NEW YORK – Yes, he's wearing the braces. Yes, he says he's still with Penelope.
For the reporters Tom Cruise has been dealing with lately, these are the standard issue questions. For his latest film, Minority Report, Cruise seems comfortable answering the lightweight stuff, but is a little more measured on the meatier questions.
He's almost turning into the new Warren Beatty, someone renowned for long pauses after big questions. Still, when we first sit down in a Manhattan hotel suite, he's Tom. That smile, braces and all. That laugh when he wants to share it.
McCuddy: If there is a computer program that can predict human behavior, how's this interview going to go?
Cruise: There's a computer program. And you're going to be arrested. (Laughs)
McCuddy: (Also laughing) Depends on what I ask I guess.
Cruise: (That smile) Yes.
McCuddy: I've noticed that in the last few films you disfigure yourself or wear a mask. Are there days you don't want to look like 'Tom Cruise'?
Cruise: I don't really think about how I look. I know I've worn masks in four or five of the last pictures, but it's just been part of the story. It's fun.
McCuddy: What would you do with a day of anonymity?
Cruise: (Long pause) I don't really think of that. I don't think of, you know there is a side of me …you know I have that private time with my family and my work and I don't really kind of stand outside of myself and think. I don't know what I'd do.
McCuddy: There isn't a day when you would just go to the mall? Or go anywhere that you would normally be mobbed?
Cruise: (Laughs) I'm so busy that if I had a day, I don't think of my life, I just live it, you know? I mean, that's a very small price to pay to be able to do something that you love, and to have the opportunities that I've had in my life. I have no complaints.
McCuddy: What worries you about the future?
Cruise: The wonderful aspect is, you know, what's going to happen to technology, science, medicine. But also, you worry about how they are going to be used. Are the people going to be responsible? Historically, you know, look what's going on right now. It's something that ... you hope and want to insure that it's used in a responsible manner.
McCuddy: What do you tell your children about what's going on in the world right now?
Cruise: I work very hard in terms of their education, so that they can understand for themselves. I work very hard in terms of saying, you know, we live in a world that is getting better and better, but it's still filled with bigots and racists and people who are unwilling to communicate. But that's not all the world. I tell them also that basically people are good and that also as an individual you can make a difference.
A lot of the things we talk about in terms of helping someone every day. That's a big conversation in our house. Have you helped someone today? What have you done to help somebody? Even whether it's to pick up a pencil for a child and put it, you know, put it on their desk. What have you done? And I think that that’s something that's very important. You can make a difference as an individual. Even if it's that little thing, it makes a difference.