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Thandie Newton Reveals Eddie Murphy Barely Showed Up To 'Norbit' Set, Tom Cruise Scientology Christmas Gift

By Ryan Naumann

Thandie Newton is spilling all the tea about her former costars Tom Cruise and Eddie Murphy and she didn't hold back.

The “Westworld” actress sat down for a wide-ranging interview with Vulture. Thandie seemed ready to speak her truth and had no issue calling out powerful people for their past bad behavior.

She set the tone of the interview with the quote, “So careful what you do, everybody. Because you might find yourself fucking over a little brown girl at the beginning of a career, when no one knows who she is, and no one gives a fuck. She might turn out to be Thandie Newton.”

At one point, Thandie talks about turning down a role in the 2000 remake of “Charlie’s Angels” which starred Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz and Lucy Lui. Thandie detailed a meeting with the former Sony head Amy Pascal where they discussed the role. The actress says Amy wanted to include sexualized scenes to play up black stereotypes, which she wasn’t about to do.

Thandie described having a “number of breakdowns” after starring in the hit film Crash. She says around this time she agreed to be in “Norbit” with Eddie Murphy. She said, “Oh my God. Eddie Murphy. They made me jump through hoops for it, too. “Can you really be funny?” People love Norbit, though.”


The 2007 film was ravaged by critics but was quite the box office success. When asked if she enjoyed the film, “I haven’t seen it for a very, very long time. I mean, it’s so offensive that it’s not offensive, I guess? Because I remember when we first did it, the background to Eddie writing the script was that he found himself watching these online home movies where really large women, African-American women, would beat up their tiny husbands. There was just this spate of stuff online. Eddie found them hilarious. That’s what the movie was born out of. When I went to talk about the project, the first draft I read was way darker. It was about this woman fucking abusing this guy.

She continued, “I think it was always supposed to be a comedy, but you can imagine how twisted that would be. That’s why I wanted to do it. And then it just got very … I don’t know how to describe it … It’s like it turned into a kind of Baskin-Robbins commercial.”

She revealed Eddie was barley on the set of “Norbit”. Thandie said, “Eddie was hardly ever there, which was really sad. He has the best stand-ins you’ve ever seen. Literally, from five feet away, you would think they were Eddie. I think I probably did most of the movie with his stand-ins.


Thandie talked about her time working with Tom Cruise on Mission: Impossible 2. The actress said it was an intense shoot with the actor.

She said, “I was so scared of Tom. He was a very dominant individual. He tries superhard to be a nice person. But the pressure. He takes on a lot. And I think he has this sense that only he can do everything as best as it can be done.”

Thandie, giving an example Tom’s intenseness, mentioned observing a zit form on his face during shooting. She said, “I remember at the beginning of the night, seeing this slight red mark on his nose, and by the end of the night, I kid you not — this is how his metabolism is so fierce — he had a big whitehead where that red dot was. It would take anyone else 48 hours to manifest a zit. I saw it growing, and it was like the zit was me, just getting bigger and bigger.”

She revealed Tom often tried to recruit people into Scientology on set. She said Tom was “very generous and open about sharing Scientology stuff. Christmas gifts would be something to do with Scientology.” Thandie said he gifted her a book of the greatest hits of Scientology, “a bit of a bit like a Bible kind of thing.

Thandie said she was curious, “because it’s like, Wow, if it’s going to attract people, powerful, high-profile people, there’s got to be some glue that sticks this shit together. Didn’t find any.”

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