Monday, June 17, 2024

Tom Cruise: Sucker Punched by Sumner Redstone’s Viacom in Novel About Katie Holmes Marriage


When Hollywood heartthrob Steven Weller pulls Maddy Freed out of obscurity for a starring part in his newest, Oscar-worthy film, she feels her career roaring onto the express track. Steven’s professional attention soon turns personal as they are thrown together amid Europe’s Old World charm, and Maddy allows herself to tumble headlong into a fairytale romance with the world’s most eligible bachelor. She knows there’s no truth to the gay rumors that have followed him for years.–From the Simon & Schuster description of “The Actress”

No one ever accused book publishers of synergy with their corporate cousins. In the case of Simon & Schuster, they either have a lot of editorial independence or no one’s figured out that they’re owned by the same company as Paramount Pictures.

True enough Viacom owns both companies. Under the Paramount banner, Viacom produces the “Mission: Impossible” movies for Tom Cruise quite famously. Cruise used to have a long standing deal at Viacom/Paramount until Sumner Redstone “fired” him during the couch-jumping years. But they made up subsequently, and Tom returned with the biggest “M:I” movie of all, “Ghost Protocol.”

I guess the Viacom folks don’t realize that Simon & Schuster has just published Amy Sohn’s roman a clef novel about a Tom Cruise like character who’s possibly gay and gets into a fake marriage with a much younger actress. (See the description above.)

“The Actress” was published on July 1st and even got a big feature review in the New York Times from former film critic Janet Maslin. Subtle as a mallet, the Times review headline read: “Marriage With Eyes Wide Shut: Amy Sohn’s ‘The Actress,’ a Tom Cruise Roman à Clef.”

Booklist reviews said: “This may well be Sohn’s breakout book for its salacious look at a star obviously modeled on Tom Cruise and for its magnetic themes of lust and fame.”

This week, “The Actress” is splashed across the National Enquirer, where it’s getting a lot of play telling the “true” story of Tom Cruise.

And it’s not even like “The Actress” was published by S&S imprint Atria, which specializes in celebrity books. It’s from the hardcore S&S label, also the publisher of Hillary Clinton’s “Hard Choices.”

Readers have so far not warmed to “The Actress.” But continued publicity marking it as the Tom Cruise story using different names could gin up interest. Maybe Paramount will option it for Cruise and Katie Holmes as a reunion movie!


Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
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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