Fearing that Viacom-owned celebrity news outlets Entertainment Tonight and The Insider might prefer to run puff pieces depicting Sumner Redstone shopping for the shoes he was wearing when he put expensively shod foot to movie star ass yesterday in booting Tom Cruise's production company off the Paramount lot, producing partner Paula Wagner took her side of the story to Warner Bros.' Extra today, where she offered a somewhat expanded version of the talking points she's already provided to the newspapers. From the press release touting tonight's appearance:
"Extra's" Jerry Penacoli spoke to Paula Wagner, Tom Cruise's production partner, about Viacom's announcement that it was ending its 14-year relationship with the duo. Wagner said, "I think it's disgraceful that someone who wants to end a business deal...makes it personal...it's the height of unprofessionalism...we think people will find it hard to work with Paramount in the future."
On Sumner Redstone's recent statements about the spilt, Wagner says, "I think they are outrageous and shocking and I think the artistic community has already rallied around Tom and me in expressing their outrage."
Wagner went on to reveal the chain of events in regard to Cruise-Wagner's negotiations with Paramount. She said, "CAA ceased negotiations with Paramount Pictures on behalf of us, CW Productions, a week and a half ago. I think Sumner Redstone knew the direction or sensed the direction...and his actions were probably a preemptive strike."
About whether Cruise was fired, Wagner reveals, "Tom Cruise has been able to work with any studio as an actor. He has no deal with Paramount, never has. It's a complete fallacy to...say I'm firing you when in fact there's nothing to fire. If you're not working for someone how can you be fired."
While the idea of Cruise's fellow artists rallying around him is certainly inspiring, we imagine that any public show of solidarity would probably be limited to a Celebrity Centre bakesale, where the actor and John Travolta could commiserate about the fickle tastes of Hollywood over some tuna casserole, occasionally pausing to let Jenna Elfman know that while they appreciate her passionate support in her colleague's time of need, they really don't need her to go stand outside the Paramount gates and shout accusations about baby rape at cars entering the lot.
And also: Still waiting for Cruise to offer a word in his own defense. Just sayin'.