate? Unless we know for a fact that Paramount officials were uncomfortable with Cruise's Scientology crusade and that was one of the reasons they dumped him, should it be included? I would think so, especially since his Scientology-related antics were part of public disapproval of him.

More from Reuters:

Days later a USA Today/Gallup poll found that Cruise's star power had dimmed considerably in the eyes of the public, with more than half of those surveyed registering an "unfavorable" opinion of the actor.

Many cited his off-screen behavior during the past year, including his intense public discussions of his faith in Scientology and his blunt criticism of actress Brooke Shields for taking medication to treat postpartum depression.

The implication is that the public did not approve of his intense promotion of Scientology. Since people did not approve of Cruise, they were less inclined to see his most recent movie, Mission Impossible III (I myself did not see it). Some would say it's all about the money, and when it comes to movie studios, I would sadly have to agree (if they were less profit focused, I believe they would produce higher quality films). To say that Paramount officials dismissed Cruise solely because he promoted Scientology is a bit of a stretch, but it's clearly part of that money equation.

Please respect our Commenting Policy