Hollywood superstar Tom Cruise has hit back at the British Government minister who accused him of being "too frightened" to fly to France's CANNES FILM FESTIVAL.

Culture Minister KIM HOWELLS yesterday (20MAY03) poured scorn on Cruise's claim work commitments kept him away from the event and criticised other celebrities who have cancelled trips to Europe because of terrorist attacks or bomb threats.

Howells suggested "swashbuckling heroes like Tom Cruise" should be setting an example to members of the public by embracing air travel.

But the actor, whose current girlfriend Penelope Cruz and ex-wife NICOLE KIDMAN are both promoting movies in Cannes, has bitten back.

Confirming he is filming in New Zealand, Cruise's publicist adds, "It's pretty hard to be in two places at the same time."

21/05/2003 13:47