[[H U H ?]] * You won’t find me dissing Tom Cruise for his fundamental belief in the possibility of reincarnation; I, myself, am looking forward to someday coming back as the genius who figures out how to get the very last smidgen of toothpaste out of the tube. But Cruise’s assertion that he was once William Shakespeare ... well, that’s a bit hard to swallow.
The 43-year-old Scientologist and War of the Worlds star is quoted as claiming that he is “old beyond reckoning” and this current existence is “probably one of the least satisfying” he’s ever led. (I’m sure that his latest inamorata, Katie Holmes, will be pleased to hear that.) In previous lives, Cruise contends, “I wrote plays, composed music, conquered nations, discovered continents, and developed cures for diseases.” It seems he stumbled upon his long-ago role as England’s most renowned playwright while reading the complete works of Shakespeare, shortly after dropping out of high school. “Shakespeare was déjà vu for me,” says Cruise. “It was so cool. I felt as if I had seen his words already, knew them all by heart. Then, after I began studying Scientology, I realized the words had come from my heart in a previous life. That’s why I say that as glorious and enviable as my present life is, making War of the Worlds and all those other great movies can’t compare to writing Romeo and Juliet or the sonnets.” Gee, ya think?
Of course Cruise, whose most recent manifestation is that of confrontational TV celebrity-show guest and the willing subject of innumerable tabloid stories about his passion for the much-younger Holmes (Wasn’t it the Bard from Stratford, after all, who wrote, “They do not love that do not show their love”?), doesn’t restrict himself to having filled the shoes of just a single famous figure from the past. Oh, no. He also insists that he was once Johann Sebastian Bach, Christopher Columbus, and Napoleon Bonaparte. (What, no women?) Maybe in his next life he can at least return as less of a loose cannon.
FOLLOW-UP: Cruise’s “people” now claim their man has been the victim of a mischevious Internet spoof, that the interview in which Mr. Top Gun contended he’d been Shakespeare in a previous (and better) life was a hoax. Hmm. His “people” would do better to spend more of their time controlling their employer. The Tom-as-Will report sounded, in the context of what else this guy has done of late, totally credible.
READ MORE: “For Magazines, the Summer of Scientology Was Not Endless,” by Dylan Stableford (Folio).