Cruise, with fiancée Katie Holmes at his side, was squirted with water from a fake microphone while talking on the red carpet to a crew from Britain's Channel 4 – which wanted to see if he would find the spritz funny. He did not.
"That's incredibly rude," Cruise said as the so-called interviewer walked away, according to video clips shown on American TV early Monday morning. "I'm here giving you an interview, answering your questions and you do something really nasty ... you're a jerk ... jerk ... you're a jerk."
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The prankster and his three-man camera crew were subsequently arrested on suspicion of assault and then released on bail, reports Reuters, which quotes a Scotland Yard spokesman as saying: "We will see whether to pursue the charges, see whether the victim wants to pursue it."
A Channel 4 spokesman said: "The incident was for a new ... 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 offense and was very much in a spirit of fun."
He added: "We hope Tom Cruise will be able to see the joke in the spirit with which it was intended."
Also of interest at the premiere was a question put to Cruise, 42 – who announced his engagement to Holmes, 26, at a Paris press conference on Friday – about their future wedding. The BBC reports that Cruise replied: "There is going to be a wedding. We don't know when, we don't know where."
Meanwhile, Steven Spielberg defended the War of the Worlds poster, which some have said omitted Cruise because of his high-profile romance with Holmes.
"People say, 'Oh, you didn't put Tom on the poster because of what happened. No. The poster was designed in January ... and my decision with all my films has been to use iconography on the posters," the movie's director tells Newsweek. "Tom was fine with that. It's the first time Tom has not been on a poster in his career, by the way."