Tom Cruise is known for many things. His gleaming smile and ageless visage. Being pretty much the last remaining movie star standing. And his proclivity for doing his own insane stunts in the Mission: Impossible franchise.
And now, thanks to a viral rant from set, he’s also the voice of reason when it comes to following COVID safety guidelines. Cruise is in the midst of filming the seventh installment of Mission: Impossible, as Hollywood slowly, slowly begins production on many stalled projects. But sets keep getting shut down when positive cases surface, and the delays cost studios millions. Not to mention, the jobs that are lost when movies don’t get made. We’re not talking millionaires like Cruise, who can weather infinite delays, but folks who work in craft services, costume design, props, special effects, and hair and makeup, to name a few. Gaffers and key grips are the ones who get hit hard when productions go belly up.
“If we shut down it’s going to cost people fucking jobs, their home, their family,” yelled Cruise, from the British set of his film.
So Cruise’s litany of four letter words actually makes total sense. “We are the gold standard. They’re back there in Hollywood making movies right now because of us! Because they believe in us and what we’re doing,” says Cruise in the audio recording, released by England’s The Sun newspaper. “We are creating thousands of jobs you motherfuckers. I don’t ever want to see it again!”
“I don’t ever want to see it again, ever! And if you don’t do it you’re fired, if I see you do it again you’re fucking gone. And if anyone in this crew does it — that’s it, and you too and you too.”
Cruise apparently was incensed by a violation of social distancing protocols.
“That’s it. No apologies. You can tell it to the people that are losing their fucking homes because our industry is shut down,” he shouted.
The thing is, Cruise has a point. We don’t need to feel sorry for rich celebrities here, but, in truth, making movies right now is a risky business. And sets have undergone complete overhauls in an effort to keep cast and crew from getting infected or spreading infections. Masks are mandatory. So are COVID tests. A few sets have pods within pods, in which certain cast members interact only with specific crew members, to keep contact to a minimum.
“We were tested every single day. And then we all had a pod system, so everybody had a different color,” says Michelle Gomez, referring to the set of HBO’s The Flight Attendant.
And making it work, and seem quasi-normal, requires total cooperation.
To wit: “I’m a hugger and a high fiver. To not be able to see people’s expressions — I miss seeing smiles. That’s been a change. But within a few days, everyone found their path within their department. It’s made me so proud to be part of this community. Everyone is working really hard to stay working. Things take a little bit longer. The craft department is only handling my coffee mug and I only handle my coffee mug. People are really respecting it and understanding why,” actress Michelle Monaghan told Fatherly, from her film set in Canada.