Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 July 2014

Russell Brand: Cruise ignored Scientology bid

Editorial Use Only. Consent Required for Commercial Use and Book Publications Mandatory Credit: Photo by Jon Hargest/Newspix / Rex Features (2017308c) Russell Brand Russell Brand performs live on stage at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, Australia - 07 Dec 2012 During his 'I Am A Walrus' Australian tour

Russell Brand claims he wanted Tom Cruise to recruit him to join Scientology, but he “obviously” doesn’t have the right “criteria” to be a member.

The British comic worked alongside the Hollywood legend on the 2012 musical movie Rock of Ages. Tom is one of the most famous members of the controversial religion and Russell has joked that he was eager to join the church too.

Although there were rumours that Tom wanted to recruit the former addict as a spokesman for Scientology’s rehab project, Russell insists his co-star paid no attention when he showed an interest in the religion.

“I couldn’t have given that man more opportunities to enlist me into Scientology, but he was not interested [laughs],” he told ShortList. “I’d walk round set going, ‘Oh Tom, if only there was something to believe in. A catch-all philosophy, if you will.’ He’d say, ‘I don’t know, Russell – go to church or something. F*ck off.’ I don’t know what the criteria is [for becoming a Scientologist], but I obviously don’t have it.”

Russell has carved out a successful career in Hollywood after appearing in movies including Get Him to the Greek and Arthur and has worked with stars including Tom, Jonah Hill, Jennifer Garner and Jason Segel.

The 37-year-old star is renowned for his outrageous sense of humour and is currently organising a star-studded charity concert to raise money and awareness about drug addiction.

Russell is happy to use his celebrity status for good causes and has recalled taking part in a charity telethon in 2010, which proved a surreal experience.

“When that natural disaster happened in Haiti, I was part of this charity telethon with Daniel Day-Lewis, De Niro, Pacino, DiCaprio... I saw them all together and it just seemed… stupid. Like a waxwork museum. There they all were, shuffling about [laughs]. I thought, ‘I can’t take fame seriously again,’” he explained. “I spent the day pretending to be other celebrities. People would phone and say they hadn’t heard of me, so I’d say, ‘Hang on, I’ll put you on to someone famous… [adopts US accent] Hello? Tobey Maguire here! Spider-Man!’”

Russell doesn’t understand why people are so cynical about celebrity philanthropists. He believes it is better for stars such as Sting to do something for charity rather than “sit in a great big mansion” and applauded U2 frontman Bono for his benevolent work.

The star also touched upon his failed marriage to pop star Katy Perry during the interview.

He admits the high-profile relationship made him realise that privacy was a “commodity” and he is more protective about his personal life now. Despite going through a painful divorce, Russell insists he would consider getting married again in the future.

“Not at all. I liked marriage,” he replied when asked if he has been put off the idea of another wedding. “Most of it was brilliant. You can’t condemn an institution on one incident. You can’t condemn the whole Catholic Church for a few dodgy priests [laughs].”

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