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Tom Cruise Wants Joaquin Phoenix To Join Scientology, Play Villain In Next ‘Mission: Impossible’ Movie?

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Side by side shot of Tom Cruise and Joaquin Phoenix at red carpet events

By Andrew Shuster |

Side by side shot of Tom Cruise and Joaquin Phoenix at red carpet events

(Getty Images)

Tom Cruise wants Joaquin Phoenix to join Scientology and also play the villain in the next Mission: Impossible movie? That’s the phony claim in one of this week’s tabloids. Gossip Cop has learned the entire premise is made-up.

Star begins its article by focusing on the next Mission: Impossible sequel, quoting a supposed source as saying, “Tom has a very short list of people he’s willing to pay top dollar to join the franchise, and thanks to the success of Joker, Joaquin’s top of the list.” Actually, Gossip Cop suspects the only reason the magazine came up with this narrative is because of the success of Joker.

From there, the outlet says Cruise has another motive in addition to getting Phoenix to join his spy franchise – he also wants to recruit the fellow actor for the Church of Scientology. “Joaquin is someone he feels has huge potential as the next celebrity Scientologist,” adds the alleged insider.

It’s worth noting, Star’s sister publication, the National Enquirer, published a similar version of this report, but that one says Cruise wants Phoenix to co-star in “the next two installments of the Mission: Impossible series.” Star just mentions the next one. It’s never a good sign when related outlets feature a similar premise with divergent details.

One reason this story was concocted is because Phoenix was born into the controversial religious sect Children of God, which has since been deemed a cult. In a 2014 interview, the actor spoke about his experiences growing up in the organization, and noted that his parents left with him and his siblings once they discovered it was a “cult” and not a “community.” The actor has since said he’s not involved in any organized religions. There’s nothing to indicate he’d be eager to join another controversial church following his traumatic experiences as a child.

In fact, Phoenix has since explored the idea of organized religion through his art. The actor starred in the 2012 movie The Master, which was loosely based on Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. The film doesn’t exactly shine the best light on religious sects or its leaders. It’s hard to imagine Cruise would see Phoenix as a perfect candidate for Scientology when the actor made a movie that was critical of organizations like it.

Still, Gossip Cop ran the story by Phoenix’s spokesperson, who tells us on the record it’s “fabricated.” Cruise hasn’t reached out the actor about joining Scientology or the Mission: Impossible franchise. The tabloid’s article has more in common with creative writing and fan fiction than it does with journalism.

Meanwhile, this isn’t the first time a magazine has come up with a story about Cruise trying to get another celebrity to join his religion. Just last month, Gossip Cop debunked a phony NW article about Cruise begging Demi Moore to be his “Scientology bride.” Earlier this year, we called out the Globe, a sister outlet of both Star and the Enquirer, for falsely claiming Cruise was trying to recruit his Top Gun: Maverick co-stars for Scientology. This recurring trope is no more realistic when applied to Phoenix.

Sources

Bueno, Antoinette. "Joaquin Phoenix Opens Up About Growing Up in the Children of God Cult." Entertainment Tonight, 12 Nov. 2014.

Shuster, Andrew. "Tom Cruise Begging Demi Moore To Be His ‘Scientology Bride’?" Gossip Cop, 21 Oct. 2019.

Shuster, Andrew. "Tom Cruise Recruiting ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ Co-Stars For Scientology?" Gossip Cop, 6 Jan. 2019.

Susan Patricola, Spokesperson for Joaquin Phoenix. 14 Nov. 2019.