Published June 29, 2005
|Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise|
I would guess that at this point, Paramount and Dreamworks execs are wondering what effect, if any, the bad karma from the premiere itself, coupled with Cruise's disastrous "Today" show interview last Friday, will have on Wednesday's opening box-office numbers.
I wonder how Cruise explained to Marty and Kathy Holmes how he picked the famous Carlyle Hotel in Manhattan as the place where the new families should get to know each other.
After all, the Carlyle is where Cruise lived with Nicole Kidman and their children for months at a time during their marriage.
Certainly Cruise's kids — Holmes' prospective stepchildren — must have mentioned that at some point along the way.
The kids, Isabella, 12, and Connor, 10, might have also mentioned to their father's new in-laws-to-be that they are home-schooled, not sent to either a parochial school or a non-denominational private academy like most children of celebrities.
Indeed, Isabella and Connor Cruise, like John Travolta and Kelly Preston's kids Jett and Ella, are home-schooled with an emphasis on the works of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard.
The Cruise children are tutored by Tom's sisters Cass and Marian, who have teaching degrees. The former lives in Cruise's Beverly Hills estate; the latter lives nearby.
All three sisters, including Tom's current publicist Lee Anne De Vette, and their mother Mary, converted to Scientology from Catholicism many years ago at Tom's insistence.
Martin Holmes, Katie's attorney father, may want to vet the Scientology Code of Honor that his daughter will have to live by now that she's converting as well.
Katie, after all, is a graduate of Notre Dame Academy, an all-girls Roman Catholic high school in Toledo, Ohio. In order to join Scientology, she would be required to renounce her Catholic faith.
Cruise himself sent me a lavish package outlining Scientology at Christmastime last year after I had a lovely lunch with Lee Anne De Vette in New York.
Among the rules outlined in the Code of Honor, which was part of the package:
1. Never desert a comrade in need, in danger, or in trouble.
3. Never desert a group to which you owe your support.
5. Never need praise, approval or sympathy.
7. Never permit your reality to be alloyed.
8. Do not give or receive communication unless you desire it.
10. Your integrity to yourself is more important than your body.
11. Never regret yesterday. Life is in you today and you make your tomorrow.
12. Never fear to hurt another in a just cause.
13. Don't desire to be liked or admired.
In the meantime, Cruise will be dealing with the fallout from his Friday interview on the "Today" show. It was such a train wreck that no less than The New York Times reviewed it on Saturday.
I do think Alessandra Stanley, one of my favorite writers, did it get it a little bit wrong, however. Stanley found Cruise's ferocious meltdown refreshing because it showed him unfettered by a controlling publicist. She dismissed host Matt Lauer for not being tougher.
That's where we differ. First of all, Lauer had to deal with the fact that, in the creepiest of ways, Holmes was sitting near Cruise on the set. The director cut to her often; she looked mesmerized, with a never-ending frozen grin.
What the heck was she doing there? She looked more like a disciple than a fiancée. It was almost as if Cruise had brought her for insurance, thinking Lauer wouldn't ask him anything tough if he basked in the light of his insta-romance.
Then, Lauer — ever the gentleman — was perhaps more personally invested in this interview than I've ever seen him. As Cruise's guard dropped and he became more unwound, Lauer did not lose his cool.
To hear a major movie star, with no degree beyond high school, rant these words: "There's no such thing as a chemical imbalance," and then proceed to denounce all of psychiatry, must have been delicious for Lauer.
Yet he rightly kept his cool, even after Cruise denounced the attention-deficit-disorder treatment drugs Ritalin and Adderall as part of a dangerous conspiracy to control children's minds.
Lauer pointed out that he personally knew kids — not his own, they would be too young — who had been greatly helped by the drugs.
Lauer: But you're now telling me that your experiences with the people I know, which are zero, are more important than my experiences.
Cruise: What do you mean by that?
Lauer: You're telling me what's worked for people I know or hasn't worked for people I know. I'm telling you I've lived with these people and they're better.
Cruise: So you're advocating it.
Lauer: I am not. I'm telling you in their case, in their individual case, it worked. I am not gonna go out and say, "Get your kids on Ritalin. It's the cure-all and the end-all."
Lauer: Let me take this more general, because I think you and I can go around in circles on this for a while. And I respect your opinion. Do you want more people to understand Scientology? Would that be a goal of yours?
Cruise: You know what? Absolutely. Of course, you know.
I also know children who have benefited from taking prescribed Ritalin.
While there are pros and cons to every medication, especially for kids, it is a fact that Ritalin and other drugs used for attention deficit disorder have been widely effective in turning some bright but unfocused children into excellent students.
Cruise nearly comes apart during the Lauer interview over testing for Ritalin and Adderall.
What he may spark if he continues his personal crusade against psychiatry — he has already started a battle with Brooke Shields over her treatment for post-partum depression — is a War of the Words that he may ultimately come to regret.