Exclusive: Tom Cruise uses chopper pad at WPXI-TV

by: Carly Noel Updated:

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PITTSBURGH,None - You've probably heard that Tom Cruise is in Pittsburgh shooting the movie "One Shot," but what you didn't know is that he recently spent a lot of time here at WPXI-TV.

I had the pleasure of hanging out with Cruise every day for a week.  He had been using our chopper pad and welcomed me to take photos of his daily visits.

Click here  to check out all of the photos I took during Cruise's visit.  A co-worker took the photos that I'm in with Cruise.

For the safety and security of Cruise and WPXI-TV employees, I couldn’t let you in on the secret until now.  Wednesday was his last visit.

The visits began last Wednesday.  Every day, the movie star rolled into our visitor's parking lot in a black Chevy SUV. He hurdled a brick wall near the entrance of our building, ran through the grass to where the chopper was sitting and shook my hand.

Click here to watch raw video of Cruise's visits. 

Some days we talked about the movie.   Cruise is starring in and producing “One Shot” and said he likes to always be on set; he's not a trailer kind of guy.  Cruise had been shooting in Saltsburg and worked through the nights sometimes. He told me he was on the set for 18 hours on Monday.

I asked Cruise if he spent a lot of time rehearsing his lines after he left the movie set.  He said learning lines comes easy to him now, but physically training for movie roles is the hardest part about his job.  Interesting stuff.

Cruise also talked to me about his family.  It’s obvious that he’s a family guy.  He said his wife Katie Holmes, or “Kate” as he calls her, and their daughter, Suri, have enjoyed their Pittsburgh visits.

“The people are warm here,” Cruise said during a conversation we had about his family’s visit to Soergel Orchards in Wexford.

His 5-year-old daughter, Suri, enjoyed face painting and a wagon ride at Soergel’s fall festival in September.

Cruise told me a bunch of cute stories about Suri.  He said she picks out his Halloween costumes each year.  Last year, Cruise was a scarecrow.  He said he asked Suri if he could be the scarecrow again this year.  She told him he couldn’t be that again and would figure something else out.

Cruise said Suri was invited to a bunch of Halloween parties this year and would probably have a couple costumes;  Rapunzel was one of them.

I learned that like most 5-year-old girls, Suri really likes baby dolls.  While in Pittsburgh one day, Cruise said Suri told him, “I’m going to push my baby doll (in a carriage) today,” and he said, “Suri, it’s (where the family was staying) a mile away.”  “I’m going to push my baby doll there,” Cruise said she insisted.  So cute!

Holmes and Suri recently went home to California but are expected to make Pittsburgh visits while Cruise films “One Shot” through January.

Cruise wasn’t just friendly to me. Every day, he shook hands with all of the excited WPXI-TV employees.  He never missed a person.  He even said hello to employees’ children. 

One day, two little girls, being little girls, showed Cruise their cartwheels and toe touches.  He got a kick out of them.

Cruise engaged in nice conversations with station employees; I heard some about Pittsburgh history and sports.  Cruise was asked if he’s a Steelers fan.  He said he likes the Steelers and is an all-around football fan. 

Cruise took photos with any employee who wanted one and signed items, like “Top Gun” DVDs, for charity events.

“One Shot” director and Academy Award winning writer Christopher McQuarrie, Australian actor Jai Courtney and movie crew members made visits to our station, too. They told me they were enjoying spending time in our city.

Local pilot Cherokee Walker flew Cruise in the chopper.  WPXI-TV’s Rick Minutello coordinated the flights with Walker and Cruise’s security.

Cruise is the biggest celebrity I’ve ever met, and he was definitely one of the nicest.  I wish him the best of luck shooting “One Shot” in Pittsburgh.  It was fun having him here at the station.