Cruise loses cool over little squirt

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When the actors Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes announced their engagement in Paris last week, the stage was set for a glittering London premier of Cruise's latest film last night. But waiting among 5,000 fans beside the red carpet in Leicester Square was a reporter armed with a water pistol.

When the actors Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes announced their engagement in Paris last week, the stage was set for a glittering London premier of Cruise's latest film last night. But waiting among 5,000 fans beside the red carpet in Leicester Square was a reporter armed with a water pistol.

Cruise's temperament was tested when a freelance journalist working on a new programme for Channel 4 stuck out a joke microphone and used it to squirt the star's face with water.

The actor, who was attending the premier of War of the Worlds with his fiancée, rounded on the journalist, saying: "Why would you do that... why would you do that... why would you do that?"

As the prankster offered a barely audible excuse, Cruise said: "Do you like thinking less of people, is that it?"

After an uncomfortable silence the joker went to walk away but Cruise said: "Don't run away."

He told his assailant: "That's incredibly rude. I'm here giving you an interview and you do that... it's incredibly rude."

Cruise then said forcibly: "You're a jerk... jerk... you're a jerk."

The man was escorted away by security guards and taken inside the cinema where he and the three members of his camera crew were arrested.

A police source said the incident was being treated as a serious matter. "They are being investigated in relation to an alleged assault on Mr Cruise," he said. "It was just water, but that can be very alarming when it comes from a crowd out of nowhere."

After the altercation Cruise dried himself with a blue towel handed to him by an aide and continued signing autographs.

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