In December, Britain's The Sun newspaper released leaked audio of the "Mission: Impossible 7" producer and actor shouting at crew members outside of London in an expletive-filled tirade, purportedly for breaking COVID-19 set safety protocols.
The Golden Globe winner, who recently returned his trophies, addressed the viral clip for the first time Monday, doubling down on his messaging because "there was a lot at stake at that point."
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The Sun reported the outburst on set in Leavesden, England, started in front of a crew of 50 after Cruise saw two crew members standing too close to one another in front of a computer screen: "If I see you do it again you’re (expletive) gone. And if anyone on this crew does it, that’s it."
In the audio, Cruise can be heard shouting: "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. 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 (expletive). I don’t ever want to see it again. Ever!”
Cruise clarified to Empire magazine Monday that he didn't shout at the "entire crew." He said he "had the crew leave the set" while he scolded "select people."
The actor's rant provoked both strong support for its public safety message and criticism, but Cruise said it was clearly effective because filming was "never shut down again" during the pandemic: "And here we are, continuing to film."
"All those emotions were going through my mind," he added. "And for the whole crew to know that we’d started rolling on a movie was just a huge relief… It was very emotional."
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The action franchise was firstshut down in February 2020 in Venice, Italy, following a coronavirus outbreak in the country before the first day of production. The movie was hit with more delays in October when 12 people on the Italy set tested positive for COVID-19, Variety reported. Production resumed a week later.
In the leaked audio, Cruise fumed: "You can tell it to the people who are losing their (expletive) 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 – and the future of this (expletive) industry. So I’m sorry, I am beyond your apologies. I have told you, and now I want it, and if you don’t do it, you’re out. We are not shutting this (expletive) movie down! Is it understood? If I see it again, you’re (expletive) gone."
"Am I clear? Do you understand what I want? Do you understand the responsibility that you have? Because I will deal with your reason, and if you can’t be reasonable and I can’t deal with your logic, you’re fired," Cruise continued, as voices can be heard answering, "Yes sir."
"That’s it. That is it. I trust you guys to be here," Cruise said calmly at the end of the audio recording.
"Mission: Impossible 7," directed by Christopher McQuarrie, is set to released in May 2022.
Contributing: Bryan Alexander
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Tom Cruise stands by his expletive-laden 'M:I7' rant over COVID-19