"I've got to see her," an emotional Cruise told a friend recently

Tom Cruise is dealing with a new – and very unexpected – reality.

Based in London since mid-August, where he is deep in pre-production for the sci-fi action film All You Need Is Kill, the 50-year-old actor has been unable to see his 6-year-old daughter for nearly two months. (The pair were last together on Aug. 5, following a Walt Disney World vacation.)

“I’ve got to see her,” an emotional Cruise told a friend recently. “I miss her.”

Several sources tell PEOPLE in this week’s cover story that the actor’s rigorous film commitments – which he made well before his ex, Katie Holmes, filed for divorce and sole custody on June 29 – have presented an exceptional challenge in terms of seeing Suri.

With Suri now based full time in New York City, where Holmes enrolled her in Manhattan’s private Avenues school, she has far less flexibility to visit him on set than under her previous home-school arrangement. Several sources say that a planned visit to London in mid-September was called off.

Still, the newly minted first-grader is a fixture in her father’s life, speaking with him several times a day.

“I can tell you that I haven’t had a meeting with Tom that was not interrupted by a phone call with his daughter,” says his friend, screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie.