Tom Cruise is a lot of things. Globally unpopular has never been one of them.
But that's what one rumor would have us believe, as reports have surfaced claiming that the hundreds of fans who lined the streets and cheered the Mission: Impossible—Ghost Protocol actor's arrival to India over the weekend weren't doing so out of the goodness of their hearts or because they wanted to catch a glimpse of the international movie icon.
They were doing so because they were hired to. At least, that's the rumor. But is it true? Were extras really paid to cheer on the star? Hang on to those ticket stubs, because this rumor is...
Reps for both Paramount Pictures, the studio behind the latest installment of the action thriller, and Wizcraft, the global entertainment management agency responsible for organizing Cruise's trip abroad, have vehemently denied reports claiming that Mumbai residents were paid to cheer and act excited when TV cameras panned to them while capturing Cruise's arrival in the city during his highly publicized, first-ever trip to India.
A spokesman for Wizcraft said the information making the online rounds "is incorrect," telling the Wall Street Journal's India Real Time the story was "sensationalist."
"We are not aware of any such arrangement," the spokesperson said.
As for Paramount, the studio also denied any hint of the pay-for-bray.
"Tom Cruise is a massive star and attracts huge throngs of fans as he travels the world promoting Mission: Impossible—Ghost Protocol," a spokesperson for the studio said in a statement. "The only people paid were performers who danced outside the venue. The idea that fans were paid to cheer is completely ludicrous and entirely false."
The rumor seems to have spread from reports in First Post Bollywood and the Mumbai Mirror, which claimed that roughly 150 residents were paid $3 apiece and treated to a free lunch in exchange for their fanatical shrieks.
As if anyone ever needed an incentive to scream for a movie star.