January 28, 2023

The biggest mystery at this year’s
Sundance Film Festival: Who gave
Katie Holmes the snip?
At a sold-out screening for his new satirical comedy, Thank You for Smoking, rookie filmmaker Jason “Son of Ivan” Reitman was shocked–shocked!–to discover that a 12-second scene of a hookup between Holmes’ journalist character and a tobacco lobbyist played by Aaron Eckhart had vanished.
“We were sitting there in shock,” the movie’s writer-director told the Los Angeles Times. “And I turned to other people who had worked on the film, and were completely confused. But the audience didn’t seem to notice or care.”
Following the screening, Reitman immediately addressed the audience, which included Holmes and Eckhart, explaining that the scene was missing and “something went wrong with the reel.” (The steamy encounter between Holmes and Eckhart’s characters were in the version screened at last fall’s Toronto Film Festival.) His remarks instead drew grumblings, and even a few boos, from the crowd.
Thus began the Case of the Missing Sex Scene.
News of Holmes’ disappearing act spread quickly around the mountain town of Park City, Utah, and became fodder for the gossip mill. Several publications posited that the missing scene was somehow the work of Holmes’ fiance, Tom Cruise, who, the theory goes, is so protective of his future missus that he didn’t want her to be seen cavorting in the nude.

And while another Holmes romp later in the film remained intact in the Sundance print, the Cruise conspiracy theorists were undaunted.
Us Weekly, for instance, quoted one unnamed insider as saying “industry people started whispering that Tom Cruise didn’t want the scene in there because it was dirtier than he was comfortable with.” Another anonymous wag tells the magazine that the Cruise-is-culpable theory “was the first thing that went through everyone’s mind!”
Holmes, who’s pregnant with the Mission: Impossible star’s first biological offspring (Cruise adopted two children, Isabella and Connor, with
Nicole Kidman), wasn’t available for comment. Cruise’s camp rejected assertions the couch-jumping thespian and self-proclaimed sonogram expert had anything to do with the edit.
Cruise himself was said to have ditched the screening to hit the slopes, according to TMZ.com.
It was up to Reitman to clear Cruise’s name and solve the mystery. He told the Times that the scene was accidentally cut when two reels were spliced together in Los Angeles as filmmakers prepared a print for Smoking’s four festival screenings.
In any case, Reitman said he plans to restore the sex scene when Fox Searchlight releases Thank You for Smoking in theaters on Mar. 17.

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