The Girl Next Door
Tom Cruise's Scientologist matchmakers invited Scarlett Johansson, Kate Bosworth, Jessica Alba, Lindsay Lohan and Katie Holmes to 'auditions' for bogus part in 'Mission: Impossible' series: book
According to 'Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood and the Prison of Belief,' the shenanigans began after Cruise stopped seeing Oscar-winning actress Penelope Cruz in 2004. Their split was reportedly in part over her failure to fully embrace Scientology.
York Daily News
By Larry McShane
Show me the honeys!
A bevy of Hollywood beauties summoned for auditions to star opposite Tom Cruise were unwittingly vying for the role of his third wife, an explosive new book reports.
The clueless contestants invited to pursue the bogus part in the “Mission: Impossible” series included Scarlett Johansson, Kate Bosworth, Jessica Alba, Lindsay Lohan — and bride-to-be Katie Holmes.
According to “Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood and the Prison of Belief,” the frisky business began after the “Risky Business” star ended his three-year relationship with Oscar-winning actress Penelope Cruz in 2004.
Their split was reportedly in part over her failure to fully embrace Scientology
During a postbreakup trip to Madrid for the opening of a new church, the book reported, “Cruise heatedly complained to his sister that no one had been able to find him a new girlfriend.”
Cruise — whose marriages to actresses Nicole Kidman and Mimi Rogers ended in divorce — made the same complaint to Scientology leader/best friend David Miscavige.
The church’s head man wasted no time in conducting his own celebrity version of “The Bachelor,” the book reports.
Miscavige immediately instructed church members to scour the congregation for its best-looking female members, the book says.
A lawyer for Cruise insisted that the girlfriend gripes in Spain never happened.
The courting of Tinseltown talent on Cruise’s behalf reportedly came after the collapse of his relationship with “Modern Family” star Sofia Vergara. The two went their separate ways after her refusal to join Scientology, reported Pulitzer Prize-winning author Lawrence Wright.
Cruise, now 50, turned his eye to actress Jennifer Garner — who instead married actor Ben Affleck in 2005.
His Scientologist matchmakers, under the ruse of tryouts for a part in a Cruise blockbuster, then invited the mostly A-list actresses to the “auditions” at the group’s Celebrity Center.
Cruise met Holmes in April 2005, leading to his infamous couch-jumping escapade with Oprah Winfrey, their marriage and the birth of their daughter, Suri.
Holmes, 34, split with Cruise in a divorce stunner in 2011, ending their five-year union.
According to the book, Cruise was earlier fixed up with Scientology member/actress Nazanian Boniadi, a 25-year-old beauty who was already dating someone else, a match that was first hinted at in Vanity Fair.
Church officials, intent on pairing the actress with Cruise, showed Boniadi proof that her boyfriend was cheating on her.
She broke off their relationship before boarding a flight to New York for a date with Cruise.
Their first night included an Empire State Building visit, dinner at Nobu, skating at Rockefeller Center and accommodations at the Trump Tower, the book reported.
The next day, she was asked to sign a nondisclosure agreement — an apparent sign of Cruise’s approval and her commitment to keeping her mouth shut about their relationship.
Church executive Tommy Davis informed the dark-haired beauty that her new role was keeping Cruise happy, according to the book.
“Davis warned her that if she did anything to upset Cruise, he would personally destroy her,” the book reported. “Davis and (Scientology official) Jessica Feshback were constantly tutoring her in how to behave toward the star.”
But the relationship fizzled out, and Feshback ordered Boniadi to pack her belongings and get out of Cruise’s home. The ex-girlfriend last saw the cinematic superstar working out in his home gym, and never heard from him again.
When an emotionally overwrought Boniada confessed her love for Cruise to another Scientologist, the church hierarchy punished the actress by making her scrub public toilets with a toothbrush, the book reported.
The church has denied the allegations of punishment against Boniadi for speaking about Cruise.
According to the book, church officials had a monetary interest in keeping their best-known member happy. He was a huge donor, providing Scientology with $3 million in 2004 alone. But Cruise’s interests extended beyond the church and the box office, the book reported.
In 2003, he and Miscavige reportedly lobbied the Bush administration to employ Scientology methods in the No Child Left Behind initiative. The pair reportedly were discussing their effort when the talk turned to politics.
“If f------ Arnold (Schwarzenegger) can be governor, I could be President,” Cruise said.
“Well, absolutely, Tom,” replied Miscavige.
Cruise’s attorney denied that the conversation ever took place.
The book also detailed Cruise’s attempts to recruit director Steven Spielberg into the Scientology fold. The Oscar winner directed Cruise in the remake of “War of the Worlds.”
Cruise became enraged after learning about a seemingly innocuous conversation between Spielberg and fellow director Paul Haggis during shooting on the movie.
“I’ve met all these Scientologists, and they seem like the nicest people,” Spielberg commented.
“Yeah, we keep all the evil ones in the closet,” joked Haggis — who abandoned Scientology in 2009 and became one of its most public critics.
Haggis claimed he was summoned by church management for a tongue-lashing over the remarks, followed by orders to write an immediate note of contrition to Cruise.
The Academy Award-winning screenwriter’s first draft was deemed lacking, with Haggis then penning an even-sorrier “I’m sorry” letter to Cruise.
A Spielberg publicist said the director doesn’t recall the brief exchange with Haggis, and Cruise’s lawyer said the actor does not remember the incident.
But Haggis — who also agreed to explain to Spielberg that he was joking — was stunned by the overreaction to the whole thing.
“It was a joke,” he said.