Booze, Partying with Colin Farrell, Scarlett Johansson and Me; Soon to Be Seen in Mission Impossible III and Woody Allen's Match Point, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers Tells All about His Rocky Road to Stardom
Byline: By Rick Fulton
IT was 10 years ago that an 18-year-old Jonathan Rhys-Meyers was discovered by Michael Collins director Neil Jordan, who famously claimed: "I have found someone to play Collins' killer. He's from County Cork and looks like a young Tom Cruise."
Fast forward a decade and the Irish actor finally can put his similarities to the Hollywood superstar to the test.
Jonathan plays alongside Tom in Mission: Impossible III or, as it's abbreviated, M:I:III.
But the Bend It Like Beckham star shakes his head when asked if he still feels like the young Tom Cruise.
"I think Neil was referring to my alarming confidence more than my looks," he said.
"I don't think he thought I actually looked like Tom.
"And now that I've spent time with Tom, I can tell you that I don't look anything like him."
But Jonathan, who stars with Scarlett Johansson in Woody Allen's Match Point, got more out of Tom than a feeling of deja vu.
"It's been an extraordinary experience working with arguably the world's biggest movie star," he said.
"The word actor doesn't even begin to describe him - more like movie star actor.
"I've learned a lot from him, such as how to run your business and how to be with different people.
"It's extraordinary to watch Tom do this. Sometimes I think it must be so exhausting because he never gets a break from being himself.
"People are always demanding something of him and that can be very, very difficult. I'm not sure how long I'd last before throat-chucking someone."
While Match Point assists Jonathan's climb into the Hollywood big league, helped by a Golden Globe nomination for his American TV role as Elvis, it'll be Mission: Impossible III which will leapfrog him into the A list as an action film star.
While Tom reprises his role as IMP agent Ethan Hunt, other actors in the third M:I film include Ving Rhames, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Simon Pegg, Michelle Monaghan, Laurence Fishburne and Keri Russell.
Directed by J.J. Abrams, M:I:III follows on from Mission: Impossible II in 2000 and Brian De Palma's original in 1996 based on the famous TV series.
The third film was shot in China, Italy and America, and Tom was the good guy - on screen and off.
Jonathan revealed: "It must be truly difficult to be full-on nice all the time - it would be for me - when your whole life is made up of 150 people a day vying for your attention.
"But Tom is unfailingly nice to them all of the time. Most people wouldn't be.They'd be aggressive and narky and difficult and insular. He's not. He does it very well, but he's had years of practice."
Tom, 42, has had an eventful 2005. As well as being the world's most famous Scientologist, the ex-husband of Nicole Kidman hooked up with a much younger girlfriend in Katie Holmes. At one point, hewas so excited he bounced up and down while declaring his love for her on Oprah Winfrey's talk show.
Their 16-year age gap hasn't deterred the couple and they are expecting their first baby.
But Jonathan claims we don't know the real Tom Cruise.
He said: "It's funny but nobody outside of Tom's circle has a single clue about the real man.
"Believe me,Tom is not leading the Hollywood lifestyle.
"Although he has to be a very public man,he's very private and spends all his time with his family."
Jonathan is actually prevented by his contract from breathing a word about Tom and his pregnant young fiancee, but he can't resist adding: "They're very much in love and can't get enough of each other."
And while the young Irish actor spent time with Tom in Rome in July and Shanghai in November, he hasn't become a Scientology convert.
"No, I'm not a b****y Scientologist," he laughed as we talked in the luxurious Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills. …