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Cruise to finance films with hedge funds

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 24 (UPI) -- U.S. actor Tom Cruise, who was recently dropped by Paramount Pictures, plans to finance new ventures through hedge funds because they provide more "freedom."

Sumner Redstone, chairman of Paramount's parent company, Viacom Inc., said Cruise was terminated at the studio because of his behavior. Cruise attracted attention in recent years with promotion of the Church of Scientology and his opposition to antidepressants.

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Cruise and Paula Wagner, his production partner, have said they made a $100 million deal with unnamed hedge funds, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Wagner said they had begun discussing other financing arrangements before the split with Paramount.

"That's frankly where the business is going anyway," Wagner said.

Industry experts say it won't be so easy.

"If they thought Sumner was a tough boss, wait till they see what they have to put up with to get $100 million out of a fund," said Hal Vogel, an analyst with Vogel Capital Management.

For one thing, Cruise/Wagner Productions won't have the studio's commitment of $10 million to pay film development costs and overhead.

Cruise's attorney, Bert Fields, said he had recommended Cruise not re-sign with the studio.

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"I told him Paramount is not a place that he should be making pictures," Fields said.

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