Cruise ‘open’ to acting as Irish film ambassador

Friday, January 03, 2014

Hollywood star Tom Cruise has told the Government he remains open to acting as a global film ambassador for Ireland, but that his current schedule is full with movie work.

By Juno McEnroe
Political Correspondent
In a letter to Arts Minister Jimmy Deenihan, the actor said he wants to remain in contact and he may consider the role in the future.

In a series of letters between representatives for the two, Mr Deenihan’s officials outlined the ambassadorial role for the American star after he visited Ireland in April last year when he received a certificate of Irish heritage to mark his Irish roots. The role would be pro-bono and involve Mr Cruise working with the Irish Film Board at key events during the year, including the Cannes Festival, Toronto, and Sundance.

In one letter to the Oscar nominee, the Department of Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht, asked: “We would like also to arrange a number of publicity opportunities with Tom over the course of the year. That would entail a number of photo opportunities and perhaps his endorsement of both upcoming Irish movies and television productions. Tom would have the title Film Ambassador of Ireland and we would provide an executive support service in conjunction with his people. This is a hugely important industry for us and we have ambitions to double the employment and output of the sector over the next number of years.”

Officials asked Mr Cruise to participate in IFB board meetings, suggesting that if he could not attend in person a Skype call could be arranged.

Film production in Ireland is not only important for jobs. Some 20% of tourists come here because they have seen Ireland on film, according to Mr Deenihan.

In an interview with the Irish Examiner, the Kerry North-West Limerick TD said: “It [the sector] is very much a priority for Government because film is so important as an employment creator, but also as an advertisement for Ireland.

“We’ve had correspondence with Tom Cruise and his agent. We’ve asked him if he can help Ireland in anyway. We’ve also got the Cruise clause in.”

The ‘Cruise clause’ allows producers get tax relief if they bring stars to Ireland. It was introduced in the budget after suggestions from the actor as well as Oscar-winning director Steven Spielberg.

“He [Tom] wants to promote Irish film as much as possible. He could promote it by encouraging producers to come here and look at Ireland at a location,” said Mr Deenihan.

Some €168m last year was put into the economy from activity in film, television and animation productions.

An extension of the section 481 tax relief scheme until 2020 is also expected to help attract top film producers here.

© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved

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