Tom Cruise recently hit the headlines when a furious rant to Mission: Impossible 7 crew members about COVID-19 social distancing was leaked. After spotting a couple of people who were less than two meters apart, he threatened their jobs, saying that if he sees anyone breaking the rules on set again, they’re “f*cking gone.”
It’s a rare outburst from Cruise, whose PR team does their best to show him as a friendly, relaxed but deeply focused actor committed to his action roles. To be fair to the Hollywood mega star, though, it’s understandable that he’d be strict about COVID-19 rules on set. Mission: Impossible 7 has already shut down production twice because of the pandemic, once in late February when the entire film and TV industry closed shop and again in September after multiple crew members tested positive.
Now, insiders working on the project have spoken to People Magazine about the incident, and here’s what one of them shared:
“It’s hard to [describe] how incredibly intense and focused he is on making every movie the absolute best possible. The Mission: Impossible movies are very special to him. They are ‘his’ movies. Tom helped set up the COVID protocol. Of course, he takes it personally when the protocol is broken. In all the years of filming the Mission: Impossible franchise, no one has ever even heard Tom raise his voice. He is usually just laser-focused on filming. This movie is very different though. He has to film while making sure everyone stays safe.”
Another anonymous crew member, meanwhile, added:
“Tom’s whole life is his work. He feels the pressure of how scary things look now. He does not want any further disruption. There is a lot at stake. When he sees something less than professional, he wants to make it right.”
I have some suspicions that these statements may be a bit of damage control from Cruise’s media team, and there are even allegations that the whole thing is a publicity stunt. But honestly, given that the COVID-19 pandemic is far into its second wave, deaths are increasing around the world and we’re dealing with a new and more virulent strain, it’s nice to see someone at least appearing to take it seriously.
Plus, we’ve learned that major productions are spending a hell of a lot of their budgets on PPE and set safety at the moment, with production shutdowns costing studios millions of dollars and potentially endangering release dates.
Whatever the case, this particular shoot looks to be continuing in as safe a manner as possible. Cruise’s Ethan Hunt has an especially busy few years ahead of him, too, with Mission: Impossible 7 due on November 19th, 2021 and Mission: Impossible 8 following just under a year later on November 4th, 2022.