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Cruise & 'Today:' Tom's top 5 nutty interviews

December 10, 2008 |  4:48 pm

NBC said today that Tom Cruise, out hawking his new movie, "Valkyrie," will return to "Today" on Monday for a sitdown with cohost Matt Lauer.

It could be a memorable rematch. Three years ago, Cruise and Lauer sparred over Scientology, drugs and Brooke Shields' postpartum depression. "Matt ... you're glib," Cruise memorably pronounced at the climax of the smackdown.

Not to be glib about it, but this hasn't been a particularly good year for Cruise. "Valkyrie" has been subject to repeated delays, and his longtime producing partner Paula Wagner quit as chief of United Artists.

But the actor will have to work hard to top some of his goofier past interviews. Over the past few years, Cruise has redefined our notions of what a top movie star can or should say. 

The top five interviews, in ascending order of fun:

5. June 2005: At the London premiere of "War of the Worlds," a man posing as a reporter squirts Cruise with water from a prank microphone. Money quote: "I’m here giving you an interview and you do that. … it’s incredibly rude. You’re a jerk.”

4. January 2008: A YouTube interview materializes of Cruise waxing about the joys of Scientology. Money quote: "Being a Scientologist, people are turning to you, so you better know it, you better know it and if you don't, go and learn it, but don't pretend you know it."

3. April 2005: In an extremely tense talk with the German magazine Der Spiegel, Cruise defends his "information tent" for Scientology on the "War of the Worlds" set. Co-interviewee Steven Spielberg is trapped in the line of fire between Cruise and his questioner. Money quote: "I'm a helper. For instance, I myself have helped hundreds of people get off drugs."

2. June 2005: In another German interview, with the photo tabloid Bild, Cruise says that "of course" he believes in aliens. Money quote: "Are you really so arrogant as to believe we are alone in this universe?"

1. May 2005: Visiting Oprah Winfrey's show, Cruise dances around the set and leaps on the sofa to proclaim his happiness over new love Katie Holmes. Money quote: "I like intimacy."

-- Scott Collins