A much more sedated Tom Cruise sat down with Matt Lauer on the Today Show to promote his film Valkyrie and no, there was no use of the word “glib.” The interview was the first since Cruise’s widely publicized appearance in 2005 in which he discussed (perhaps “ranted” is the better term) psychiatry, antidepressants and called Matt Lauer “glib” because he was not (according to Cruise) informed about the history of psychiatry.
Cruise’s appearance in 2005 was supposed to be a routine interview. Cruise was conducting his press tour for War of the Worlds, but aliens were not exactly the topic of discussion on the Today Show. At the time, Brooke Shields’ struggle with postpartum depression was widely publicized and the Today Show interview became sidetracked by the Scientology stance that medications, especially antidepressants, aren’t healthy and shouldn’t be used. The discussion quickly became heated, prompting Cruise to famously snap, “There is no such thing as a chemical imbalance.”
Over three years later, a much calmer, even abashed Cruise appeared on the Today Show Monday morning. The interview began with smiles, with Matt Lauer quipping, “This is not a rematch. This is not Rocky II” and ended on a good note. Without directly mentioning the elephant in the room, Cruise stammered his way through to something like an apology. Through a great deal of halting words, he eventually said what everyone in America was thinking, “I thought, man, that came across as arrogant. I could have absolutely handled that better.”
Cruise said later, “I didn’t communicate it the way I wanted to communicate it. That’s not the way I am.” When Matt Lauer noted that Cruise wasn’t as outspoken about Scientology, Cruise acquiesced by stating that there is definitely a time and a place for it. Agreeing that a press tour for a new movie is neither the time nor the place, Cruise said repeatedly, “I’m here to entertain people.”
The release of Valkyrie, the WWII flick of the true story of the men who attempted to assassinate Hitler,marks Cruise’s 25th year in the movie business. The film is Cruise’s first “leading man” role since Lions for Lambs, or if you didn’t see that, Mission: Impossible III.
Cruise surprised many by playing the part of overweight and vicious movie mogul Les Grossman in the Ben Stiller hit Tropic Thunder in August 2008. The role recently earned him a surprise Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actor and prompted Cruise to say that he would like to do more with the character.
“I’ve started working with Ben [Stiller] on it, and we’ve kind of talked about different things to do,” Cruise told E! Online, “We were gonna do some in our free time, but we haven’t found the free time…yet.”
The Today Show
Marc Malkin, Tom Cruise: More of Les Grossman in the Works!, E! Online