Sumner Redstone: I Want to Be Friends with Tom Cruise
"I haven't talked with him recently," Redstone told PEOPLE at Thursday's Zodiac premiere in Hollywood. "But who knows, I look forward to seeing him again. He's a great, great actor – one of the best. He was a great friend. And I look forward to being his friend again."
Redstone, who is chairman of Paramount Pictures parent company Viacom, made headlines in August when he criticized Cruise's behavior in the Wall Street Journal after revealing that the studio had ended its 14-year partnership with Cruise's production company.
"We don't think that someone who effectuates creative suicide and costs the company revenue should be on the lot," Redstone told the newspaper. "His recent conduct has not been acceptable to Paramount."
Cruise's camp quickly fired back, with his lawyer, Burt Fields, telling the New York Times that Redstone's comments about Cruise were "disgusting" and suggesting that Redstone, who is 83, had "lost it completely, or he's been given breathtakingly bad advice."
But Redstone told PEOPLE on Thursday he was "surprised" by the way his comments were interpreted.
"I didn't know anything was going to be so explosive," he said. "What happened was, I just gave an interview to the Wall Street Journal. In the course of it, they asked me what was going on. I said, you know, he would no longer be in the lot. They treated that like I was firing him. I didn't fire him! I had nothing to do with it. But they treated it explosively. And I didn't like it."
Three months after his split from Paramount, Cruise signed a deal with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer to resurrect the United Artists movie studio – and, of course, married Katie Holmes in a lavish Italian ceremony.
Redstone told PEOPLE he hasn't talked to Cruise and Holmes since the wedding. "I see the pictures of them. I haven't seen him," he said. "Of course, I had met him and her before they were married."
Asked if the couple seemed happy, he said: "They do, they do. I'm happy for their happiness."