Cruise's Producing Partner Slams Paramount
LATEST: TOM CRUISE's producing partner PAULA WAGNER is furious with the treatment the pair have received from Paramount Pictures and insists they were the ones who turned their back on the studio after failing to reach an agreement regarding their contract. The studio yesterday (22AUG06) announced it was severing ties with the pair after 14 years, citing Cruise's "unacceptable" offscreen behaviour, which included promoting his relationship with KATIE HOLMES and his beliefs in Scientology. Wagner says, "We had ceased negotiations. I'm not sure why this happened. You need to respect your artists. "I don't understand why this would be turned into a personal attack. Because that's what it is." Wagner says the pair were planning to strike out on their own and have raised a revolving fund of $100 million (GBP56 million) from two hedge funds to establish an independent production company. Cruise had been a lucrative asset for the studio in the past with his films grossing more than $2.5 billion (GBP1.4 billion) for Paramount. According to sources close to Viacom chairman SUMNER REDSTONE, who owns Paramount, the studio estimated that Cruise's uncensored offscreen antics were thought to have cost the studio $150 million (GBP83 million) in lost box office receipts for MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE III. Top Hollywood producer JERRY BRUCKHEIMER, who has made several movies with Cruise including TOP GUN and DAYS OF THUNDER, has come to the star's defence. He says, "He's as viable an actor as he always was. He's a worldwide star and a lot of people want to work with him, including me."