Tom Cruise has launched a Web site devoted to himself: http://www.TomCruise.com.
Many stars have their own sites for fans, but Cruise's belated entry to the Internet is of particular interest.
Few stars have seen themselves pilloried more on the Web than Cruise, who has watched numerous embarrassing moments ricochet around the Internet at warp speed. Who can forget watching the clips of Cruise appear on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" way back in June 2005, in the early days of Web 2.0?
The event — the beginning of Cruise's publicity crisis — is alluded to on the new site, which links to his recent interview with Winfrey. Sitting at his Telluride, Colo., home, the talk show host refers to it as "the sofa incident."
More than that, though, videos of Cruise speaking passionately about Scientology became viral hits earlier this year, prompting many parodies, including one by actor Jerry O'Connell.
So it makes sense that Cruise might want to protect his brand a little bit by using the great powers of the Internet. The site is in many ways standard for a celebrity. Among the features are a "message from Tom," a glowing biography and handsome photographs.
The actor explains: "I created this site as a thank you, to you, for sharing the journey with me and to invite you to continue to explore what the future will bring."
The occasion for his reflection is the 25th anniversary of "Risky Business," his first starring role and the one that immediately made him a star. Posted for streaming is a video edited by the Museum of the Moving Image looking back on Cruise's career.
"My hope with this site is to bring you in and share with you the fun I experience every day during the filmmaking process, from working with the script, to the making of the film through to what we finally see when we settle in our seats and the lights go down," writes Cruise.
If Cruise really does this — if he uses his Web site like a filmmaking journal — it could be a delightful and illuminating perspective on what it's like for a true megastar to make a movie. More likely, though, is infrequent postings and a less intimate perspective.
After all, even Cruise himself says he's now more guarded after so much criticism over his religion and personal beliefs.
"When I'm dealing with my humanitarian issues, I'll talk about my humanitarian issues," Cruise told Winfrey. "And when I'm promoting a film, I'm just going to promote the film. And that's just the way it's going to be."
His next starring role is as a World War II German officer in "Valkyrie." Its release was recently pushed back four months until Feb. 13, 2009, which many read as a bad sign for the film. The buzz has been much better for a cameo he makes in the upcoming Ben Stiller comedy "Tropic Thunder."