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Tom Cruise, the biggest male box-office attraction in American cinema, that is, until he recently displayed a variety of astonishingly off-putting antics, has now taken another dramatic step in his imaginative quest to end his career, which was largely based on his once seemingly cute and innocent appeal.

Much to the dismay of his millions of fans, the film icon has renounced scientology and become a Moslem Fundamentalist.

Troubled by his apparently self-destructive behavior, we were able to arrange an interview.

Newslaugh: You seem to be behaving in rather odd ways lately, Tom. Whatís behind it all?

Cruise: You have no idea what itís like to suddenly find yourself the most popular movie star in the world when you canít possibly see any reason youíd reach such a pinnacle. So what happens is you get this really subliminal desire to take yourself down.

Newslaugh: Oh, so thatís why youíve been acting like a jackass?

Cruise: Exactly! I donít feel I deserve the celebrity, so Iím trying to destroy my career any way I can.

Newslaugh: Actually, youíre doing an outstanding job.

Cruise: Well, you know, whatever it takes. At first I tried just jumping up and down on Oprahís couch and acting crazy in love. But, come on, that was way too sweet to do the kind of damage I was hoping to do.

NewsLaugh: So you began to emphasize your strong belief in scientology?

Cruise: Well, came out about it in the most offensive ways I could think of.

NewsLaugh (pointing to his new beard and white turban): Why the Islamic Fundamentalist turn?

Cruise: Glad you asked. My new picture, Mission Impossible III, opened at $34 million. Of course, it was projected to open at $45 mil., but $34 mil. is still way more than I deserve. So I decided I had to do something really radical to finish off my career.

NewsLaugh: Youíre certainly chose effectively. It would be hard to imagine anything that would alienate more fans.

Cruise: So isnít it great? Iím only holding back on one thing. Notice the white turban?

NewsLaugh: Itís a little hard to miss.

Cruise: Right. I picked it because, as you know, the good buys always wear a white hat. I donít plan to switch to black unless I see that I still have some box-office appeal.

Newslaugh: Why canít you just get back to being the nice, excitable guy you appeared to be in films like Jerry McGuire? That's obviously what your fans want.

Cruise: You really think so?

NewsLaugh: Of course. Is that how they came to know and love you?

Cruise: But, given my present state of mind, how can I possibly do that?

NewsLaugh: True. Hey, just a suggestion, but maybe you should examine your present state of mind.

Cruise: You think so? Well, first let's see how the beard and turban thing work out.