Bringing the jabs. Tom Cruise’s Top Gun: Maverick was nominated for a prize at the 2023 Directors Guild of America Awards, and host Judd Apatow couldn’t resist a few shady jokes at the actor’s expense.
“The special effects in Maverick were so top-notch, I couldn’t even see the stack of phone books Tom Cruise sat on to reach the flight controls,” Apatow, 55, quipped in his Saturday, February 18, monologue, per Variety, referring to the 60-year-old actor’s height. “Remember when Tom Cruise jumped up and down on the couch [in his 2005 interview about ex-wife Katie Holmes] and we all thought, ‘What a lunatic!’ And now he rides a motorcycle off a cliff and BASE jumps and we’re all like, ‘Tom’s fine.’”
The Knocked Up director added: “Tom is not fine. Someone needs to explain to him something called CGI. You’re 60. Calm down. But every time he does one of these new stunts, it does feel like an ad for Scientology. I mean, is that in Dianetics? Because there’s nothing about jumping off a cliff in the Torah.”
Cruise, who has not publicly addressed Apatow’s DGA Awards remarks, first joined the Church of Scientology in 1987 amid his marriage to first ex-wife, Mimi Rogers. (After the couple’s split, he was briefly married to Nicole Kidman before moving on with Holmes, 44.)
“It’s something that has helped me incredibly in my life. I’ve been a Scientologist for over 30 years,” Cruise previously gushed about the religion during an October 2015 interview with ITV News. “It’s something, you know, without it, I wouldn’t be where I am. So it’s a beautiful religion. I’m incredibly proud.”
While the Jerry Maguire star has remained steadfast in his beliefs, his involvement with the controversial religion has made waves through the years.
“I think it’s time for people to start waking up to the real facts here. Tom has for years manipulated his image to be the good guy,” Leah Remini, who famously left the Church in 2013, told Us Weekly in a July 2020 statement. “Although I believe there was a time when Tom was a decent and kindhearted person, he has morphed himself into David Miscavige [the leader of Scientology] and is completely dedicated to Scientology’s mission to ‘clear’ planet Earth — which means making 80 percent of the world’s population into Scientologists.”
Apatow’s Saturday remarks about the controversial group are not the first time that Cruise’s religion has been the fodder for an awards show joke.
“Backstage I found these three Golden Globe awards that Tom Cruise returned,” Jerrod Carmichael said at the Globes last month, referring to the trophies that the Top Gun star gave back to the Hollywood Foreign Press Association in 2021 amid controversy about lack of diversity. “I have a pitch. I think, maybe, we take these three [trophies] and exchange them for the safe return of Shelly Miscavige.”
“The Los Angeles Police Department has already stated that the case is closed and that the report filed by Leah Remini was unfounded,” Scientology’s Media Relations team told Us in a statement at the time. “Creating this unnecessary burden for law enforcement was even more irresponsible given the entire episode was nothing more than a publicity stunt for Ms. Remini, cooked up with unemployed, anti-religious zealots who blog on the fringe of the Internet. Sadly, rather than move on with her life and career, Ms. Remini has aligned herself with a handful of untrustworthy, lunatic tabloid sources who obsessively harass the Church to advance their selfish agendas.”
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Cruise’s Maverick filmmaker, Joseph Kosinski, was nominated for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Theatrical Feature Film at Saturday’s ceremony, but he ultimately lost to Everything Everywhere All at Once’s Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert.