tomnicole Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman Now Have Same PublicistEx spouses Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman now, oddly, have the same publicist: 42 West, formerly the Dart Group. It’s a company started by Leslee Dart, the dynamic ex-partner of Lois Smith and Pat Kingsley of PMK fame.

If only the bloggers who huff and puff on subjects about which they know very little had stopped to think about Cruise’s defection to 42 West from Rogers & Cowan they would have realized this. Kidman moved to 42 West from PMK-HBH over a year ago. She is personally repped by Leslee Dart.Cruise will be handled by the firm’s Amanda Lundberg, who handled the press for the god-awful “Valkyrie” and was the head of PR for Miramax in its heyday. Lundberg and her team are great but she’s not a miracle worker. “Valkyrie” remains a cinematic embarrassment.

Cruise was not handled for some time at Rogers & Cowan by Arnold Robinson or Paul Bloch, contrary to blog reports. Robinson let go of the account a long time ago to work on other clients. Bloch, a wise and gentle man who is beloved, also focuses on John Travolta and others. I am told that everyone at R&C was surprised to learn of Cruise’s defection. I was, too. I’ll tell you why.

R&C has been mostly effective at handling the woes of the Hollywood Scientologists. They do have Travolta and Priscilla Presley. Since Cruise has been with the firm, they’d calmed down his image tremendously. There had been no manic antics like couch jumping. Mostly, R&C put out a lot of pictures of Cruise and Cameron Diaz having fun while shooting what looks to be the very expensive “Knight and Day.” I was actually impressed that Cruise, who had been coming off in the press as a lunatic, was seeming more normal.

For Kidman, it’s hard to imagine what this means. She may go the route of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. She just hired their manager, Geyer Kosinski. The couple has no publicist, but relies on Kosinski to answer nothing for them. Maybe he’s convinced Kidman to do the same. That would be a mistake, but we’ll see. It’s not a good idea for the ex-couple to have the same flack company.

Cruise choosing 42 West is strange for another reason. His current wife, Katie Holmes, is repped by Ina Trecoikas. She’s now partnered with Stephen Huvane in the new Slate PR. Cruise’s agent is CAA’s Kevin Huvane, Stephen’s brother. Wouldn’t this have been an easier choice?

The whole trick with Tom Cruise now for 42 West is to keep him quiet, and present “Knight and Day” as a fun romantic comedy. If during the press lead-up for that movie the Scientology stuff comes pouring out, and Cruise begins preaching and debating, it will all be over. Right now a whole new generation thinks of him as the couch-jumping nut who speaks from Scientology podiums (or is it podia?). If that can be overcome, he’ll be fine. Otherwise, the era of Tom Cruise will be ended no matter who represents him.

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Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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