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Film crew almost mars Cruise's War of the Worlds premiere with water spraying 'prank'

Story by: Jack Foley

THOUSANDS of people braved soaring temperatures to greet Tom Cruise at the premiere of his new movie, War of the Worlds, in Leicester Square on Sunday, June 19, 2005 - but the event was almost ruined when the actor was sprayed in the face with water following an interview 'prank'.

The recently-engaged star, who attended the event with his new fiance, Katie Holmes, had been chatting to journalists when he was suddenly sprayed in the face with water by a man holding a microphone.

Struggling to maintain his composure, the star held on to the man while security guards moved in and said: "That's incredibly rude. I'm here giving you an interview and you do that, it's incredibly rude."

The 'journalist' in question was reportedly part of a four-man freelance film crew who were working on a new Channel 4 programme designed to play comedy pranks on celebrities.

But they were all immediately arrested on suspicion of assault and held overnight.

A Channel 4 spokesman said: "The incident was for a new Channel 4 entertainment show, part of which involves playing comedy pranks on celebrities and on members of the public.

"The water squirting was not intended to cause offence and was very much in a spirit of fun.

"We hope Tom Cruise will be able to see the joke in the spirit with which it was intended."

Cruise, however, was visibly upset by the incident and referred to the man as 'a jerk'.

He did recover his composure and went on an hour-long walkabout with the Leicester Square crowds, signing autographs and chatting on mobile phones in customary fashion.

The incident could have marred the star-studded event, which saw Leicester Square being transformed into a scene from the movie, which is directed by Steven Spielberg.

And it is credit to Cruise that he didn't allow the prank to spoil the afternoon for the many people who had queued for hours in sweltering conditions to catch a glimpse of their hero.

It remains to be seen what further action, if any, will be taken on the four men in question.

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