Liz Smith: Tom Cruise as "Jack Reacher" — He's No Hero

“YOU THINK I’m a hero? I’m not a hero. And if you’re smart, that will scare you.”

That’s Tom Cruise. No, no. It’s not what you think. It has nothing to do withKatie Holmes. Those words are spoken by Tom in the excellent first trailer for “Jack Reacher.”

The movie, based on the character created by author Lee Child, had its share of controversy when Cruise was cast. (Mostly that he wasn’t tall enough, didn’t have the right build or the required alone-on-the-road toughness.)

Tom looks tall enough in the trailer, and he certainly talks tough enough. We’ll see by December, when the movie is released, if we’re all still talking about Tom’s split from Ms. Holmes. No, we won’t be, actually.

By December we’ll have the same, or a new, president. I think that will focus most of our attention, especially if the race is going to be the neck-and-neck medieval battle everybody expects.

FOR CERTAIN we won’t still be talking about the rumored breakup of teen idol Justin Bieber and TV star Selena Gomez.  I came across a recent photo of the couple, under the headline, “Trouble In Paradise?” They both looked about 15 (though they are older.) What could possibly trouble these two skinny children? Acne?

“LAST NIGHT I dreamt I went to Manderley again.”

That is the famous opening line of Daphne Du Maurier’s tale “Rebecca.”  It was also used in the 1940 film version, directed by Alfred Hitchcock, starring Laurence Olivier as the broody widower “Maxim” and Joan Fontaine as the shy “I.” She is never identified by name in the book or the film.

Well, soon there will be a Broadway musical version of “Rebecca” and one only wonders what took this tale so long to morph into a musical?  I mean, if they can make a musical out of “Les Miserables,” or “Sunset Blvd” … ”Rebecca” seems almost cheery in comparison.

The show, with book and lyrics by Michael Kunze and  music by Sylvester Levay, will be directed by Michael Blakemore (“Kiss Me Kate,” “City of Angels,” “Noises Off”) and Francesca Zambello (“The Little Mermaid”).Graciela Daniele provides the musical staging.

“Rebecca,” which ran for three years in Vienna, stars Ryan Silverman as Max and Jill Paice as “I.” (Still no name!)  Theater mavens will recall that Miss Paice appeared in Trevor Nunn’s London musical version of “Gone With the Wind.”  Miss Paice has guts. I wonder which task is more daunting, playing fiery Scarlett O’ Hara or the nondescript “I.”

Mrs. Danvers in Rebecca (Vienna).

And but of course, there is the wicked Mrs. Danvers, who torments the new mistress of Manderley. She will be played by Karen Mason. What ominous, obsessive musical numbers have been dreamed up for “Danny,” as Rebecca always referred to her overly-devoted ladies maid?

Previews of “Rebecca” begin October 30. The show will open on November 18, at the Broadhurst Theater.

TONIGHT, THE first of the final six episodes of “The Closer” begin. This show, which airs on TNT, has truly showcased Kyra Sedgwick to an extent that sometimes, over the past seven-year run, I’ve kiddingly referred to her hubby,Kevin Bacon as “Mr. Sedgwick.” (Actually, both Kyra and Kevin are great actors, good human beings and not nearly as honored by their peers as they should be.)

Kyra promises that her quirky, career-focused homicide detective, Brenda Leigh Johnson will go out with a bang. Perhaps literally. Kyra says, “Brenda has to come to terms with the choices she’s made in her life and the ramifications of those choices.”

Seven seasons is just about the right time for any series, dramatic or comedy to fold its tent. I’m glad “The Closer” is going out while it’s still looking so good.  Too many of them hang on a season or two (or three!) too long.

END OBSERVATION: How do you run a gossip website with an assurance of hundreds of comments on certain stories? Well, Harvey Levin of TMZ likes to drive his audience crazy. He recently ran a photo of Tom and Katie (do we need last names?) dining in Iceland several weeks ago. It was dramatically slugged “The Last Supper.” Tom and Katie are not looking at each other, both their heads are down. “The handwriting was on the wall” reads the copy.

Well, the funny thing is, most everybody who wrote in said things to the effect of “Uh, the writing was probably on the menu!” But, hundreds of people didcomment, and each hit, positive or negative, is good for business.

Mr. Levin knows his business. He knows TMZ fans will always come back, no matter what they say! Let’s face it. TMZ is right on top of the news. (Years ago it used to be said, “If the National Enquirer says you’re dying, make funeral plans!” Now, substitute TMZ in that sentence.)

Despite the breakup, it does look like they’re perusing the menu. I hope Katie enjoyed what Tom ordered for her.

This column originally appeared on on 7/9/12

5 Responses so far.

  1. avatar Jay Gentile says:

    TMZ is gossip porn. I won’t read stories that orginate with TMZ and I won’t go to their site or watch the TV show (if it’s still on). Sometimes one has to draw the line.

  2. avatar TimIn808 says:

    Liz –

    Cindy Adams has a blurb in her column today about Barbara Cook ‘finally’ being home and undergoing rehabilitation. I can’t find any info and hope you have some to share. I adore her so much.



  3. avatar Baby Snooks says:

    Well it appears the divorce of “TomKat” is signed, sealed and delivered. That in itself will be good for a couple of months of speculation by the tabloids as to why it was so sudden and then so suddenly settled.  Maybe he just decided not to fight what would have been an ugly matter because of the Scientology question. And maybe she just decided to issue a warning about how far she would go. See, our minds don’t need the tabloids to wonder. In the end, who cares? In the end she is probably as self-absorbed as he is. And after the checks are written, she will probably be as rich as he is. Hard to feel sorry for either of them.

  4. avatar Baby Snooks says:

    Who I feel sorry for is Nicole Kidman. Must be awful to have your children refer to you by your first name as if you are just someone who was part of their lives at one point. Took her awhile to finally talk about it. Which must have been equally awful. 

  5. avatar Belinda Joy says:

    TMZ and the National Enquirer for that matter, do indeed get it right more often than not.

    I’m old enough to remember when the National Enquirer was something you read as a goof and used more for wrapping fish guts in more than anything. It wasn’t taken seriously…it was deemed “a rag” for a reason. But something happened when they started getting their facts right. No matter how much a celebrity or notable claimed to the contrary, the NE was accurate.  We need only think of the John Edwards fiasco or the constant rumors of Anderson Cooper being Gay, to know how right they can be.

    The only difference now with TMZ is they actually catch the stars on video behaving badly or in the middle of situations they shouldn’t be in.  Now when a celebrity, politician or notable makes the remark “you shouldn’t believe everything you read in the papers” I roll my eyes and think “No actually we should!”