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Posts Tagged ‘Tom Cruise’

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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WEHOville.com Publisher Puts Himself Out There with ‘Ask a Gay’

Take my column, please. That has pretty much been the approach espoused by WEHOville.com publisher Henry “Hank” Scott with his weekly column “Ask a Gay.”

Patterned after OC Weekly editor Gustavo Arellano‘s “¡Ask a Mexican!,” Scott’s tongue-in-cheek responses to emailed questions from readers are a bold and brash attempt to connect with a major part of the WeHo constituency. Is it working? We’re not sure, but the format certainly has fun leapfrogging over usual letter-from-the-publisher boundaries. Here for example is how Scott began a recent response to a woman asking whether celebrities still need today to worry about staying in the closet:

So you’re asking me if Tom Cruise is gay? Don’t know. Haven’t slept with him. And seriously, he’s so not my type (I like ‘em edgy and have a thing for shaved heads)…

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Tony Ortega Gifts Gawker with Ex-Scientologists Rap Song

The latest Church of Scientology scoop fomented by former Village Voice editor-in-chief Tony Ortega is a Thetan level doozy. One that will be reverberating across MSM outlets for days.

The video itself is posted exclusively on Gawker together with a story by John Cook. It showcases a work-in-progress rap song recording laid down by a group of big-name former Church members. Led by Nazanin Boniadi (pictured), the British-Iranian actress at the center of a recent Vanity Fair cover story claiming she was hand-picked by the Church to be Tom Cruise’s girlfriend. One of Boniadi’s lyrics goes like this – ‘It’s a blind alley, like Kirstie Alley.’

In both the Gawker item and on Ortega’s blog, the critical role played by the tireless CoS watchdog reporter in helping flush out this material is explained:

In November, I was in Los Angeles and was hanging out with a British television crew that is making an hour-long documentary about Scientology for Channel 4 that will air in March. I told them about the song, and they were anxious to see if we could get [Tiziano] Lugli to play it for us. We met him at his Hollywood Hills home, and he took us into the studio.

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How Reddit Stole a Colorado Journalist’s Wizard of Oz Thunder

Friday was another bittersweet day for Rick Polito. Actor George Takei posted a screen grab on Facebook of the Boulder, CO freelance journalist’s hilarious bygone Wizard of Oz gag synopsis. However, because Takei sourced a Reddit user’s errant crop job, tens of thousands of people initially liked and shared an item that attributes the summary to the wrong guy: the late Lee Winfrey. (To Takei’s credit, this morning he added “Credit: Rick Polito.”)

Jay Leno first quoted Polito’s 1998 synopsis on The Tonight Show a decade ago. When the talk show host revisited the same material for a “Headlines” segment in late October, a Reddit user launched the synopsis on its merry viral way. With Polito’s name as the source author cut out. (It was visible on Leno, although somewhat cryptically, the attribution reads: ‘Inquirer Television Writer Lee Winfrey and Rick Polito of Universal Press Syndicate contributed to this report.’)

“Part of what bothers me is that both times, Leno presented this as a mistake in the newspaper, when obviously it’s a joke that I wrote,” Polito tells FishbowlLA via telephone. “My Marin Independent Journal TV column was syndicated at the time to the Philadelphia Inquirer and other newspapers.”

Jim Romenesko was the first to point out the viral mistake. “Romenesko did his homework,” Polito explains. “He called me up on that Friday [October 26] and then FishbowlLA picked up on it, as did Gawker, BuzzFeed, Entertainment Weekly and some other places.”

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THR Reviews Tom Cruise-David Miscavige as a Bad ‘Bromance’

With Tony Ortega having (at least, temporarily) suspended his daily blog missives about the Church of Scientology, it’s up to other outlets to pick up the e-meter slack. This morning, that honor belongs to Hollywood Reporter contributor Dana Kennedy:

The headline is a reference to a quote from ex-Scientologist Marc Headley, who deems Tom Cruise’s relationship with embattled church leader David Miscagive to be “the most intense, expensive bromance in history.” Later on in the article, Headley’s wife Claire repeats some damaging claims that the “bromance” is built on a lie, and that behind Cruise’s back, Miscavige has repeatedly mocked the actor.

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Newspaper Reporter Film Role Rewritten to Accommodate Talented British Thesp

Get ready to read and hear a lot this fall about David Oyelowo (pronounced “oh-yellow-oh”), the 36-year-old British actor who gained some prominence last year via The Help and Rise of the Planet of the Apes. He’s got four films coming out in the next three months: Lee DanielsThe Paperboy (October 5); 2012 Sundance award-winning drama Middle of Nowhere (October 12); Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln (November 16); and the Tom Cruise action drama Jack Reacher (December 21).

Oyelowo is very good in The Paperboy, playing one half of a crack Miami newspaper reporting team (together with Matthew McConaughey) that comes to Lately, Florida in 1969 to investigate the possibly wrongful Death Row conviction of a local man (John Cusack) for the murder of a town sheriff. The actor has a big fan in Daniels, who planned earlier to make a civil rights era movie with Oyelowo as Martin Luther King Jr. and has the performer in his next film, The Butler. From The Paperboy press notes:

Daniels rewrote the character specifically for Oyelowo, transforming the part of Yardley Acheman from a white reporter into a cultured and sophisticated black man, whose English accent helps him navigate the still largely segregated American South of the 1960s. “As a black man himself, Lee was very interested in how a black reporter in Florida in 1969 would have been greeted and how he would react in that situation,” says Oyelowo.

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Tom Cruise Publicist: He Never Forced His Religion on Katie Holmes

As part of their evaluation of how fallout from the scandalous Vanity Fair October cover story might affect the way Tom Cruise promotes his next movie (Jack Reacher), THR reporters Daniel Miller and Kim Masters share a couple of interesting official denials of the magazine’s Nazanin Boniadi claims.

The first comes from attorney Bert Fields, who says that if someone were foolish enough to believe Maureen Orth’s article, “even she [the reporter] doesn’t claim that Tom knew what she claims the church was doing.” The other is delivered by Cruise’s 42West publicist Amanda Lundberg (pictured). She says the VF piece was nothing but “lies designed to sell magazines” and then adds this bucket of cold water:

Lundberg denies that Cruise ever forced his religion on Holmes. “He has a right to believe what he wants to believe,” says Lundberg. “Do I think fans care about it? No. Do I think he owes anybody an explanation? No. He has a job to do, and he does it better than anybody. He has nothing to apologize for.”

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