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Posts Tagged ‘Tom Cruise’

Actress Who Auditioned to Be Tom Cruise’s ‘Wife’ Speaks Publicly for the First Time

Here’s another PR nightmare for the Church of Scientology, to be denied in short order, no doubt. It comes courtesy of Australian magazine Woman’s Day, which published the scoop in print over the weekend and has allowed U.S. side media partner Tony Ortega to post online at his end. (Ortega’s item includes additional, separate material; he worked alongside Woman’s Day U.S. reporter Henry Meller on this latest sensational story.)

In the articles, Norwegian born actress Anette Iren Johansen picks up on that infamous October 2012 Vanity Fair feature by Maureen Orth. She says she was one of the other actresses “auditioned” by the Church in the mid-2000s to be Tom Cruise‘s next, post-Nicole Kidman girlfriend-wife:

Until that time [Copenhagen, January 2005], she had made some appearances in Scientology magazines and training films, and she assumed this was something similar. She noticed right away that there was something unusual about this project. There was a makeup team, for example, which she’d never seen before. She wanted to keep it light, but the woman in makeup told her it was important for this audition to be made up with eye shadow and glossy lips…

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Tom Cruise-Katie Holmes Send-Up Rolls into New York

It was a smash in Chicago. Now, August 20-24 at the Players Theatre as part of the New York International Fringe Festival, TheTomKat Project is set to wow fans in the very city where Katie Holmes pulled the plug on her marriage to Tom Cruise one year ago.

The play, featuring just a few odd props and the narration of writer Brandon Ogborn, skewers celebrity, the media and the Church of Scientology. There is no pretense at conventional celebrity impressions; lead actors Walt Delaney and Julie Dahlinger don’t much look like Cruise or Holmes. But that’s half the fun, with the support of a  versatile group of co-stars:

Based on actual interviews and completely imagined scenes, seven actors portray 54 characters including Oprah Winfrey, David Miscavige, Matt Lauer, Scarlett Johansson, Josh Hartnett, Viacom chairman Sumner Redstone, Cruise/Wagner partner Paula Wagner, Steven Spielberg, Nicole Kidman and Suri.

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Leah Remini Hits Church of Scientology with Missing-Person Report [Update]

Where is Shelly? This question is a rallying cry for many of those questioning the operational side of the Church of Scientology and was also at the causal center of actress Leah Remini‘s recent defection from the ranks.

Although Church spokespersons vehemently deny the wife of David Miscavige is “missing” in any way, shape or form, they are about to face a whole new level of public curiosity. From Tony Ortega‘s Underground Bunker:

After speaking with the Los Angeles Police Department, we have confirmed that on Wednesday Remini filed a missing-person report for Scientology leader David Miscavige’s wife, Shelly Miscavige, who has not been seen in public in six years.

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Nicole Remini Fact-Checks the Chicago Sun-Times

First, there was Paul Haggis; then, no doubt, the fear that Katie Holmes would speak out if wrongly handled. One summer later, after the Cruise-Holmes divorce, the Church of Scientology’s media relations folks (and outside crisis PR firm) must now deal with the media pit stops of Leah Remini‘s feisty older sister Nicole.

It started, as we reported, with a Minneapolis-St.Paul FM radio station (Remini lives in the area). Today, it continues – and oh, how it continues – with The Underground Bunker’s Tony Ortega.

One detail that jumped out for us is Nicole’s allegation that a portion of Bill Zwecker‘s Sun-Times column is completely erroneous. Here’s what Zwecker wrote:

Since then I’ve learned the two actresses [Leah Remini, Kirstie Alley] have chatted and there is no loss of friendship.

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Tony Ortega Posts Another Open Letter to Tom Cruise

As with almost all things Scientology/media related, it started with Tony Ortega. The former Village Voice EIC, now blogging at The Underground Bunker, was first to the Leah Remini defection story ahead of the New York Post, Hollywood Reporter and countless other outlets.

