Say what you want about Tom Cruise, but there can be zero doubt that the all-action movie star cares deeply about the projects he works on.
He is definitely a controversial figure in Hollywood (and worldwide) thanks to his embracing of Scientology and its weird ultra-hatred of psychiatry, yet he cares enough about his cast and crew to make sure they’re as safe as possible while filming, and despite certainly being worth more to productions than anyone else on the project, famously does his own stunts. And now, it appears that he’s adding being a picket line hero to his list of achievements, by using his clout to stand up to studios in the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike.
The Mission: Impossible star has allegedly been involved in talks that the acting union is holding with studios, and has been particularly active in discussions around the topic of AI in film. The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) is attempting to utilize generative AI in future projects, meaning that background actors would only get a day of pay instead of multiple over the course of a movie or show being filmed. SAG-AFTRA has also claimed studios are attempting to gain use of an actor’s likeness in perpetuity, although the AMPTP has denied this is the case, counterclaiming that likenesses will only be licensed for one production.
Cruise is famously a big fan of the movies, and after the COVID pandemic was one of the major driving forces behind getting the public back into theaters, so it makes sense that he would try to use his clout to push for an end to the strike. However, it has to be said that the fact that industrial action is taking place alongside the release of the newest Mission: Impossible film is likely another factor behind Cruise’s involvement. He is only human, after all.
Whether or not Cruise’s input has had any effect probably won’t be confirmed until the strike is, at some point, called off. However, with the studios lurching from being merely money-hungry and dismissive of actors to out-and-out cartoon villainy, how long exactly that will be is anyone’s guess. For now, Cruise will just have to suck it up like the rest of his colleagues, even if it means that Dead Reckoning Part One doesn’t quite get the media storm it deserves.