The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Monday, May 08, 2006


For the last weeks, there’d been speculation that Tom Cruise’s antics might hurt the box office for MI3.  Now, they certainly didn’t hurt “War of the Worlds,” which did just fine, but the 43 million weekend box office—10 million dollars lower than MI2 six years ago—has tongues wagging in Hollywood.

There may or may not be a connection, but it is certainly interesting to speculate how couch-jumping, Scientology, gay rumors and general weirdness might have changed or influenced public perception. After all—what exactly IS stardom, other than some incalculable connection with public good will.  It certainly isn’t acting skill, and may have more to do with sex appeal than anything else (which factor, alone explains to me why so many gay performers remain closeted). 

Personally, I couldn’t have cared less about Cruise’s histrionics.  To me, it’s all calculated public theater, and I have no idea what the man is like in personal life.  He has some strange opinions, but I’ve never met anyone who didn’t.  And I find that I’d love to spend a day talking with him about his life and philosophy.  But I do wonder if the public actions haven’t taken a toll…

Like Russell Crowe’s phone throwing, Meg Ryan’s adultery, Michael Jackson’s fondness for boys…the public does sit in judgment, fair or not.  And it’s hurt careers for a long time.

What exactly is the thing called “Charisma”?

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