Is Tom Cruise taking Scientology to outer space? One tabloid article this week says so. Gossip Cop can provide a bit of insight.
According to a new Woman’s Day piece, Tom Cruise is planning to shoot a film in outer space in order to “impress” the “higher powers” of his church in the hopes of one day becoming its leader. The magazine quotes Jeffrey Augustine, a Scientology critic, who claims that “Cruise going into space will enhance his reputation in Scientology as the church’s first astronaut and space explorer,” and “the inside talk” within the church “will be about Cruise perhaps secretly meeting founder L. Ron Hubbard in space or members of an extraterrestrial race.”
The church of Scientology is known for its roots in science fiction, Hubbard having worked as a pulp science fiction writer before founding it. Augustine goes on to say that Cruise will be seen as a “Scientology trailblazer to the planets.” The outer-space film, he says, is “the ultimate get for Tom Cruise and Scientology. The prestige of NASA and Elon Musk follows Scientology’s patter of trying to appear legitimate by injecting itself into groups at the at the UN and legitimate charities.”
So, how much of this story is true? It’s complicated. Scientology is one of those things where anything you hear about them sounds kind of true, and also sounds kind of false. Jeffrey Augustine isn’t alone in criticizing NASA and SpaceX for teaming up with Cruise for a movie in outer space, which has indeed been confirmed. Tony Ortega, another outspoken Scientology critic, wrote that “any involvement with Cruise and NASA will provide fodder for countless new ads and come-ons from Church leader David Miscavige.”
Meanwhile, Karen De La Carriere, Augustine’s wife who was previously married to the president of the Church of Scientology International, seems a bit less concerned by the news. As quoted in The Sun, De La Carriere viewed it as a more benign publicity stunt for Cruise, NASA, and SpaceX. “It almost sounds like a Guinness world records stunt,” she said of filming a movie in space. “Who can do a full length movie like that?” But she agreed that outer space would appeal to Cruise as a Scientologist.
As journalists and ex-members who have devoted their lives to investigating one of America’s most mysterious organizations, Gossip Cop is inclined to believe what Augustine, Ortega, and De La Carriere have to say about it. That being said, we should point out that Woman’s Day has frequently used Cruise’s involvement with Scientology as fodder for ridiculous stories that are fully false, often having to do with his ex-wife Katie Holmes and daughter Suri.
In April of last year, the magazine tried to claim that Holmes was afraid Suri would be dragged into the Church by Bella, Cruise’s adopted daughter from his previous marriage to Nicole Kidman. “The church isn’t going to forget in a hurry how [Holmes] beat them,” the magazine’s phony source said. “She wouldn’t put it past them to use Bella to lure Suri back.” Gossip Cop was informed by Holmes’ spokesperson that the story was completely untrue.
That September, the outlet published a similar story alleging that Holmes was begging Kidman to help her “save” Suri from Cruise. The article was seemingly inspired by Holmes’ then-upcoming trip to Australia for a charity event, going on to claim that Kidman invited Holmes to stay at her Sidney home, supposedly to work on a “dossier” that “they hope will work in Katie’s favor” against Cruise and Scientology. Gossip Cop once again dismissed the claim: we’d been assured numerous times that Cruise was not attempting to get back in contact with his daughter, let alone recruit her for Scientology.
Gossip Cop cannot come to a verdict either way.