Tom Cruise made major headlines recently when leaked audio of his impassioned tirade towards on-set employees began making the rounds on the internet. Anyone who's in the entertainment industry knows how difficult it is to pull off a major production while dealing with the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic. On-set COVID compliance officers must be present, and the extra costs of repeatedly testing talent must be factored into the situation.
The larger scale the production, the more nerve-wracking things become, because a day of shutting down is basically not an option, as it could cost the studio hundreds of thousands of dollars. Just ask Disney and Johnny Depp during the filming of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell no Tales. Depp's reported self-inflicted wound on his finger after consuming eight ecstasy pills in a single go halted filming and cost some $350,000 a day in damages.
Cruise has a lot of his own money invested in Mission Impossible 7 - some $700,000 of it. Not to mention the producer's credit, and being the face of the long-running action flick franchise. Cruise had reportedly seen two crew members standing very close while looking at a computer screen together and went off on them for not social distancing.
"We are creating thousands of jobs you m****r f****rs. I don’t ever want to see it again. Ever. And if you don’t do it, you’re fired, and if I see you do it again, you’re f*****g gone. No apologies. You can tell it to the people that are losing their f*****g homes because our industry is shut down. It’s not going to put food on their table or pay for their college education. That’s what I sleep with every night — the future of this f*****g industry."
I listened to Tom Cruises audio from the set of MI7 and you know what he’s right on every point and from what he says it sounds like it’s been an ongoing issue.— Gay Wrath 🏳️🌈ACAB (@zombie_midgey) December 16, 2020
Anyone who villainizes him or makes jokes about this is doing it because they already have an opinion set on him.
Cruise is a polarizing figure in the film industry given his affiliation with Scientology. However, personal reports of those who've worked with the actor/producer always seem to have overwhelmingly positive things to say about his work ethic, passion, and care for his employees. The "creating thousands of jobs" line is something that Cruise has echoed throughout the years, he has often extolled the work of off-camera talents being just as important to the creation of a film as the actors'.
Fellow long-time Hollywood star George Clooney stated on a recent interview with Howard Stern on Sirius XM that Tom Cruise "didn't overreact because it is a problem." He added, "I have a friend who's an AD on another TV show who just had the almost exact same thing happen with not quite as far out a response."
Clooney did clarify that he would've handled the situation differently himself, although he does understand where Cruise was coming from, "I wouldn't have done it that big. I wouldn't have, you know, pulled people out. 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."
Just listened to the leaked audio... Tom Cruise can go fuck himself.— Tim Young (@TimRunsHisMouth) December 16, 2020
Clooney continued, "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. I understand why he did it. He's not wrong at all about that. You know, I just, I don't know that I would have done it quite that personally, but I don't know all the circumstances so maybe he had it 10 or 15 times before."