Up until a few days ago, Mission: Impossible 7 seemed to be on a roll. The franchise is actually shooting two movies back-to-back and we’d seen numerous stunts and car scenes being filmed for the Tom Cruise-led blockbuster. Then, audio surfaced allegedly featuring Tom Cruise berating crew members for not following safety protocols, a move Leah Remini has claimed was a publicity stunt and the Church of Scientology has now denied.
Days after Tom Cruise’s alleged outburst showed up online, Leah Remini took to a blog to claim that the whole thing was a “publicity stunt” from the Mission: Impossible 7 actor. She feels that producers on the movie could have “handled the the situation privately and professionally” and that “Tom probably saw this as an opportunity to appear as the epitome of strength.” She claimed this type of action was a common effort in the Church of Scientology, as well.
After Leah Remini’s blog comments received wider notice, the Church of Scientology, which Tom Cruise is a member of, got involved. Now, the Church has released a statement saying that it is taking Covid-19 seriously and disagreeing with Remini’s take that Tom Cruise's behavior on set was connected with the Church or its ideals. In a statement (via The Wrap) the Church of Scientology said:
The Church of Scientology has done more than any other religious institution in promoting COVID-19 prevention actions–throughout the U.S. and worldwide. Long before ‘stay at home’ directives, the Church took aggressive actions to prevent the spread of the virus. The Church’s leader acted well ahead of the curve. Remini is an unreliable source who attacks Scientology for publicity and money – as she herself has admitted.
Leah Remini and the Church of Scientology have had a contentious relationship in recent history. Remini used to be a member of the Church. After leaving, she has spoken out about her experiences via the docuseries Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath, which ran on A&E. She has also said the Church sent hundreds of letters to advertisers on the network to try and discourage spending. She previously has also noted her issues with Scientology began when she attended Tom Cruise’s wedding.
Following the reported leaked audio clip, Tom Cruise and his publicity team have remained largely silent about the incident. However, reports from the set of Mission: Impossible 7 have alleged a few people quit the movie following the rant. Then, the film itself reportedly shut down production a few days earlier than expected to give the cast and crew more of a break around the holidays.
Mission: Impossible 7 is not the only movie or TV production dealing with major safety protocols right now. There’s additional stress on every production as there are longer working hours, more safety gear and there is less camaraderie allowed on set. Some projects have even had to shut down for periods, including high-profile projects such as Netflix's The Witcher. In a recent interview with Emmy Magazine and Paul Bettany, that actor spoke of the WandaVision set and how production has been affected in that forum, noting,
It’s really peculiar being directed by someone with most of their face hidden, and there’s no hanging out on the set by the video village watching everyone else. But it is a version of the peculiar that at least works.
Tom Cruise’s specific safety protocol commentary was reportedly related to crew members who were masked on the set of the movie, but were not following the protocols for proper social distancing in terms of space. The crew members were reportedly fewer than two meters apart. Cruise is also credited as a producer on the Mission: Impossible films, as well as starring in them as spy Ethan Hunt.