Tom Cruise avoided protesters at the LA premiere of his Nazi movie Valykyrie last night by entering the press tent from an underground garage and not going out to mingle with fans at all. He dealt with the controversy the same way at the NY premiere on December 15. Neither venue had an outdoor red carpet, and Cruise didn’t sign autographs or greet people waiting for him. Photo agency Splash News said that some fans stood in the cold for hours hoping to see Tom and had to leave disappointed.
It was a whos-who of celebrity Scientologists at the opening too. Many of the people who showed up but weren’t in the movie were easily identified as members of Tom’s cult.
High profile Scientologists Jenna and Bohdi Elfman, Priscilla Presley, and “Young and the Restless” actress Michelle Stafford were in attendance. There was a some pregnant singer I’d never heard of called Holly Palmer, and some other random actors and actresses. Not all of the non-cast premiere attendees are easily-googled Scientologists, but it makes you wonder. (For instance actresses Kelly Hu and Bree Turner aren’t listed on the IMDB credits for the film. A lot of random people show up at premieres, but with the Scientology angle it kind of makes you suspicious.) There’s nothing wrong with inviting your friends for support, but does Cruise want to keep reminding the public that he’s a member of one of the world’s most dangerous and oppressive cults? He said he wasn’t going to talk about it, but it’s not like he’s really distancing himself. His wife, Katie Holmes, and their daughter, Suri, were not at the premiere as they’re in NY where Katie is performing on stage.
Ultimately the public will decide if Cruise has redeemed himself enough to entertain us again. His press junket might have ended triumphantly if he was starring in a more palatable move, and he should have chosen lighter fare for the holiday season. Valkyrie is not likely to be successful in attracting ticket sales or more than one or two technical nominations from the Academy.
Credit: Protester photos from Splash News. Premiere photos from Fame Pictures. Also shown are Cruise’s co-star Carice van Houten, Kenneth Branagh, and Thomas Kretschmann.