Just when Tom Cruise thought he was free of Bad Publicityland for now, along comes another incident. This time, though, it has more to do with his professional rather than his personal life.
Yes, it’s clearly lawsuit season again in Hollywood (but then, when isn’t it?). Steven Wheatley, who was assisting on a stunt during the shooting of M:I:III, has filed a lawsuit against Cruise/Wagner Productions, Paramount Pictures and several other individuals. His suit claims that on 6 June, 2005, at the SOS FilmWorks site near LA, he was helping to set up an exploding car stunt for the movie. When the explosives for the effect detonated without warning, he was engulfed in a fireball that burned 60 percent of his body. Now, Cruise would have gotten up and still saved the heroine. Wheatley? He made more with the screaming and the writhing in agony, which you can understand.
The lawsuit goes on to accuse the defendants of failing to equip enough fire extinguishers or place enough fire department officials to help prevent his injuries. Paramount and C/W’s spokesgobs have remained shut on the matter, saying on that it is not the companies’ policy to comment on such matters. The case will continue.