When Tom Cruise starred in the film adaptation of the legal thriller The Firm, the book's author John Grisham later tipped his hat to Cruise, who played a recent Harvard Law School grad: "I thought [Cruise] did a good job," Grisham said in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. "He played the innocent young associate very well."
Very well, indeed. And let's not forget the time when Cruise played an HLS alum/JAG corps member in A Few Good Men. But it seems as though the actor's ability to blend into the role of an attorney has disintegrated over the years, considering how much attention he drew yesterday when he snuck into an entertainment law class over at the Law School. Lawyer Bertram Fields '52, who has represented countless celebrities, paid a visit to the class to discuss his Hollywood travails—but in just 30 minutes, Fields was overshadowed by the arrival of his client.
According to The Harvard Law Record, Cruise "surreptitiously" entered the classroom and "flashed his megawatt smile" at titillated students, announcing that "he was there to see Bert speak; after all, he'd never had a chance to hear him lecture before." What a considerate client! More after the jump.
Cruise snuggled into the back row of the classroom and "assumed an attentive posture." Students, the creepily omniscient HLR reports, threw Cruise a few smiles but immediately resumed their "normal classroom activities": note-taking, hand-raising, "GChat"-ing, and—very weird, Harvard Law Review Record—browsing Net-a-Porter and Bergdorf Goodman. And then, "From time to time they would steal a sidelong look at the glowing actor." (Okay, so who thinks the author of this article was actually in the classroom when this all happened and was simultaneously shopping for a new Donna Karan shift? We do.)
Anyway, Cruise didn't make too much of an effort to disappear into the general crowd, and he parried questions from Fields, spoke about his experiences with tabloids, and made sure that even in the classroom, all the facts were straight.
When Fields responded to a student's question by constructing a hypothetical in which Tom demanded that his cat be shipped to Boston as part of a contract, Tom interjected with, "I don't actually have a cat."
Cruise—who prolifically offered "advice, stories, high fives, handshakes, hugs, and even at one point an impromptu dance"—stayed after class to speak with students, including a hoard of people that had gathered by the room as soon as virtual messaging systems went haywire within the classroom when Cruise first appeared.
The man might not make a good lawyer, but he sure does know how to win a crowd. And that's called fine acting, my friends.
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/MTVLive.