Actor Tom Cruise sure knows how to get attention on the talk show circuit. The 46-year old actor, who last made news for jumping on the furniture during his “Oprah” appearance, once again grabbed headlines this week as he gave talk show host Jimmy Kimmel one of the nicest Christmas gifts in town.
The gift exchange happened when Cruise, who was appearing on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” to talk about the Christmas Day release of his newest film “Valkyrie”, handed over the keys to a fabulous cherry red Cadillac SLR V8 adorned with a big golden bow. A surprised Kimmel then countered by giving Cruise a large tin of popcorn – which got an obvious planned laugh from the audience.
Cruise is a well know car nut and, thanks to his many multi-million dollar movie deals, he gets a chance to live a life of luxury that most of us can only dream about. It’s a privileged position that he seems to share generously with others and which has allowed him to give cars as gifts to many people in the past.
In fact, Cruise is reported to have bought three cars, including a Bentley Continental GT Convertible, for David Beckham and Victoria “Posh Spice” when they moved into his Beverly Hills neighbourhood back in 2007.
And why not? After all, Cruise’s name has been synonymous with cars and craziness since the beginning.
We’ve all been in “Cruise control” ever since he danced in his underwear and dumped his dad’s Porsche 928 into the lake in 1983’s “Risky Business”. And Dustin Hoffman’s “Rainman” would never have discovered Cruise was his brother if it weren’t for a chance meeting over a 1949 Buick Roadmaster, straight 8, fireball 8 (only 8,985 production models which Dad lets him drive slow on the driveway).
Stock car racing in “Days of Thunder”, the new Mercedez Benz company perk in “The Firm”, and the fabulous $125,654 futuristic red Lexus 2054 in “Minority Report”, all lend credence to the “Cruise loves Cars” legend. And fans everywhere couldn’t get enough of the YouTube clip of Tom and Katie arriving at the Mission Impossible III premiere in a $1.3 million Bugatti Veyron. The only impossible task here was when Tom tried to open the door for Katie – it was stuck.
Now, in the movie “Valkyrie”, as he tackles a challenging role as a German soldier who secretly sets out to assassinate Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, I can’t help but wonder if he isn’t falling into that often rhapsodized art, imitating life, imitating art, pattern that so frequently follows the rich and famous.
Seems that Cruise, after studying the real life story behind “Valkyrie”, has taken the whole conspiracy theory to heart. Some months ago, during filming, Cruise had his extensive collection of automobiles all retrofitted with bulletproof glass, top-of-the-line security and bombproof features. He also sent all of his drivers to self-defence classes – just in case.
His fleet was outfitted because Cruise was said to be concerned about his family and children. At present, he has a two-year-old daughter (Suri) with Katie Holmes, and two adopted children (Connor and Isabella) with ex-wife Nicole Kidman.
So whether he’s actually worried about the kids, or just worried about the fact that he’s playing a Nazi, he seems more than prepared to put out for the protection and the problems that come with it.
And whether he’s jumping through these kind of hoops, or just plain jumping on Oprah’s couch – we all seem perfectly content to watch Tom turn his tricks. But is he just crazy – or is he crazy like a fox? Now, with a Golden Globe nomination on the horizon for his supporting comedic role in “Tropic Thunder”, we’ll all just have to sit back and wait until January 11 to find out.
Originally published on Automobile.com on January 8, 2009