Occasionally I get requests to do appearances in and around LA, NY, etc…but sometimes, sometimes the phone rings and the voice on the other end has a very thick accent and this very thick accent belongs to a very generous foreigner who would love for (NOT) TOM CRUISE to appear in their foreign land. These are the calls I dream about. These are the calls I yearn for. I never ever say NO to these calls. So, this very nice man named Ant Timpson, who hails from Auckland, New Zealand, asked me to donate a video to his widely regarded 48 Hour Film Festival sponsored by V (an energy drink that knocks the red out of bull). In the video, I was asked to thank the Maori people (which I purposefully mispronounced) for their hospitality during the making of the Last Samurai, which was filmed in the beautiful country. Long story short, the video was a hit, the crowd ate it up, and a week later, I was given the fateful news that I would be flown out to co-host the grand finale in Auckland. This was news to my ears. I had always dreamed of visiting the other side of the world and now I had my ticket! Essentially, from the moment I stepped off the plane until I left for LA, I was disguised as my alter-ego (NOT) TOM CRUISE, channeling the movie star for a full 4 days straight.
When I wasn’t in TOM CRUISE mode, Tim Groenendaal was my faithful guide, taking me to the beaches of Kare Kare (where ” The Piano” was shot), bought me my first pie (meat pie filled with steak and cheese) which was quite delicious, and took me to the incredible island of Waiheke, where we had the most fabulous dinner and wine. Waiheke is filled with a number of incredible wineries. So, I luckily had some down time to enjoy the wonderful scenery, activities, and people of New Zealand. Next time I have an opportunity to go there, I will certainly hit up the south of NZ (Wellington and Queenstown imparticular). Because we spent so much time together, we were mistaken for a couple on several occasions. That’s how it goes I suppose.
Tim thought it would be amusing to leak it to the press that TOM CRUISE himself would be arriving on my flight to host the 48 hour film festival. Therefore, I was instructed to get into character as I entered baggage claim to fool the awaiting paparazzi and press. I thought he was crazy or just messing with me. But he was absolutely serious. The kiwis are a lot less uptight than Americans. They have a very laid back quality, which is a refreshing departure from what I’m used to from NY/LA types.
I co-hosted the v48hour film fest with Oliver Driver, star of Black Sheep. He was a terrific host, dressed in John Travolta Pilot garb, and we had a great vibe together on stage. Our dynamic worked really well since he stands an impressive 6’5″ to my paltry 5’5″ height. We got a lot of laughs just for standing next to one another. I had a chance to watch some incredible short films, that were put together in a remarkable 48 hours (as the title suggests). One in particular stood out, a spoof on the equally ridiculous phenomenon taking the world by storm called “planking.” The short is called Child Jumping or Chumping and I loved the film! and I equally loved the filmmakers that put it together, especially actor Tim Blatt. We ended up getting Subway Sandwiches after a night of heavy drinking and debauchery. I promised him that if I ever saw Suri out on the street in LA, I would do my very best to chump the hell out of her. I know it sounds raunchy, but it simply means that I would jump over her when she’s kneeling down. That’s it! Harmless fun!
Last, but not certainly not least, I’d like to thank beautiful, charming, and classy Kassie Watson, who whipped up a ton of amazing press for me while I was out there. Here are some links:
I did a radio interview as well which was so much fun, but unfortunately you’ll have to follow the link here since wordpress has its limitations:
Ahh the memories: