The Fix

No Cruise control: Worrisome box office and more gay-baiting rumors. For a few Olympians, the road to Athens leads first to a Playboy shoot. Plus: Ebay auctions a bid for celebrity

By Salon Staff
Published August 9, 2004 2:57PM (EDT)

Turn On:
Did Tom Cruise insist that Jay Leno edit out bloopers when he agreed to appear on his show (11:30 p.m. ET, NBC) tonight? (See below) Mafia daughter, gossip queen and regular ole mom of three Victoria Gotti decides, after gaining nine pounds after eating a box of cupcakes, that she needs medical help -- so she opts for Botox and collagen injections on "Growing Up Gotti" (9:30 p.m. ET, A&E).

-- Kerry Lauerman

Morning Briefing:
Bid for fame: : Larry Holden, best known as an actor in supporting roles in "Memento" and "Insomnia," apparently has taken time out from preparing his second feature as a writer/director to open an auction on eBay. "I just don't have enough money to make it all the way through the film now. And I'm freaking out," reads the auction statement. So he's offering anyone desperate for celebrity a role in the film (titled "To Burma Shave") which he promises to be "written specifically for the winning bidder," plus, a cut of any potential profits, and all the DVDs of the movie any would-be star could hope for. (eBay)

Cruising for a bruising: While some media outlets dumbly report that the new movie starring Tom Cruise, "Collateral," did indeed top the box office on its opening weekend, and that it "continued to demonstrate Cruise's box office clout," the New York Times reports that the $24.4 million opening is "relatively tepid," and points out that Cruise's last film, "The Last Samurai," opened "to $24 million on fewer screens and was considered a box office disappointment." Maybe his dwindling success is what has caused him to seek unprecedented control over interviews he gives. According to the Boston Globe, reporters interviewing him for "Collateral" were "asked to sign an 'interview consent agreement' that included a prohibition against using '"bloopers" or other types of errors or misstatements' and a stipulation that 'neither Artist nor the Interview will be used or referred to in a derogatory manner.'" The Globe points out that Cruise is "considered one of the more image-sensitive Hollywood luminaries." Why is that? Check out today's New York Post, which tries to gay-bait Cruise today, asking, "Was Tom Cruise trying to hide something at the 'Collateral' premier the other night in Harlem?" The tabloid reports that Cruise attended the premiere with a young man, who resembles a "young version of Tom," is rumored to be his trainer, and allegedly sat next to Cruise once the theater's lights dimmed. (NY Daily News, NY Times, Boston Globe, NY Post)

Swift rebuttal: An enterprising techie, apparently in Japan, acted quickly to respond to the political smear campaign against John Kerry by some of his fellow swift boat veterans. In addition to launching an attack ad (which Kerry has warned stations against running), the veterans set up their own Website, But by Thursday, the similarly named Website,, had sprung up -- linking to an article by Salon's Joe Conason refuting the vets' charges. All Salon knows about the site is what it found by looking up its information: that it was created by one Anko Siowika, in Tokyo, and that it appears to be driving perplexed surfers looking for more information about the smear to Salon. So. . . thank you, Anko Siowika! (

Also: Swimmer Haley Cope and high-jumper Amy Acuff are among the U.S. Olympians who posed for this month's Playboy. Says Cope, "I'm a freak. I vote Republican, I worship Martha Stewart, and I don't mind being naked." . . . the heavy turnover at the Village Voice has some of its writers upset . . . early reviews for Nicholson Baker's controversial "Checkpoint," about a would-be presidential assassin, are very negative; a "scummy little book," says the Times, while Entertainment Weekly gives it an "F" . . . the gossip-link blog Gawker gets a new heaving puke . . . Variety reports that Shannen Doherty returns again to prime time when she joins Fox's soap "North Shore" in September.

-- Kerry Lauerman

Salon Staff

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