Tom Cruise’s journey from Scientology maniac to ‘Top Gun’ hero

Of all the insane aerial maneuvers and tricky stunts in Top Gun: Mavericks, the most impressive thing happens on the ground.

Tom Cruise has returned to America’s heart, making everyone forget his days as a deranged ambassador for Scientology who liked to hop on Oprah’s couch.

The sequel – which has been delayed multiple times due to the COVID-19 pandemic – Earn a record $156 million Its opening weekend.

Cruise, 59, hardly looks like he’s spending his sixth decade. He’s still performing his stunts, showing off his impossibly ripped torso on screen and flashing his signature smile that captivated audiences early in his career.He’s everywhere, working on international red carpets in Japan and Cannes, and even hooking up with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, who He helped out at the film’s London premiere.

Tom Cruise helps Kate Middleton upstairs as her husband Prince William watches.
Tom Cruise helps Kate Middleton upstairs as her husband Prince William watches.
Reuters

Cruise’s fingerprints are imprinted in every aspect of the film, Including high-intensity flight training for actors and Aim for a theatrical release – The timing couldn’t have been more perfect. Moviegoers are even greeted with a pre-recorded message from the cast thanking them for coming to the theater to watch it.

It’s a triumph and a testament to Cruise’s enduring cinematic magic, so much so that it’s hard to remember that the “Jerry Maguire” star nearly became toxic 20 years ago and was labelled a quirky craze brand of the person.

While promoting “War of the Worlds” in 2005, the usually private star infamously stood on Oprah’s couch and confessed to then-fiancee Katie Holmes Divorced in 2012He then sat down with Matt Lauer of TODAY and berated him for using antidepressants, saying, “You don’t know the history of psychiatry. I do.”

Cruise in the May 2005 episode of Oprah's infamous couch jumping.
Cruise in the May 2005 episode of Oprah’s infamous couch jumping.
Tom Cruise with his ex Katie Holmes and their daughter Suri in 2011.
Cruise with then-wife Katie Holmes and their daughter Suri in 2011.
wired image

The damage to his reputation was magnified by the advent of celebrity blogs and YouTube, which allowed his outlandish antics to go viral. He is also increasingly seen as the face of Scientology, which is beginning to endure its own PR crisis. (In an embarrassing video leaked in 2008, Cruise glorified the virtues of Scientology.) He parted ways with stubborn, controlling publicist Pat Kingsley in favor of his sister, Lee. Lee Ann DeVette, it doesn’t help.

However, this is only part of the story.

At first, what happened offscreen didn’t affect his appeal on the big screen. In fact, the Steven Spielberg-directed film opened with $64.9 million.However, the following year, Viacom head Sumner Redstone briefly Ends Paramount’s working relationship with Actor Productionsciting his “unacceptable” fanaticism, which he said had a negative impact on Mission: Impossible 3 ticket sales.

The impact on Cruise was profound.

Tom Cruise returns as Pitt
Tom Cruise returns as Pete “Maverick” Mitchell in the “Top Gun” sequel.
© Paramount/Courtesy Everett Col

“Like he came out of the curtain, he threw him the tomatoes, so he closed the curtain. He made his world very small,” Amy Nicholson, author ofTom Cruise: The Actor’s Anatomy,” told the Post.

He lost his sister to veteran publicist Paul Bloch, who died in 2018.

Nicholson said Cruise had previously landed supporting roles in offbeat Oscar films such as “Rain Man,” opting instead for safe blockbusters that continue to attract money and adoration from the masses.

While he shuts down any attention to his personal life, he uses red carpet premieres to attract audiences around the world.

“I think Tom was always good at publicity. He was always the guy who would do more country visits and more red carpets and set the template for global stars. And then Will Smith followed,” Nicole Sen said.

Cruise drew crowds at Cannes last week.
Cruise drew crowds at Cannes last week.
John Rasimus/starmaxinc.com

Cruise has also resisted the trend for celebrities to become accessible and relevant on social media — to his advantage.

“It’s a lot of pressure to make pasta on Instagram Live,” adds Nicholson. “Do you want to be people’s friend or a movie star?”

Even someone like Smith who followed Cruise’s back, joined in on his wife’s obscene lies– broadcast their dirty laundry and details of their public marriage – forward beat Chris Rock at this year’s Oscars. Plus Johnny Depp’s grotesque full defamation trial Against his ex-wife Amber Heard, we’re watching Hollywood A-listers unravel in real time.

according to Matt Belloni of Parker Newsthe premiere of “Top Gun: Maverick” is highly controlled and the media is censored to make sure they don’t ask questions about Scientology.

American actor Tom Cruise gestures as he speaks during the official opening of a new church of Scientology in central Madrid on Saturday, September 18, 2004.
In 2004, Tom Cruise spoke at the official opening of the new Church of Scientology in Madrid, Spain.
Associated Press
Tom Cruise in controversial interview with Matt Lauer
Tom Cruise in a controversial interview with Matt Lauer.
Reuters

“It’s almost entirely TV, and the media are told they have to use pro-grade cameras and no iPhone lenses. It’s unusual, but Tom is Tom, and Tom has to look great,” Belloni said.

If there’s a shaky iPhone shot, it’s Cruise with fans, Nicholson said.

“When you’re working with Tom Cruise, you know it’s going to be a top-notch event,” said a veteran publicist who has worked with the actor for many agencies and premieres. “Everything will be done. He’s very focused.”

The publicist explained that he was a unique force during the premiere.

Tom Cruise gets up close and personal with Prince William at London premiere
Tom Cruise gets up close and personal with Prince William at the London premiere.
Pool/AFP via Getty Images

“He was a really nice guy for staff, PR and fans,” she said, recalling a “Mission Impossible” agency in Vienna, where the atmosphere was fiery.

He wraps up an interview, looks at her, and sees that she’s not feeling well. “He asked me if I was okay, if I wanted to stand in the shade. He was very knowledgeable about his surroundings.”

Aside from his controversial religious beliefs, he still has the influence of a true Tinseltown giant.

“When you’re in front of him, you feel like you’re in front of a movie star,” the publicist said. “There are not many actors I can speak of.”