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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 January, 2004, 18:52 GMT
Shrewd moves of charmer Cruise

By Chris Heard
BBC News Online entertainment staff

Hollywood star Tom Cruise has yet again charmed the crowds after spending two hours meeting and greeting fans at the London première of his latest film. BBC News Online takes a look at the strictly disciplined individual behind the red carpet smiles.

The effortlessly charming actor is famed for his ability to thrill his fans.

Tom Cruise
Cruise immerses himself entirely into his projects
What other star would take your mobile and speak to your aunt in Birmingham - or let you drape your arms round his shoulders for an impromptu snap?

Fans at the UK première of his new movie The Last Samurai were taken aback by his good grace as he took time to chat and pose for pictures.

But despite the fans' obvious delight, cynics would say the backslapping bonhomie that defines Cruise's promotional blitzes masks a shrewd ability to hit headlines.

Cruise, who hit the big time with Top Gun in 1986, has charmed world leaders including Japan's Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, when they crooned together to celebrate their love of Elvis Presley.

And the star also took time to pose recently for a photograph with New Zealand's Prime Minister Helen Clark.

Cruise enjoyed a traditional Maori welcome in New Zealand
He enjoyed a traditional Maori welcome in New Zealand
But Cruise's enthusiasm, as his fans can testify, is not just reserved for famous names.

He enjoyed a traditional welcome from Te Huatahi Maoris on his arrival in New Zealand for filming his Samurai epic.

And while he was filming there on location, Cruise also helped raise almost $8,000 (£5,000) to build an outside shelter for a rural school.

He called radio station Edge in New Plymouth, New Zealand, after it offered to pay $2,745 (£1,700) to anyone who persuaded the star to phone in live on air.

Those working closely with Cruise report that he is always enthusiastic about everything he does and is full of encouragement for colleagues.

Junichiro Koizumi [C]], Tom Cruise [L] and director Edward Zwick
Junichiro Koizumi [C], was joined by Cruise [L] and director Edward Zwick
At the same time he is perceived to be in complete control of his public image, frequently taking to the courts to tackle individuals or the media who print false rumours.

In 1998 he and his former wife Nicole Kidman won substantial undisclosed libel damages after the Express on Sunday magazine made false allegations that their marriage was a sham, designed to cover up their homosexuality. It had also alleged falsely that Cruise was impotent and sterile.

Express Newspapers apologised for the article and paid what was believed to be six-figure damages.

Three years later Cruise dropped a $100m lawsuit against a publisher after he retracted a claim to have a video tape showing the actor engaged in homosexual acts.

Tom Cruise with New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark on the set of The Last Samurai
He posed with New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark
In January this year he won a $10m case against a gay porn actor who had falsely alleged to have had an affair with him. The actor, Chad Slater, admitted the story was false.

And in 2002 Cruise and Kidman joined forces - a year after their divorce - to sue a retailer of luxury beauty products for allegedly wrongly implying that they endorsed its goods.

Underlining his determination, Cruise's lawyer has said the star will take legal action for defamation against anyone who spreads false rumours about him. In each of his legal victories he has donated the proceeds to charity.

The actor also has increased control of his work projects by running his own production company, Cruise Wagner Productions, with Paula Wagner.

Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman
Cruise was divorced from Nicole Kidman in 2001
Screenwriter Ron Moore, who worked with Cruise briefly on Mission: Impossible II, had nothing but positive words for the star.

Speaking in a recent interview for website FilmForce he said: "He was one of the better people I've met in the business.

"Smart, funny. No sense of, like, 'I am the star' to him."

Aged 41, the Oscar-nominated star began his current relationship with Spanish actress Penelope Cruz shortly after splitting from Kidman in February 2001.

He and Kidman are said to remain close for the sake of their adopted children Isabella, 10 and Connor, eight.

Tom Cruise, Minority Report
His film roles include sci-fi movie hit Minority Report
"I have always loved Nic and I always will," he told the Daily Telegraph in December, refusing to discuss the reasons for their separation (they had reached an "amicable" settlement).

Cruise is famous for throwing himself completely into whatever he does - a trait that can only continue as he moves further into movie production.

For The Last Samurai he learned horse-riding, hand-to-hand combat and Samurai sword-fighting.

"I take great pride in what I do and with every film I am looking for a challenge," he has said.




SEE ALSO:
Cruise indulges autograph frenzy
07 Jan 04  |  Entertainment
Cruise's Samurai film is US hit
08 Dec 03  |  Entertainment
Cruise launches Last Samurai epic
02 Dec 03  |  Entertainment
Cruise croons with Japan's PM
28 Aug 03  |  Entertainment
Cruise lobbies over Scientology
30 Jan 02  |  Entertainment
Kidman and Cruise reach 'amicable' deal
15 Nov 01  |  Entertainment


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