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Spielberg: Media 'punished' Cruise

Director: 'The press didn't like the way Tom bared his soul'

Spielberg, Cruise
Steven Spielberg directs Tom Cruise in "War of the Worlds."

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LOS ANGELES, California (Reuters) -- Director Steven Spielberg says the media "punished" Tom Cruise for the actor's televised, soul-baring declaration of love for Katie Holmes.

But in an interview with Newsweek magazine released on Sunday the director downplayed speculation that the giddy public displays of affection by Cruise, 42, could damage Paramount Picture's publicity for his upcoming summer release "War of the Worlds."

The $135 million-spectacle, based on the science-fiction novel by H.G. Wells, opens June 29.

"I was a little upset. I was a little upset," Spielberg told the magazine, referring to the attention generated by Cruise's recent appearance on "The Oprah Winfrey Show."

"Not at Tom, but at the press for making such a big deal out of a kind of small thing. Tom lost his cool because he was deliriously happy, and now he was being punished for his public display of happiness," Spielberg said.

Last month, during an appearance on Oprah to promote "War of the Worlds," Cruise jumped on the talk show host's couch, then ran backstage to get Holmes, shouting, "I love this woman!"

A recent poll in People magazine found most respondents thought the romance was a publicity stunt.

Last week, Cruise proposed to the 26-year-old "Batman Begins" star atop the Eiffel Tower and immediately made their engagement public.

Holmes stars in "Batman Begins," which opened at the top of the North American box office this weekend.

Spielberg said he thought that actor was being genuine during his much-discussed TV appearance.

"What Tom did on 'Oprah' was exactly what Tom did with me when he first told me about Katie Holmes. But the press didn't like the way Tom bared his soul," he said.

Paramount is part of Viacom Inc. and Warner Bros. is a division of Time Warner Inc., as is CNN.

Copyright 2005 Reuters. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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