Update: Paramout Pictures are denying that anyone was paid to pose as a Tom Cruise fan outside of the Mumbai airport. They do admit that some performers were hired to dance at the event, but dismiss the hired fans aspect of FirstPost's story as silly talk.
Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol is mere weeks away from its release, which means star Tom Cruise has already begun his international press tour for the film. One of the first stops on said tour was Mumbai, India, where Cruise arrived to a roaring throng of fans trying to push past the actor's bodyguards in the hope of scoring the autograph of Katie Holmes' husband. And that would be a perfectly common occurrence for one of the world's most popular actors, however, it turns out that the mob of fans were actors paid to fawn over Cruise.
That's the story according to FirstPost.com (via The Superficial), an India-based news outlet, at least. Their Bollywood division is reporting that over 200 people had been hired to play Tom Cruise fans for the day. One of the actors told the outlet:
"Tom kaun? I don’t know who he is or what he does. We were told to come here by 1pm today and wait for a foreign VIP to come out of the airport gate and scream and shout when he came. None of us know who Tom is. There was a buffet lunch also for us and we were paid Rs 150 for this job today. We do this for television shows and other such events where crowds are required."
Considering FirstPost doesn't identify who exactly paid 200 people $3 a head to scream at Tom Cruise, count this as an unconfirmed report for now. Having said that, it's not a stretch to believe it. Cruise's popularity has been on the decline for years (blame Scientology for that one), and no matter how good we hear the new M:I is, it's plausible that whatever PR firm was handling the event foresaw a weak reception for Cruise and decided to pad the airport crowd: Six hundred or so dollars for a photo opportunity is pretty cheap, after all. Unless you get caught, of course. Then it's priceless.