Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Mike Ovitz on Why Tom Cruise Wasn’t Criticized for Scientology in the 1990s: “We surrounded him, and we were so careful.”


There’s a new book out about the Creative Artists Agency called “Powerhouse” by James Andrew Miller. It’s an oral history and a lot of it is fluff. A lot of it reads like a corporate PR offering. But as we go through it this morning, there a few nuggets. Here’s an interesting bit from founder Mike Ovitz (Cruise’s agent) and Paula Wagner (Cruise’s agent and producing partner) about dealing with Tom Cruise’s interest in Scientology:

MICHAEL OVITZ: When Tom started to become a big star and got into Scientology, I went to see David Miscavige, the head of the Church of Scientology. But before I did— because I had no idea what Scientology was— I read the book Dianetics. I wanted to know the history of Hubbard. I was in the entertainment business; there’s nothing that could shock me, okay?…

I decided there were two ways to handle Scientology: Tell them how bad it is and fight them, or just embrace it and try to control any fallout. So I called Miscavige and said, “I’ve read everything,” and I said, “I love Tom, he’s been with us since he’s nineteen. He’s probably going to be the biggest star in the world. We’ve got to work together to make sure it all stays chill and cool and his image is right,” and he agreed.

PAULA WAGNER: One of the reasons I think Tom and I worked together as long as we did is that his personal life was his business and my personal life was my business. We were really professional that way.

MICHAEL OVITZ: I gave the wedding reception for Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman at the Barker Hangar at Santa Monica Airport. There’s an airplane museum and a hangar, and that’s where we had the ceremony and their reception. And sitting at the table with me was David Miscavige. By the way, let me tell you something very interesting: When Tom was a client of ours, you didn’t hear any criticisms on that, not while he was with us. We surrounded him, and we were so careful.


Roger Friedman
Roger Friedmanhttps://www.showbiz411.com
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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