Tom Cruise had COVID months after chiding film crew, report says
A new report raises questions about Tom Cruise’s presentation of himself as the safety-conscious star of “Mission: Impossible 7,” who was so vehement about protecting the production from COVID-19 that he notoriously yelled expletives at crew members who purportedly violated COVID safety protocols.
Indeed, the investigative report by the Hollywood Reporter said it is believed that Cruise didn’t get the COVID-19 vaccine, at least as of June 2021. That means he remained unvaccinated after an audio recording of his infamous dressing down of crew members was leaked to the media in December 2020.
The report by veteran journalist Kim Masters also said that Cruise and director Christopher McQuarrie contracted COVID-19 in an outbreak in June 2021, with the outbreak forcing production of “Mission: Impossible” to shut down for the seventh time.
Neither Cruise nor McQuarrie was believed to be vaccinated at the time, Masters wrote, even though vaccines started to become widely available in the U.S. and U.K. in early 2021. McQuarrie’s illness also was so severe that he was hospitalized in London, Masters added. The outbreak was blamed on dancers who were shooting a nightclub scene and who were close to Cruise, Masters added.
The reasons that Cruise and McQuarrie didn’t get vaccinated are not clear, Masters said, but in Cruise’s case, it’s apparently not because of his devotion to the controversial Church of Scientology, which has taken no official stance on COVID-19 vaccines, Fast Company reported. Sources familiar with the organization’s policy told Masters that the decision about getting vaccinated is left up to members. Masters also said that neither Cruise nor McQuarrie responded to a request for comment.
Masters’ report mainly focuses on the reasons that the two latest films in the “Mission: Impossible” franchise have continued to be delayed, with the budget for “MI:7” ballooning to “a breathtaking $290 million.”
In January 2019, Cruise announced the next two installments of the franchise, with the first, “MI:7,” to be released in July 2021 and the second, “MI:8,” to be release in August 2022.
But July 2021 has come and gone, and the release date for release date for “MI:7” has been pushed back to July 2023; “MI:8” will arrive in June 2024. Cruise’s “Top Gun: Maverick,” the sequel to his 1986 blockbuster arrives in theaters May 27.
Masters focuses on how Cruise and McQuarrie continue to tinker with “MI:7” while simultaneously starting work on “MI:8.” Executives told Masters that Cruise is driven by his own perfectionism, while he and McQuarrie together take an “improvisational” approach to filmmaking.
Cruise, a producer on the film, seems to expect that Paramount executives will agree to his requests for delays and more money because he has brought in more than $3.6 billion in box office, playing Ethan Hunt in the “Mission: Impossible” films.
Cruise is at odds with Paramount over the distribution of “MI:7,” unhappy that the studio is setting a short, 45-day theatrical window for the film before it lands on Paramount’s streaming service, Masters also reported. Cruise wants “MI: 7” to be released through a more traditional three-month model.
Certainly, COVID-19 has contributed to the multiple shutdowns, delays and cost overruns, as Masters reported. “MI: 7” began filming in northern Italy in February 2020, but COVID cases soon hit the region hard in the early days of the pandemic. Production was shut down before the Italian government locked the country down in early March 2020.
Filming resumed first in the U.K. and then in Norway, with Cruise and the producers trying to work around different countries’ quarantine rules. Production resumed in Italy in October 2020, but was shut down again after 12 people tested positive on the set.
With this track record of shutdowns and delays, many say it’s understandable that Cruise would be extremely concerned about keeping the sets free of more outbreaks. While shooting took place outside London, the tabloid The Sun obtained the recording of Cruise yelling at crew members who were reportedly standing too close together.
With his rant, Masters described Cruise as framing the “Mission: Impossible” production as “a model for the industry” in terms of COVID safety. Cruise was heard fuming: “I’m on the phone with every (expletive) studio at night, insurance companies, producers, and they’re looking at us and using us to make their movies. We are creating thousands of jobs, you (expletives)!”
Cruise added: “We are not shutting this (expletive) movie down! Is it understood? If I see you do it again, you’re (expletive) gone!”
While some, including George Clooney, didn’t agree with Cruise’s choice to yell at subordinates, they also said they understood his concerns, given the dire state of the film industry during COVID.
In the general public, Cruise the mega-star was held as a sort of hero who was speaking on behalf of people who had spent nearly a year diligently isolating and wearing masks to stop the spread of COVID.
“It’s easy to see why Cruise would be riled up,” the Atlantic said. “It’s even easier to cheer him on: He’s expressing the inner thoughts of many Americans who have tried to persuade people flouting coronavirus precautions to protect themselves and others. … It’s cathartic, even comforting, to hear him assert that safety is paramount.”
The Atlantic added that Cruise’s outburst was “indicative” of how film and TV sets have become “pressure cookers” during the pandemic, reporting that strictly following health and safety guidelines can add about $1 million to the average movie shoot.
In May 2021, Cruise stood by his harsh words to crew members, telling Empire magazine they were necessary to prevent another production shutdown.
“I said what I said,” the actor told Empire. He insisted that he didn’t yell at the entire crew, just some “select people.”
Of course, the fact that the production was shut down again the following month raises questions about the reportedly unvaccinated megastar saying he was strongly motivated to prevent any further delays in shooting. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Cruise was the center of the June 2021 outbreak. Sources told Masters that Cruise’s family members, who were with him on the production were stricken, followed by Cruise and McQuarrie.
Nonetheless, Cruise told Empire: “I was thinking about the people I work with, and my industry. And for the whole crew to know that we’d started rolling on a movie was just a huge relief. It was very emotional, I gotta tell you.” —— (C) YR MediaNews Group, Inc. Visit at mercurynews.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
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Tom Cruise had COVID months after chiding film crew, report says