As a wiser woman than ourselves once said, "Oh what a world, what a world." Defamer, having managed a temporary leap into divine schadenfreude greatness with its Tom Cruise coverage, inspires New York Times’ Hollywood beat reporter Sharon Waxman to write a piece saying, essentially, "um…what’s up with Cruise, guys?" The business angle â€” is new Paramount chair Brad Grey really going to go ahead with the incredibly expensive "Mission: Impossible III" when it’s entirely possible the movie’s star is very publicly losing it?
Or is he? Oh, he is. Richard Corliss in Time magazine tries out various readings of Cruise’s Oprah antics, from "he’s trying to appeal to younger people by acting like a hormone-crazed 14-year-old" to the "no matter how he behaves people around him (including his publicist, who’s also his sister) continue to affirm him" to our favorite:
Or maybe he’s experimenting with a new form of postmodernist performance art, or put-on, to get back in the spotlight. "People haven’t been talking about Tom Cruise like they have in the past couple of weeks," says veteran publicist Liz Rosenberg. "I mean, [his public affection for Holmes] is a little freaky to watch, but that’s what enthralls people about it."
Corliss also points out that it’s been a long 22 years since Cruise first underwear-danced his way into fame in "Risky Business," which means that he’s been a star longer than Humphrey Bogart. So we suppose he’s due for some looniness.
Not about Cruise, but published with ideal timing, is Sean Macaulay’s piece in the London Times on the famous eccentrics of the directorial world. He picks Doug Liman and David O. Russell as worthy successors for Alfred Hitchcock (who apparently obsessively cleaned every toilet he used, telling people "No one will know I was ever there.") and Ed Wood (where to begin?). Liman (whose oddities have already been detailed in part in the LA Times) just gets better and better:
On "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" Liman filmed scenes four or five times until he decided what he wanted. He even demanded more emotion from Pitt until it was pointed out to him that he was filming the back of Pittâ€™s head. But he is not all work. Liman had the crew stay late while on location near Prague to light up a forest so he could play paintball.
+ How Personal Is Too Personal for a Star Like Tom Cruise? (NY Times)
+ Is Tom Crazy in Love? (Time)
+ Recipes for fruitcake (Times)
An update: Someone has mentioned to us that they couldn’t tell from this post what we really thought about the new, frothy-at-the-mouth Cruise. To which we reply: we do not think. We can only gaze, enraptured.