The A-list actor has been at the top of his industry for more than 30 years now and in more recent times has reinvented himself as a death-defying action star willing to go to incredible lengths for his movies, namely the Mission: Impossible franchise, which he stars in and produces.
Speaking of Mission: Impossible, the seventh movie in the franchise is the reason why Cruise is in the news and it's not for some crazy stunt which he did himself. No, it's because he was recorded shouting at two crew members who stood too close together at a computer screen in clear violation of Covid-19 guidelines. The audio was leaked by The Sun newspaper and in it, you can hear an irate Cruise berating the pair, who as he explains, could lose their jobs and put the movie in jeopardy if they were caught by officials in the UK, where the movie is being made at Warner Bros Studios.
The rant has now gone viral and been heard all around the world and in a way, you can easily empathise with Cruise. 2020 has been a very, very difficult year for everyone and trying to stick to the health and safety rules in the workplace is a task few of us ever envisioned undertaking in our lifetimes. Cruise's exasperated voice is emblematic of many people's feelings about coronavirus. His words are unlike anything we've heard from any politician or celebrity of his magnitude this year and arguably resonate stronger than any token soundbite or gesture.
That being said, there is an unsavoury element to it all. His expletive-laden rant at the two workers, who undoubtedly earn less than he does, suggests an unequal power dynamic over his staff. Shouting at anyone for making a small mistake should not be applauded and could create an awkward and disgruntled working environment. Were he given the chance to do it again, you would hope Cruise would take a more reserved approach to the situation and given the crew members a less-hot-headed talking to.
Yet for all the praise or criticism that Cruise has received, you can't help but feel that this is a very Tom Cruise thing to have done.
Cruise is not a person who does things by halves. And this has seen him get himself into several strange situations during his career. Cast your mind back to 2005 and his now-infamous appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show where he publicly declared his love for Katie Holmes. An animated Cruise, in front of an equally rabid crowd, couldn't keep himself still and even leaped onto the seat of his chair at one point. On the surface, it looked like very strange behaviour.
If anything, this moment gave birth to the celebrity gossip blogs that we are all now so obsessed with. And the level of ridicule that Cruise was subjected to is now something we unfortunately see on a daily basis.. Once again though this was an example of Cruise going into something full on and becoming the centre of attention, no matter how weird it was.
To provide a more current example, we should go back to just this summer. Shortly after the first lockdown ended in the UK, Christopher Nolan's highly anticipated Tenet was released in cinemas and one person who was first in line to see it was, yep, you guessed it, Tom Cruise.
Now rather than simply tweeting about how much he enjoyed being back at the cinema and how he liked the movie, Cruise instead put together a short film about his trip to the IMAX in Waterloo. There was no real reason for this video to exist other than the fact that Cruise could make it and display his passion for cinema in his own unique way. There was nothing outrageous in the video but it still went viral and there were soon parodies everywhere. Cruise had seemingly done it again.
Cruise’s constant viral appeal is indicative of the intrigue he has created around himself.
He's an actor who loves attention and adulation, be it good or bad. In many ways, Cruise, even when doing a simple things, just can't help playing up to the Tom Cruise hype, even when he really doesn’t need to . He is all the imperfect action heroes he’s ever played rolled into one – and then some.
This won’t be the last time he makes headlines and divides opinion. But love him or hate him, it seems that the real Mission Impossible is understanding Tom Cruise.