Till this week I was really on the fence about Tom Cruise.
As an actor, I quite like his work.
From his off film work though, I have wondered about him.
The often mocked & criticized Scientologist action star is in town right now to film "Mission Impossible 4: Ghost Protocol" and last night they had a public shoot.
I will go into more details about the shoot in my next blog when I post some video. But this blog is about Tom the person, Tom the P.R. machine.
Last night Tom did everything short of handing out money to win over fans. With Vancouverites having to have endured some pretty rude celebs in the not so distant past like Reese Witherspoon, the charismatic Cruise was a pleasure for celeb watchers in town.
On at least 2 different occasions Tom came over near the crowd, spoke to them (from a distance) & posed long enough for people to snap off a few pics.
When he left on his lunch break he again waved to the fans, let everyone get a couple more pics & waved to everyone lining the street that he drove off from.
it wasnt though till midnight that Tom hit a homerun with the fans, most of whom were already just happy with what they had up to that point.
On a break between scenes, Tom went from being Ethan Hunt, to being Tom Cruise & headed directly over to the crowd of a couple dozen onlookers that were still around. With two security guards (who were NOT very friendly) & a variety of crew in tow, Tom came over & interacted with the crowd. Taking photos with fans, talking to them, shaking hands & signing a few autographs.
As the crowd swelled (extras came over to join in the interaction as well) to around 100 people, Cruise didnt slow down. Each interaction seemed sincere, seemed appreciated by not just the fans, but Cruise himself. He often asked fans if the photos they took were ok & if they werent, he would pose for a 2nd, and a 3rd and he gave them suggestions on how to make the photo better if it still wasnt turning out. Who does that????
The only negative thing anyone had to say about the entire event was 2 things. 1- that his bodyguards were unprofessional in grabbing items from people (myself included) & thrwing them on the ground. Perhaps in their delusional brains they think they are above the law, that is actually a criminal offense, I suggest they think long & hard about trying to do it again. next time I wont be so naive as to let you take it (I actually though, like many other handlers have done before, he was taking it to get signed by Tom), because I will actually make an issue out of it. 2- The extremely aggressive fans. I often point out how its fans that are the problem, the pros are often the easier group to manage because we know how to act. This was example #1 of that. They were VERY pushy, often the entire pile of people would sway back & forth as people jostled for the space out there. Whats worse, 90% of them were literally there just to take a photo of him. They werent trying for a photo with, or an autograph, just a photo...something that coulda been done from 5 ft further back. In all my travels, I have NEVER seen such an aggressive display from fans & onlookers. It was truly disgusting.
Anyways, hes a few pics....video will come later of the scenes when I have more time. In short, Tom Cruise won over MANY fans last night...myself included.
During the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival, I met a few exceptionally friendly celebs. Most notably, The star of Clash Of The Titans, as well as the all time highest grossing movie, Avatar. Of course, that man is Sam Worthington.
I had the pleasure of catching up with Sam on the red carpet, first for his film with Oscar winning acting legend Helen Mirren in "The Debt". At that time I had made the strong statement that I thought Sam was the best signer at film fest. After that interaction I did run into another strong contender with Dexter star, Michael C. Hall. But Sam had a chance to put a stranglehold on the title...and he did.
Final day of my film fest, I happened to come across Sam at the hotel. There was about 5-6 of us waiting, and he signed ALL THIRTEEN photos I had at the same time. he made little comments, asking me what I was doing with them, told me he didnt care if I was selling them & even said good on me if I did. His easy going persona didnt stop with me. When a very cute Japanese girl asked him if he would remove his glasses for a photo with, he quickly responded in jest with "sure, if you remove your top", then proceeded to take off his glasses anyways, despite the girl not acceptiong his counter-proposal. With another fan who was getting an index card signed, he made her sign 1 for him & give it to him. Another fan he posed for a photo with, holding the signed index card from the other fan. He was just a joy to be around.
With any large venture such as a film fest, there is always going to be losers, and winners. This years biggest winner, my NEW Best Celebrity encounter Number 1 ranked star - SAM WORTHINGTON!
You can see my best, and worst list here
I occasionally argue with inanimate objects, but I usually win. So its all good.