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Wednesday, 26 June, 2002, 22:59 GMT 23:59 UK
Smiling Cruise lights up première
Tom Cruise waves to fans
The star pulled out all the stops to please fans
Tom Cruise wowed thousands of fans as he took a walkabout in London's Leicester Square at the UK première of Steven Spielberg's Minority Report.

He shook hands with hundreds of fans and signed autographs, spending an hour and a half with the crowd.

Cruise took mobile phones from fans in the crowd, speaking to their friends and family in a repeat of a stunt he tried at the prèmiere for psychological drama Vanilla Sky.

Samantha Morton
British co-star Samantha Morton has had a rapid rise to fame
Cruise, 39, said his only problem was getting the people on the other end of the line to believe it was really him.

"It's great fun to chat to people's friends and family members on the phone.

"I just say 'hello, how are you?', but most of the time they don't believe it's me. So sometimes they hang up."

Flashing his trademark toothy grin, now with brace, Cruise was greeted by high-pitched screams and chants of "we want Tom" as he walked around the square.

Fans had come from as far afield as Scotland and north Wales to wait outside the prèmiere and catch a glimpse of their hero.

Other celebrities

Immaculately turned out in a gunmetal grey suit and sunglasses, Cruise met every expectation as he moved around the huge crowd like a politician on the stump.

The star posed with British co-star Samantha Morton, dressed in a low cut grey marl Balenciaga mini dress, her hair chopped and bleached blonde.

Other celebrities attending included actor Nick Moran, boxer Chris Eubank and television presenter Dani Behr, with all of the lower reaches of the guest list failing to distract the crowd from their idol.

Tom Cruise takes a photo of himself with a fan
Cruise's performance more than satisfied the crowd
In the bleak futuristic thriller, Cruise plays a policeman in Washington DC in 2054 where crime is predicted in advance.

His walkabout was in sharp contrast to that of Britney Spears, who caused dismay among fans when she whisked into the venue at the recent UK prèmiere of Crossroads.

Liz Moore, 18, one of the many quivering fans to shake hands with Cruise, said: "He is so sweet. He stays so long, unlike Britney Spears when nobody got to see her.

"It is important that he spends time with the fans because he knows they make him."

Japanese student Azumi Yamashita, 18, tried to explain the diminutive star's appeal.

Mobile wait

"He is so handsome and a nice guy. Many Japanese girls fall in love with him."

Joanne Sharp, from St John's Wood, north-west London, had her mobile connected for 30 minutes before the star plucked it out of the crowd.

Cruise took the phone and spoke to her mother, Denise Coundon, 48, at home in Northumberland.

Tom Cruise shows off his brace
Cruise was happy to show off his brace
Ms Sharp said: "She loves Tom Cruise and he asked how she was. She couldn't believe it.

"She wished him a happy birthday for next week and said goodbye. She loved it."

As well as hardcore fans and passing tourists, the square was peppered with celebrating Brazilians, many drunk on caipirinha cocktails as well as football success.

Their chants of "Brasil, Brasil" and fluttering yellow and green flags must have been lost on the Mission Impossible star as he walked around the square.

But nothing could interrupt Cruise's dazzle, not visibly affected by strongly-denied reports his relationship with Penelope Cruz is on the rocks.

Balcony reprise

Cruz was absent, away filming, as was the project's director, Spielberg.

But Cruise was clearly feeling so good he came back out onto the balcony of the cinema after his walkabout and stood above flickering torches, beaming and waving before finally entering the auditorium.

When all of the Japanese football crowd-style whistling and squealing subsided, it was clear London still has a soft spot in Cruise's heart.

Model Tasha de Vasconelos arrives
Other celebrities failed to excite the crowd
He said: "It's really nice to spend time here and I am always very excited about coming to London.

"I am always surprised that so many people show up to see me and I just want them to know how much I appreciate it."

But some were bemused by all the attention being paid to the star.

Natalie Easson, 21, seemed unimpressed by the Minority Report extended trailer running on giant video screens in the square.

"Just because he has teamed up with Spielberg it doesn't mean it's going to be a good film."

Minority Report star Tom Cruise
"I think it's just a very exciting film"
See also:

26 Jun 02 | Entertainment
26 Jun 02 | Entertainment
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