Tom Cruise Addresses Shouting at 'Mission Impossible' Crew Over COVID, Calls Situation 'Emotional'

The actor lashed out at crew members on the set of Mission: Impossible 7 late last year over COVID-19 protocols being neglected

Tom Cruise
Photo: Lia Toby/BFC/Getty Images

Tom Cruise is breaking his silence after an audio recording leaked late last year that featured the actor lashing out at crew members on the set of Mission: Impossible 7 over COVID-19 protocols being neglected.

While chatting with Empire for a recent interview, Cruise, 58, stood by the statements he made, noting that there was "a lot at stake" in the tense moment. "I said what I said," Cruise told the outlet in the forthcoming interview, which will be published in full Thursday, according to the Los Angeles Times. "There was a lot at stake at that point."

"All those emotions were going through my mind," he continued in part of the interview that Empire published online Wednesday. "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."

Cruise also clarified to the magazine that the dressing down didn't happen in front of his "entire crew," but only "select people" he called out for their actions, according to the Times.

"And here we are, continuing to film," he added, per the outlet.

Empire Magazine Cover Summer 2021 Tom Cruise
Empire Magazine

Back in December, a two-minute recording — posted by The Sun and authenticated by sources to The New York Times — featured the actor and producer yelling at members of the production team in London for reportedly violating on-set social distancing guidelines.

The big-budget action sequel halted production in Italy back in February 2020 as the coronavirus outbreak began, but eventually resumed in Rome in October. Variety reported that the set was then shut down for a week in October after positive COVID tests.

"They're back there in Hollywood making movies right now because of us. Because they believe in us and what we're doing," Cruise is heard shouting in the clip. "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. 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. Insidefoto/BACKGRID

Cruise then told the team members that if he sees them "do it again, you're f------ gone ... that's it."

"No apologies. You can tell it to the people who are losing their f------ homes because our industry is shut down," he continued. "It's not going to put food on their table or pay for their college education. That's what I sleep with every night — the future of this f-----g industry! So I'm sorry, I'm beyond your apologies."

RELATED VIDEO: Tom Cruise Shouts at Mission: Impossible Crew for Not Respecting COVID Guidelines: 'No Apologies'

Following Cruise's outburst, production sources told PEOPLE that the actor was feeling the pressure of making back-to-back blockbusters amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

"It's hard to [describe] how incredibly intense and focused he is on making every movie the absolute best possible," a U.K.-based production source said of Cruise. "The Mission: Impossible movies are very special to him."

"They are 'his' movies," the source continued. "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," added the source at the time. "He is usually just laser-focused on filming."

"This movie is very different though," the source noted. "He has to film while making sure everyone stays safe."

The film is now scheduled to be released in May 2022.

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