Thursday, October 29, 2009

My Favorite Psychopath

I love Tom Cruise. By which I mean: I am obsessed with him as a media creation. I truly believe he is a genuine psychopath, and this fascinates me. I'm not claiming that he's criminal or homocidal (although I'm not ruling anything out), I just believe that he is a real psychopath in the sense of lacking human emotion and the ability to feel empathy. I suspect that he cannot differentiate between his "real" self and the characters that he plays in movies.

In some sense, this makes him the perfect movie star. The movie creates him. He is known for his kindness to his fans and his unusual willingness--even eagerness--to spend hours and hours chatting with them and signing autographs. While this is commendable on the surface, I believe what this actually reveals is not so much "niceness" as "emptiness"-- lacking any core sense of self, he can only feel his existence as reflected through the eyes of others. His fans create his identity. They are his life source. Without them, he is nobody.

Apu: "Oh, who needs the infinite compassion of Genisha when I have Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman staring at me with their dead eyes!"

From Black Book Magazine:

Q: How did you and Christian Bale develop his character in American Psycho?

A: It was definitely a process. We talked a lot, but he was in L.A. and I was in New York. We didn’t actually meet in person a lot, just talked on the phone. We talked about how Martian-like Patrick Bateman was, how he was looking at the world like somebody from another planet, watching what people did and trying to work out the right way to behave. And then one day he called me and he had been watching Tom Cruise on David Letterman, and he just had this very intense friendliness with nothing behind the eyes, and he was really taken with this energy.

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