The German newspaper, Der Spiegel, has conducted an interview with Steven Speilberg and Tom Cruise in the lead up to the release of Speilberg’s take on the HG Wells classic, The War of the Worlds. It’s actually a curious interview. After the initial pleasantries, Spiegel becomes provocative to say the least, questioning both about the US-centric focus of the film, then questioning Cruise about his belief in Scientology. Look in particular, for the way Spiegel catches Cruise out on three specific issues – the ethics of setting up a Scientology tent on the set of the film (after getting Speilberg to admit that he enjoyed raising fear in films like Jaws), the ‘effectiveness’ of the Scientology drug detox program, and Cruise mistaking intolerance for hatred.
It might take a fairly critical perspective to read this interview and see how Cruise has been totally annihilated during its course, but it’s well worth taking that perspective. Cruise is self-contradicting, foolish and downright wrong about several aspects of his beliefs. Speilberg comes out sparkling, but does appear rather protective of his star, when he tries to turn the discussion of Scientology into a discussion of the role of celebrities in forwarding their beliefs.