Tom Cruise spoofed in film 'Superhero Movie'

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Friday, March 28, 2008

Producers of the film Superhero Movie, out today, released clips from the film on the Internet parodying a Church of Scientology promotional video featuring Scientologist Tom Cruise.

Superhero Movie is written and directed by Scott Mazin, director of the 2000 comedy about superheroes The Specials. The film stars Drake Bell, Sara Paxton, Christopher McDonald, Pamela Anderson, Tracy Morgan, Regina Hall, Craig Bierko, Simon Rex, Leslie Nielsen, Marion Ross, Kevin Hart, Jeffrey Tambor, Ryan Hansen, Brent Spiner and Keith David.

Drake Bell plays Rick Riker, a young man figuring out how to use his superpowers. The film parodies blockbuster superhero movies including Spider-Man, Batman, X-Men, and Fantastic Four.

Tom Cruise in 2006.
Image: Kevin Ballard.

In the original Scientology video, Cruise discusses his faith and his opinion on what it means to be a Scientologist, while the theme music from his Mission: Impossible series of films plays in the background. The video, which was not intended for public distribution outside of the Church of Scientology, is nine minutes long and contains heavy use of Scientology terminology. The video appeared on YouTube January 15, two days before the release of a biography on Cruise by Andrew Morton: Tom Cruise: An Unauthorized Biography.

The Church of Scientology sent legal letters to YouTube and to Gawker.com, sites which were hosting the Cruise video at the time, and requested that they take it down. YouTube complied, but Gawker.com did not, and Nick Denton of Gawker.com commented: "It's newsworthy, and we will not be removing it." The video later appeared on websites other than Gawker.com, including the New York Post, Independent Television News and the BBC.

Attempts by the Church of Scientology to remove the video from the Internet motivated an Internet-based group known as "Anonymous" to take action in a movement called Project Chanology. Members of Anonymous bombarded Scientology websites and were successful in taking some of them down, including Scientology.org. Anonymous later changed tactics towards legal measures, and held international protests against Scientology on February 10 and March 15, with another international protest planned for April 12.

According to Scientology critic David S. Touretzky, the Scientology terms used in the video by Cruise have "entered the national lexicon", and the Scientology video itself has become something of an Internet phenomenon. Touretzky also referred to the negative effect on Cruise's publicity as a consequence of the leak.

Cquote1.svg Miles Fisher does an eerily dead-on impersonation of Cruise’s infamous leaked Scientology indoctrination video. Cquote2.svg

—Liz Shannon Miller, NewTeeVee

In the excerpt released online from Superhero Movie, actor Miles Fisher imitates Cruise in what Liz Shannon Miller of NewTeeVee described as "an eerily dead-on impersonation of Cruise’s infamous leaked Scientology indoctrination video". She also compared the clip to a different spoof of the Cruise video, by actor Jerry O'Connell. Craig Ferguson also spoofed the video in a clip on his show on CBS, The Late Late Show, as did the comedy website Super Deluxe.

Christopher McDonald plays the villain "Hourglass" in Superhero Movie, and told MTV News he was surprised at some of the parodies that successfully appear in the film: "The thing I didn't think we'd get away with was the actual Tom Cruise stuff. There may be lawsuits there."

A post at Slashfilm wrote positively of Fisher's performance: "Slashfilm would like to salute young actor and Harvard alum Miles Fisher for easily giving the best impression of Tom Cruise we’ve ever seen in the yuk-yuk comic book spoof." A post at MoviesOnline commented: "The actor hits every point he needs to and it is almost scary how close he is to the actual Tom Cruise way of thinking." Thomas Leupp of ReelzChannel.com called the scene "a dead-on spoof of Tom Cruise's now-infamous Scientology video". Ryan Parsons of CanMag wrote that Fisher impersonates Cruise "perfectly", and Ryan Tate of Gawker.com called the clip "the slickest crazy-Cruise imitation yet, as well as one of the funniest".


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Sources

Wikipedia Learn more about Tom Cruise and Superhero Movie on Wikipedia.
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