“I don’t think it was an overreaction,” said George Clooney of yelling Tom Cruise at members of the crew Mission Impossible 7. The reason for the anger was that these employees had violated anti-COVID protocols, causing the actor and producer to lose his temper at the prospect that filming would be slow again, with the consequences for workers and industry. Clooney, during the promotion of Midnight Sky, justified Cruise’s anger, representing what seems to be the general sentiment of Hollywood: they were not the best manners, but the protagonist of Mission Impossible was right.
Days after the audio of this row was leaked, we learned that five members of the team had abandoned the shooting of Christopher McQuarrie’s film, blaming their decision on a too tense work environment. Something that has not deterred Leah Remini, for her part, from raising her discordant voice and questioning Cruise’s motives for making that speech. “We’re creating thousands of jobs, you bastards,” the star was heard shouting in what, according to the documentary filmmaker, was due to a “psychotic outburst” not without calculation, as defended in an open letter published by The Underground Bunker.
Remini was part of the Church of Scientology years ago, a body to which Cruise belongs and has influenced a good part of his career. It is not the first time, then, that both have faced since on his departure Remini published a book describing the abuses of Scientology and in 2016 he got to put up a whole documentary, Leah Remini and Scientology. According to her, Cruise is “an abusive dictator, just as his guru David Miscavige taught him to be”, with Miscavige the leader of Cruise’s church. The Emmy-winning documentarian, therefore, believes that everything is part of a careful performance to polish the image of the star.
“Tom doesn’t care about the families on his team, it’s all for the hype. Tom does not believe in family values ”, he defended in his letter. “I find it incredible that people are buying it. I’d bet Tom wrote the speech himself and his Scientology assistant recorded it and posted it online. Listening to a rich actor with a lot of power to address the team in this way is a sign of weakness and of a person with serious problems ”. Remini also believes that Cruise’s ego and his self-considered “savior of the industry” have motivated this prank.
“Tom seems to believe that Hollywood is incapable of making movies without his help,” continues Remini. Saying this gives rise to thinking of Tom as that celestial figure that he thinks he is, and that Scientology has told him he is. The reality is that anyone who works in Hollywood is dealing with strict anti-Covid measures. Anyone who works knows it. Tom Cruise is not dictating how movies are made, although he thinks he is, ”he concludes.
The prevention protocols against the coronavirus, promoted by people like Steven Soderbergh, have become a standard for Hollywood (and for the rest of productions throughout the world), although Cruise’s behavior has made them visible as something omnipresent and that it’s greatly affecting how movies are made. Whether it’s a publicity stunt or not, the Church of Scientology itself has not been slow to reply to its former member, through another letter published in The Wrap.
“The Church of Scientology has done more than any other religious institution to promote prevention against COVID-19, throughout the US and the world,” he defends. “Long before the ‘stay home’ prompts, the Church made drastic decisions to prevent the spread of the virus (…) Remini is an unreliable source attacking Scientology for publicity and money, as she herself has admitted on other occasions ”.