Today, Ortega revisits an even bigger CoS celebrity story – Tom Cruise’s deafening silence – in the form of a second open letter to the actor. He posted the first in February 2012, while still at the Voice, and today asks once again how the man with the million-dollar smile can tolerate the sanctioned environment of his billion-dollar spiritual leader:

You remember the stink that Leah raised at your wedding to Katie Holmes in 2006? Leah was surprised to see that your best man, Scientology leader David Miscavige, was there without his wife, Shelly. And when she asked about it, Tommy Davis told her, “You don’t have the f*cking rank to ask about Shelly…”

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Tony Ortega Puts the Skids on Tom Cruise TMZ Item

Here’s a suggestion for TMZ. When the next need-for-verification Church of Scientology-tinged item comes along, like this Friday afternoon EXCLUSIVE speculating that a pair of wee-hour motorcycle riders were Tom Cruise and girlfriend, check with Tony Ortega first.

The former Village Voice editor-in-chief works tirelessly at the helm of his must-read Scientology blog The Underground Bunker. No one knows more about CoS celebrity members past, present and near future-than this guy. If TMZ had checked with Ortega, they could have easily avoided this Saturday morning admonition:

This isn’t the first time that ex-Scientologist Tiziano Lugli has been mistaken for Tom Cruise zipping around Hollywood on his Ducati motorcycle.

But TMZ? You’d think Harvey Levin’s outfit would want a bit more confirmation before deciding that a video of Tiziano and his wife Jamie is Tom Cruise and his “Rebound Chick.”

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Former Super Agent Leigh Steinberg Celebrates Three Years of Sobriety

According to an interview by AP sports writer Bernie Wilson, it was exactly three years ago on March 21, 2010 that former high-flying pro sports agent Leigh Steinberg officially stopped pounding back the vodka. What that means is that many better things lie ahead in 2013, including hopefully completing an autobiography and regaining NFL Players Association certification as a talent representative.

Steinberg is also in the process of soliciting financing for another Newport Beach sports agency. All in all, the man forever associated with Tom Cruise’s character in Jerry Maguire is authoring a gridiron-worthy comeback story:

On Saturday, friend and business partner Richard Gillam will throw a party to celebrate Steinberg’s three years of sobriety and his real birthday, which is next Wednesday.

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Cruise-Holmes Scientology Spoof Gathering Steam in Chicago

The buzz is growing for The TomKat Project, a bare-bones stage show running through April 24 at the Playground Theater in Chicago. Scientology watcher Tony Ortega let his readers know about it this morning and Tribune theater critic Nina Metz has just given the production a “Genius” rave:

It matters very little that Brianna Baker bears no meaningful resemblance to either Oprah Winfrey or Cruise attorney Bert Fields; she inhabits both with real skill and technique. This might be the best Winfrey impression I’ve seen, one that doesn’t overplay its hand but perfectly embodies her vocal tics and regal self-regard.

The Brandon Ogborn script sources media coverage of Cruise and Holmes from 1998 through 2012 to skewer celebrity journalism as much as it does Scientology. Ortega’s tipster, Synthia Fagen, says that Ogborn has told her there may be some interest from Comedy Central. [Editor's note: Please see reader comments below.]

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Paul Haggis Crashes Church of Scientology’s New Year

In the media this week, there’s something going on in reaction to the release of Lawrence Wright‘s book about Scientology that also occurred last year when Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes divorced, and separately when a Vanity Fair cover story outlined that whole business with Nazanin Boniadi.

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Our good friend Tony Ortega sums it up this way:

For those of us who watch Scientology closely, and have for many years, most of the [Lawrence Wright book-related] articles that have popped up in recent days seem to be gasping over things that have been known or written about for many years…

We would argue that for much of the public, the word [about Scientology] was already out long before today’s publication of Wright’s book. (Look at the reaction, for example, when on Monday The Atlantic magazine ran a paid church advertorial at its website extolling the virtues of Scientology leader David Miscavige. Even though there was nothing really wrong with The Atlantic taking the church’s money for an ad, the public denunciation of the magazine was so swift and loud, The Atlantic caved and took it down.)

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Tony Ortega Breaks Down Lawrence Wright Scientology Book Excerpts

The biggest thing from a media perspective about two excerpts published in The Hollywood Reporter from Lawrence Wright‘s upcoming Scientology book is that the author was able to get a familiar behind-the-scenes source to speak on the record. From Tony Ortega‘s blog:

The shorter excerpt is about John Travolta, told through his former [Church] personal assistant, Spanky Taylor. We guess it can be told now that Spanky has helped several of us reporters over the years — our relationship with her goes back over a decade — but Wright is the first to get her to speak on the record, ever. Maybe it was his Alabama charm.

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