"Cruise Goes Indie" reads the headline on a blog post last night by my friend Anne Thompson at the Hollywood Reporter. Cruise has parted ways with his longtime studio, Paramount, with Viacom chairman Sumner Redstone kicking him on his way out the door, telling the Wall Street Journal, "As much as we like him personally, we thought it was wrong to renew the deal. His recent conduct has not been acceptable to Paramount."
Rick Nicita from Cruise's agency, CAA, noted correctly that the era of big star first-look deals seems to be waning, while his wife Paula Wagner, the actor's partner in Cruise-Wagner Productions, said:
“This is something we’ve dreamt of, to have an independently financed production company, where we can decide the films that we make, from high-concept to more personal pictures."
BUT, let's be clear...that still doesn't make Tom Cruise indie. More of these star studio deals may be set up off the lot with hedge fund money, leaving the Hollywood trades to sometimes call them "indie." However, unless those new outfits start backing low-budget films by emerging filmmakers, we won't feel compelled to write about them in indieWIRE. (These days its already hard enough trying to weed out the studio-lite movies coming from the increasingly cautious Indiewood companies...)