“As much as we like him personally, we thought it was wrong to renew his deal. His recent conduct has not been acceptable to Paramount.” With those words emailed to reporters yesterday, Sumner Redstone, chairman of Paramount Pictures’ parent company Viacom, informed the press that Paramount was dropping Tom Cruise and not renewing his contract after 14 years of working together. Cruise’s producing partner Paula Wagner called Redstone’s comments “outrageous and disrespectful” and said, in effect, “You can’t fire us, we quit” because, as coincidence would have it, the team had purportedly already raised $100 million from two hedge funds and were totally ready to strike out on their own anyway, like this week – weren’t we, Tom? – with plans to make a film at another studio. So there. Developing.
Photos: Redstone and Cruise, Wagner