Tom Cruise Takes Stand on 'Samurai'

BURBANK, Calif. — "Welcome," Tom Cruise beckons, his arms spread wide and his smile spread wider. "Welcome to beautiful 19th-century Tokyo."

Of course, Cruise isn't in the 19th century, or Tokyo, or Japan, for that matter. He is standing in the nearly abandoned back lots of Warner Bros. studios, where parts of his new movie, "The Last Samurai," were filmed.

The lot looks nothing like the backdrop for Cruise's first historical epic, which opens nationwide today after a "sneak-peek" run in 550 theaters Saturday. The cardboard shrines and phony village fronts were taken down months ago. The thousands of extras who populate the film have moved on. All Cruise has left from the elaborate sets are snapshots.

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The Coen Brothers Conquer Hollywood

By Larry Armstrong for USA TODAY 

This is a true story. The events depicted in this article took place in Los Angeles in 2007. At the request of the participants, the names have not been changed. Out of respect for the readers, the rest has been told exactly as it occurred.

You shouldn’t need a disclaimer when writing about directors.

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Leo DiCaprio: A Boy No More


Leonardo DiCaprio looks older than you'd think.


Standing 6-feet-1 and sporting a goatee and slicked-back hair, DiCaprio carries himself deliberately. He doesn't walk; he saunters. He speaks intensely, mulling his words while locking his eyes on you. He looks all of his 30 years, if not more. There's only a trace of the boy who starred seven years ago in the biggest box- office hit of all time.

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Eastwood Makes Hollywood's Day

  • On time, under budget: Clint Eastwood shot 'J. Edgar' in just 39 days for $35 million."He works with the same small crew he's worked with for years," star Leonardo DiCaprio says.

BURBANK, Calif. – Peanut shells occasionally litter Clint Eastwood's office carpet.


Eastwood doesn't eat peanuts. Neither does his staff, which keeps his quarters on the Warner Bros. lot immaculate. The mess belongs to Lola, a squirrel Eastwood lets roam his office and ransack a bag he leaves open on the bottom of a bookcase. She comes through the front door, which Eastwood also leaves open.

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The Matrix's Revolutions

BURBANK, Calif. — Morpheus is giving Neo an earful about the arduous journey they've undertaken for The Matrix. "You knew it would be this hard?" Morpheus bellows, with Trinity at his side. "Why didn't you warn us?"

No, it's not a scene from the final chapter of the franchise, The Matrix Revolutions, which opens Wednesday at the same time, all over the world, 9 a.m. ET. The man who plays the proselytizing Morpheus, Laurence Fishburne, is teasing co-star Keanu Reeves about the rigorous martial arts regimen the actors went through for the trilogy. Carrie-Anne Moss, who plays Trinity and broke her leg training for Revolutions, feigns a hard glare at Reeves before they all break into laughter.

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