"Tom's whole life is his work," says a source of what prompted Tom Cruise's on-set outburst Dec. 15. "When he sees something less than professional, he wants to make it right."

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Tom Cruise
Credit: Ciao Pix/BACKGRID

Although the leaked audio of Tom Cruise yelling at two crew members for reportedly violating COVID-19 precautions during the filming of Mission: Impossible 7 surprised those who listened last week, production sources say Cruise is feeling the pressure of making back-to-back blockbusters amid the pandemic.

“It’s hard to [describe] how incredibly intense and focused he is on making every movie the absolute best possible,” says a U.K.-based production source of Cruise, 58. “The Mission: Impossible movies are very special to him. They are ‘his’ movies. Tom helped set up the COVID protocol. Of course he takes it personally when the protocol is broken.

"In all the years of filming the Mission: Impossible franchise, no one has ever even heard Tom raise his voice,” adds the source. “He is usually just laser-focused on filming. This movie is very different though. He has to film while making sure everyone stays safe.”

In the two-minute leaked audio recording, posted online by The Sun and authenticated by sources to The New York Times, Cruise is heard lashing out at and using strong language with members of the film’s production team for violating on-set social distancing guidelines.

“I’m on the phone with every f------ studio at night, insurance companies, producers and they’re looking at us and using us to make their movies,” the actor is heard shouting in the clip. “We are creating thousands of jobs, you m-----f------s. I don’t ever want to see it again. Ever!”

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Tom Cruise
Tom Cruise filming Mission: Impossible 7 in Rome in October
| Credit: Insidefoto/BACKGRID

A separate film industry source notes that Cruise "is a perfectionist and he wants others to follow suit."

"Tom’s whole life is his work," says the source. "When he sees something less than professional, he wants to make it right.”

Production on the big-budget Mission sequel, which has filmed in Italy, Norway and England, was halted twice this year—in late February at the start of the pandemic and for a week in October after several positive COVID tests among the crew in Italy. Cruise, who also serves as a producer on the franchise, has been heavily involved in the production’s COVID-19 safety protocols to prevent further shutdowns.

Tom Cruise
Tom Cruise and Hayley Atwell filming Mission: Impossible 7 in Rome
| Credit: MEGA

"He feels the pressure of how scary things look now," the industry source continues. "He does not want any further disruption. There is a lot at stake.”

The seventh installment of the Mission: Impossible franchise, directed by Christopher McQuarrie and also starring Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames, Rebecca Ferguson, Vanessa Kirby and Hayley Atwell, is scheduled to hit theaters in November 2021.

  • with reporting by LINDA MARX