Tom Cruise Defends Leaked Audio of Him Yelling on "Mission: Impossible" Set
The actor just addressed his angry outburst—and did not apologize.
Back in December, The Sun published an audio clip that was recorded on the set of Mission: Impossible 7 to a wide range of reactions both in the movie industry and among the public at large. In the clip, the film's star Tom Cruise is shouting at crew members for supposedly flouting COVID safety guidelines. While some applauded the actor for taking the pandemic so seriously, others took issue with his tone and approach. In a brand new interview about the film, Tom Cruise unequivocally defended his COVID rant. Read on to see what he had to say about the leaked audio and why it caused such an uproar in the first place.
Cruise's shocking outburst had to do with COVID-related shooting delays.
According to The Sun, what set Cruise off in the first place was seeing two members of the MI7 crew standing within six feet of each other during filming.
"If I see you do it again, you're ****ing gone," Cruise yells in the clip. He makes it clear that anyone else seen breaking COVID protocol will also be immediately fired.
"That's it. No apologies," he continues. "You can tell it to the people that are losing their ****ing homes because our industry is shut down. We are not shutting this ****ing movie down. Is it understood?"
The outlet also reported that the highly anticipated sequel had already dealt with a fair amount of COVID delays by this point, due to crew and cast testing positive and then going into quarantine. A source told The Sun that Cruise was "very proactive when it comes to safety," working closely with the health and safety staff on the production.
A former Scientologist said there was more to it than just safety concerns.
Actor Leah Remini, who famously left Cruise's religion Scientology and now crusades against the controversial organization, wrote a statement after the MI7 rant went viral.
In the lengthy statement published on the anti-Scientology blog The Underground Bunker, Remini claimed that Cruise has a history of abusive behavior and angry outbursts. She also posited that, because Scientology believes that physical illness is only related to "suppressive" people (i.e. those perceived as working against the religion), all of Cruise's adherence to COVID precautions was "just a show."
"Tom does not care about the families of his crew; this is all for publicity," Remini wrote. "Tom does not believe in family values. I mean, how anyone is falling for this is just mind-blowing. I would bet that Tom had this rant written for him and had his Scientology assistant record and release it. Hearing a rich actor with enormous power address his crew in this way is a sign of weakness and a deeply troubled person."
Other stars spoke out in support of Cruise, however.
Speaking to Howard Stern after the audio became public, George Clooney said that Cruise "didn't overreact because [COVID safety] is a problem."
However, he added that there is a power imbalance between Cruise and the MI7 crew members, and that he would have handled it more quietly if he'd been in the same position.
"I wouldn't have done it that big. I wouldn't have, you know, pulled people out," Clooney continued. "You're in a position of power and it's tricky, right? You do have a responsibility for everybody else and he's absolutely right about that. And, you know, if the production goes down, a lot of people lose their jobs. People have to understand that and have to be responsible. It's just not my style to, you know, to take everybody to task that way."
Whoopi Goldberg also sided with Cruise. "You know, some people don't understand why he would get so angry. I get it. You know, that's his movie. And if he goes down with COVID, the movie's done," she said during an episode of The View (via PopSugar).
Doctor Strange writer/director Scott Derrickson tweeted, "I'm not defending Tom Cruise's tone on set, as I've come to believe very strongly that yelling on a set is never necessary or acceptable. That said, if there IS a justifiable time for the harshest of words, it's when health and safety standards are being continually ignored."
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Cruise has no regrets about his tirade.
In an interview with Empire magazine (as reported by ET Canada), Cruise addressed the incident but did not apologize.
"It can get fraught. Fraught and personal," he explained. "I said what I said. There was a surge happening in England also at that point. And there was a lot at stake at that point. But it wasn't my entire crew. I had the crew leave the set, and it was just select people. And the wonderful thing is that we never shut down again. And here we are, continuing to film."
MI7 was one of the first big-budget movies to see its release date delayed due to the pandemic. While it was originally scheduled to hit theaters this July, it's now set for May 2022. The initial news impacted Cruise, which he said contributed to his being such a stickler during production.
"All those emotions were going through my mind," he said. "And for the whole crew to know that we'd started rolling on a movie was just a huge relief…it was very emotional."