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Tom Cruise
Andrew Medichini  /  AP
The Church of Scientology reportedly was set to back Tom Cruise's films, but the actor cut a deal with Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder.
updated 9/12/2006 2:48:17 AM ET 2006-09-12T06:48:17

Did Scientology almost show Tom Cruise the money?

After the “Top Gun” star was dropped by Paramount, he was shopping around for financiers, and a source reports that top execs at the Church of Scientology said that the group would fund his films if no other backers stepped forward. The talks ended when a group led by Washington Redskins owner Daniel M. Snyder reached a two-year financing deal with Cruise.                    

A spokeswoman for Cruise’s production company, Cruise-Wagner, labels the story “completely untrue” and a rep for the Church of Scientology didn’t respond to The Scoop’s requests for comment.

“They’ve got deep pockets,” says the source. “Tom has been good to the church, and they want to be there for him, but ultimately, this would have been a business deal.”

Hilton in it for the money
No one could call Paris Hilton cheap; she’s quite expensive.

The crooning heiress was booted from the lineup of a talk show because she wanted too much money to appear. Welsh singing sensation Charlotte Church is starting up a new gabfest, and asked Hilton to be a guest. Church took a pass when Hilton asked for more than $650,000 to appear.

“We asked Paris to be on the program because I could take the mick out of her [ridicule her] and not feel at all bad about it — she’s such a complete airhead,” Church told a Brit radio show. “But she demanded a ridiculous amount of money — like the price of a big house just to say a few stupid things. She’s hardly going to announce anything world-changing, is she? It’s absolutely pathetic, isn’t it?”

Notes from all over
The tiara Madonna wore when she got married to Guy Ritchie in 2000 is for sale on eBay. Opening bid for the 1910 crown, with about 78 carats of diamonds, is $225,000.  . . . A Muslim group in Zanzibar is protesting a planned celebration of Freddie Mercury on Sept. 2, the date that would have been the 60th birthday of the late lead singer of Queen. Mercury, a native of the African country, died of AIDS complications in 1991. “Associating Mercury with Zanzibar degrades our island as a place of Islam,” the islands’ Association for Islamic Mobilization and Propagation said in a letter to the Tanzanian archipelago’s culture ministry. “Allowing such a function for a person known outside Zanzibar as a homosexual tarnishes the name of Zanzibar.” . . . Blythe Danner didn’t give much thought to her wrinkles — until she saw herself on high definition film. “I am 63 — I don’t care. The thing is, I wasn’t terribly conscious of it until we did ‘Huff’ and they used this dreadful high-definition which makes anybody over fifty look as if they are eighty,” Gwyneth Paltrow’s mother told DarkHorizons. “So, I got very self-conscious about that. Yes — we all get a little help, a little bit of this or that ... not tremendous amounts, and I hate the idea of doing real invasive stuff, and I am not trying to look 40, because there were some shots on ‘Huff’ I was just appalled — I don’t think I am terribly narcissistic, but you don’t want to look your worst.”

Jeannette Walls Delivers the Scoop Mondays through Thursdays on MSNBC.com

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