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Last Updated: Thursday, 2 September, 2004, 22:24 GMT 23:24 UK
Cruise charms fans at UK premiere
By Tom Bishop
BBC News Online Entertainment staff

Tom Cruise
Cruise signed autographs and spoke on fans' mobile phones
Actor Tom Cruise spent two-and-a-half hours meeting fans at the UK premiere of his new film Collateral in London.

The 42-year-old arrived at the Leicester Square event ahead of co-stars Jamie Foxx and Jada Pinkett Smith and director Michael Mann.

He signed autographs for many of the 3,000-strong crowd, had photographs taken and talked on their mobile phones

The thriller, which sees Cruise playing the villain for the first time, has taken $80m (44.6m) in the US.

Screaming crowd

Fans began to gather outside the UCI Empire cinema on Thursday afternoon, holding photographs of Cruise while waiting patiently in soaring temperatures.

The largely female crowd sporadically practiced screaming and waved banners bearing notices such as "You Complete Me Tom - Marry Me".

In the movie Cruise's character Vincent takes cab driver Max, played by Foxx, hostage in Los Angeles.

Jamie Foxx, Michael Mann, Jada Pinkett Smith and Tom Cruise
Jamie Foxx, director Michael Mann, Jada Pinkett Smith and Tom Cruise
When he arrived at the premiere, Cruise ensured the film would not be overshadowed by pulling up in a yellow and red taxi bearing the film's title.

He wore a dark grey suit and shirt with a red tie that would have suited his hitman character, but displayed none of Vincent's grey hair.

Cruise proceeded to painstakingly work his way along the crowd, as he had done at the January premiere of his film The Last Samurai.

Meanwhile premiere guests and co-stars filed into the cinema, occasionally stopping to greet fans but not attempting to match Cruise's charm offensive.

Co-star Foxx said: "He never has a problem meeting fans. He comes down and shakes hands with people all the time."

I love it here - the sun is out - why would I not want to walk around for a while?
Tom Cruise

He added: "London is the best place to have a premiere. Sometimes people can get a bit jaded but everybody here has a great time."

He described Cruise's Collateral character as "the best-looking villain I have ever seen", working in contrast to the "reluctant hero" Foxx plays.

'Great artist'

Pinkett Smith praised film-maker Mann, who also directed the classic Heat, as "one of the greatest artists in cinema".

"It's always a pleasure to work with him because I know I am going to be a better actress at the end of the process," she said.

Having completed his marathon signing session, Cruise denied that he was trying to beat the two-hour record he set during the Last Samurai premiere.

Lauren and Julie Doherty
He looked me right in the eye when he spoke, and said he was having lots of fun in London
Lauren Doherty (left)
"I am not competing with myself," he said. "I do this because it is a great laugh. I love it here - the sun is out - why would I not want to walk around for a while?"

Many fans asked him questions about the film, he said, often quizzing him about specific sequences.

"I took this role in the movie because it was a difficult character who was very challenging to play.

"He is a contract killer with an antisocial personality. I tried to understand the impact that would have on society. The film is interesting and true to life."

With a wave to his dazed fans, Cruise span on his heels and disappeared into the cinema.

"He was completely down to earth," said 20-year-old fan Lauren Doherty, who met Cruise with her twin sister Julie.

Ruth Mintah and Pamela Bonsu
With this film he shows what a multi-dimensional actor he is
Ruth Mintah (left)
"He looked me right in the eye when he spoke, and said he was having lots of fun in London."

American Ruth Mintah, 17, met the actor with her British friend Pamela Bonsu, 15.

"He is a very nice man, spending so much time with his fans," Mintah said.

"With this film he shows what a multi-dimensional actor he is. Having seen him play Jerry Maguire and then this, he couldn't be more different."

"He picked up my phone and spoke to my sister," said Bonsu. "She still cannot believe it."

Collateral opens in UK cinemas on 17 September.

In pictures: Collateral premiere
02 Sep 04  |  In Pictures
Cruise meets with French minister
30 Aug 04  |  Entertainment
Cruise's Collateral tops US chart
09 Aug 04  |  Entertainment
Cruise's mission for new director
19 Jul 04  |  Entertainment
Auction offers lunch with Cruise
05 Jun 04  |  Entertainment


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