Why Simon Pegg Refuses To Ask His Friend Tom Cruise About Scientology

Actors Simon Pegg and Tom Cruise first worked together for the movie "Mission: Impossible III" in 2006. The two quickly became friends. Fast forward to filming for the franchise's next Mission Impossible movie and the two grew even closer. On set, laughter rang out all the time between them and amongst the cast in general. At one point, Pegg — along with costars Jeremy Renner and Paula Patton — were kicked out of the studio because of the inability to stop laughing while Cruise was attempting to film a serious scene.

With big-name celebrities, it's easy to get caught up in their image and reputation. It wasn't like that with Pegg and Cruise though. "My relationship with him is just very simple and amiable," Pegg told Deadline. "It's always been a very easy relationship. I think you realize, when you meet the person rather than the thicket of mythology that's built up around them, it's a different experience." Pegg admitted that he does joke about Cruise's level of fame, but he doesn't let it get in the way of their friendship. Instead, he went on to say that he recognized the way it "energizes" and "spurs" Cruise on.

It appears that the friendship is a comfortable one. When it comes to personal matters such as spiritual beliefs, Pegg is cautious not to overstep boundaries.

Past associations, and the impact on here and now

Tom Cruise was once widely associated with the Church of Scientology. In the late 1990s and early 2000s he spoke openly about it, and even allegedly fired his publicist for asking him to refrain from doing so. The actor appeared in a 2004 promotion for the establishment that was leaked to the public in 2008. "I think it's a privilege calling yourself a scientologist. And it's something that you have to earn because a Scientologist does," he said during it. "He or she has the ability to create new and better realities and improve conditions."

Some of Tom Cruise's biggest controversies and career blows occurred in the mid 2000s largely because of his involvement in the Church of Scientology. Accusations of forced labor, abuse, and human trafficking in the Church of Scientology arose on a public scale. Since then, Cruise has distanced himself from the church by keeping a low profile when it comes to the press. His focus has been on privacy and making movies. While he hasn't denounced it or made any indication that he's left it, he's significantly less vocal about it.

This past is something Simon Pegg does not discuss with Cruise. "I don't ask him about stuff like that because I feel that would be me abusing my privileged access that I get to him, you know what I mean?" Pegg told BBC Radio's Desert Island Discs.

Beliefs and adherents

The Church of Scientology is a self-professed religion. Its roots date back to the 1950s, when the organization was founded by L. Ron Hubbard, a science fiction writer. Scientology teaches that trauma impacts people's ability to view reality through a clear, analytic mind. In order to experience true reality, one must go through the process of getting clear. This is a matter of finding the trauma's root, reliving it, and eventually finding neutrality. The individual can then experience true reality, unclouded by past traumas.

The ultimate goal in Scientology is to become an "Operating Thetan." A thetan is an immortal being, which Scientologists believe people are at their very core. "OT (Operating Thetan) is a state of spiritual awareness in which an individual is able to control themselves and their environment," according to The Scientology Newsroom. "You move up the bridge to freedom by working toward being an 'Operating Thetan,' which at the highest level transcends material law," David Bromley, a professor of religious studies at Virginia Commonwealth University, told CNN. "You occasionally come across people in Scientology who say they can change the material world with their mind."

While Tom Cruise was one of the most vocal about his involvement in the Church of Scientology, other celebrities such as John Travolta, Kristie Alley — who says her relationship with Scientology saved her — and Elisabeth Moss. "Many of my church's stances and concepts are grossly misunderstood by the media," Elisabeth Moss told The Advocate. "It's a long list."