REEL DEALS Brace yourself: Tom Cruise thinks his grin needs improvement. So he’s bracing himself, with a new orthodontic apparatus on his upper teeth. Publicist Pat Kingsley says the 39-year-old actor had the braces put on a week ago after taking one of his kids to the orthodontist and discovering that his own choppers were out of alignment. She says the braces are all but invisible, except for a wire across the teeth, and that he would be wearing them for about a year. ”He’ll take them off for movies,” she said.
That may be soon, as his next movie could be ”The Last Samurai,” a 19th-century epic to be directed by Edward Zwick (”Glory”). Now that he’s dropped out of Anthony Minghella’s adaptation of ”Cold Mountain,” Cruise has time to star in Zwick’s pic about a Westerner in Japan who trains imperial troops and witnesses the dishonoring and extermination of the independent samurai warriors. Cruise, however, hasn’t said yes yet….
Watch for Tom Hanks to reunite with his ”Cast Away” director Robert Zemeckis and screenwriter William Broyles in ”Polar Express.” It’s based on the kids’ book by Chris Van Allsburg (”Jumanji”) about a boy who rides a magical train to Santa’s workshop. No shooting date has been set….
Last year, Hollywood stars were trying to get Navy test-bombers out of Puerto Rico. This year, they’re trying to remove polar bears. Ewan McGregor has written an open letter to U.S. Interior Secretary Gale Norton, on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, pleading for the relocation of seven polar bears PETA believes are being mistreated at a circus in Puerto Rico. The sometime Jedi knight became interested in the animals after hosting a BBC documentary on polar bears last year. PETA claims to have video footage that shows the bears being kept in too-small cages and not being given enough water. The group wants to see the bears cared for in a zoo on the U.S. mainland and is offering to pay the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service the cost of relocating the bears. ”Polar bears are intelligent animals who are specially adapted to freezing weather conditions,” McGregor writes. ”To imagine their current plight with a tropical circus, layer on your heaviest winter clothing and spend all day outside on a hot, steamy day.” Sounds unbearable….