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THE RED CARPET
The Social Diary Entertainment Columnist Fred Saxon
Column #1, January
CRUISING THE RED CARPET
Cruise was in the news often in 2005. His romance with
Katie Holmes, the couch-jumping on Oprah, and
his verbal sparring with Matt Lauer on The Today
Show all made entertainment news headlines. But with that kind
of publicity, 2005 was probably not the best year for Tom Cruise's
met Tom Cruise before he even had an image.
was December of 1981. I was interviewing for CNN on the red carpet
at the premiere of "Taps" a movie starring Oscar winner
Timothy Hutton and George C. Scott.
As Tim Hutton approached me I noticed he was with a young man.
I started to ask Tim about the movie and he stopped me.
we talk about me-or the movie I want you to meet this guy."
reached over and put his arm around a young actor I didn't recognize.
Pulling him closer toward my microphone Tim said, "He's in
the movie with me and he's a terrific actor. His name is Tom Cruise
and he's going to be a big star some day. Tom, this is Fred Saxon
with CNN. " Tim took a step back leaving me face to face
with a wide-eyed and nervous young actor.
was a handsome kid but I really had no interest in talking with
'new guy' Tom. I was there for the main attraction, Tim Hutton.
Tim had made it a point to introduce him so I thought it best
to be polite but at the same time not let the star of the movie
walk away without getting the sound bite I wanted. I had to ask
Tom a question that he could answer quickly so I could get back
to the Oscar winner. "Hello Tom, nice to meet you. How was
it making this movie?"
was young and seemed a little embarrassed as he gave a simple
and short answer. "It was good. All of the actors did a great
job and I'm happy I was in the movie". I was only half listening
while watching Tim Hutton to be sure he didn't disappear. Fortunately
the kid's answer was short and I had done my part. I then directed
my attention to Timothy Hutton to get the interview I came for.
Tom Cruise's career began to explode I searched for the tape from
that night, but it had been destroyed.
next spoke with Tom Cruise twenty years later as I sat down with
the actor to talk about his movie "Minority Report",
which was directed by Steven Spielberg. Before we talked about
the movie I reminded Tom of that night we first met, back in 1981.
As I told him about my memories of the premiere and meeting him
on the red carpet I could tell he was thinking, rewinding his
mental tape, and going back those 20 years. He said, "I remember
that, I remember that premiere. That was really very exciting."
were nervous I think, right? That was your first big film. You
were a little chubby."
course I was nervous, that was the first big picture I'd done.
Wait…did you say I was chubby?"
you a little heavier then?"
was actually lighter than I am now."
but you're muscle now."
was young, I was 18 years old. And Hutton was great. He was always
steered the conversation to Tom's new movie "Minority Report"
and he told me how much he liked the story idea from his first
reading of the script and how fortunate he was to be able to work
with directors like Steven Spielberg.
Cruise was with Steven Spielberg the last time
I spoke with him. It was the summer of 2005, at a press conference
for "War of the Worlds" in New York City. I was in a
group of about 70 broadcast and print reporters who were there
to ask questions of the actor and director. Someone from Toronto
asked about Tom's new-found romance with Katie Holmes. Someone
from Utah asked him about openly expressing his views on Scientology
on national TV. I was fortunate to be one of the dozen people
who got to ask a question. And it was this: "Your fellow
actors in the film say you have boundless energy on the set. So
I'm wondering, when you're not jumping up and down on Oprah Winfrey's
sofa, what's the secret to your energy?"
laughed, and so did the whole room. Then he told us simply that
he always has a lot of energy because he is excited about life.
He loves being alive. Then the press conference was over.
Tom Cruise is a big star and-in 2005-an outspoken and controversial
one. Before the confrontation with Matt Lauer on NBC Tom seemed
to always display a quality that few actors have. When sitting
and talking with Tom, one-on-one, he made me feel more important
and special than he was. He smiled, laughed easily, was most courteous,
and seemed genuinely happy to be there.
Tom Cruise get back to doing what made him a big star or will
he do more of what he did in 2005? Let's watch and see.
©Fred Saxon 2006
Fred Saxon was selected as the first Hollywood-based
entertainment reporter for CNN in 1980 and has been interviewing
Hollywood stars ever since. Fred has appeared daily on CNN, The
Nine Network Australia, KUSI MORNING NEWS, and FOX IN THE MORNING
with his entertainment reports, movie reviews and celebrity interviews.
Fred has also hosted the half-hour shows "Closeup,"
and "Fred Saxon's Inside Entertainment." He has been
awarded two EMMYS for his work on television. For more on Saxon
please visit www.fredsaxon.com
to New this Week......Fred
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