Tom Cruise Promotes Movie in Mexico

The Associated Press
Tuesday, May 2, 2006; 7:56 AM

MEXICO CITY -- Tom Cruise whipped off his sunglasses with flair and flashed a winning smile as he greeted a hotel ballroom packed with journalists in Mexico's capital.

The 43-year-old new father traveled south of the border to promote "Mission: Impossible III," which he produced and starred in and which hits Mexican theaters May 5, the same day it debuts in the United States.

"We really wanted a story that's going to leave the audience feeling emboldened and empowered when they leave the theater," he said Monday.

Cruise previously starred in 1996's "Mission: Impossible," directed by Brian De Palma, and the blockbuster's sequel, which was directed by John Woo and debuted four years later.

The third installment of the film based on the 1960s television series comes amid controversy about Cruise's interest in Scientology and his relationship with 27-year-old actress Katie Holmes. The couple's first child, daughter Suri, was born in April in Los Angeles.

Cruise also has two other children _ both adopted _ from his marriage to ex-wife Nicole Kidman.

"The hours go by so quickly as I just stare at her," Cruise said of spending time with his newborn.

When a reporter asked about a widely circulated comment Cruise made during an interview with GQ magazine about eating his child's placenta, Cruise laughed and said, "That's ridiculous."

He later said he doesn't pay attention to media reports that criticize his personal life.

When he was done fielding questions, Cruise came down from the stage and mingled with journalists. At one point he even produced a small digital camera and snapped some pictures of those jockeying for position to photograph him.

As secret agent Ethan Hunt in the movie, Cruise battles international arms dealer Owen Davian, played by Philip Seymour Hoffman. The adventure begins when Hunt's boss, John Brassel (Laurence Fishburne), asks him to rescue a captured agent in Berlin. Other supporting stars include Billy Crudup, Ving Rhames, Michelle Monaghan, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Keri Russell and Maggie Q.

The plot explores the conflict between love and work, friendship and the possibility of failure. The film features several realistic-looking explosions, complicated intrigue and political references, but some viewers at Thursday's Mexico City premiere reacted with joking disbelief during several scenes.

Cruise said he began prepping for the role of Hunt while starring in Steven Spielberg's "War of the Worlds," which grossed US$591 million (euro468 million) worldwide, a career-record for Cruise. The film also set Paramount Pictures' highest-earning opening weekend.

"Mission: Impossible III" was directed by J.J. Abrams, who also created the U.S. television shows "Lost" and "Alias."

"He's a sensational filmmaker," Cruise said. "I wanted a J.J. Abrams 'Mission: Impossible.'"

© 2006 The Associated Press