Emily Blunt's Story About Working With Tom Cruise On "Edge Of Tomorrow" Highlights An Important Problem In Hollywood

    "I still sort of have this injury that's sustained from it."

    Emily Blunt clarified what she said about working with Tom Cruise on the 2014 movie Edge of Tomorrow, but there's still reason to be concerned.

    It all started when Emily shared on the Smartless podcast what it was like wearing an 85-pound suit in the movie. "The first time I put it on, I started to cry in front of Tom, and he didn't know what to do," she said. "I was like, 'Tom, I'm not sure how I'm going to get through this shoot.' He just stared at me for a long time, not knowing what to do, and he goes, 'Come on, stop being such a pussy, OK?' I did laugh, and then we got through it."

    In writing about this exchange, I called it "extremely unprofessional and horrible." I also said that Tom "swore at her," which he did, even if it was intended as a joke. Not that these two events are linked, but Emily subsequently said in a statement about how things were covered, "It's ludicrous that it's being spun as something that offended me. It didn't. I shared the story as lightheartedly as it was meant by Tom."

    "I absolutely adore Tom, he's a dear friend and he was a total gem to me," she continued. "It was said as a joke to make me laugh, which it did in a big way. And it's still something we laugh about to this day."

    But the thing is: Emily was right to cry about the demands expected from the shoot. She was permanently injured while wearing the suit. "I still sort of have this injury that's sustained from it," Emily said in the interview, outlining an aerial stunt that went wrong. "My ribs and my collarbone [are still] a bit dodge. Thanks Tom Cruise," she added sarcastically.

    Emily has told the aerial stunt story before. At the time, she said that Tom's reaction was to say, "‘Yeah! First stunt injury! He high-fived me as if it was my initiation. I was in the club."

    The responsibility of on-set safety does not fall on Tom. But it's worth saying that at the time, Emily was a newcomer to action movies and Tom Cruise was, well, Tom Cruise. Would him saying, "Hey, maybe we should reconsider this" have changed things? Maybe not. We'll never know.

    Tom clearly cares about on-set safety in other regards — remember when he yelled at crew members on Mission: Impossible for not sticking to COVID protocol? In my mind, the difference in attitude boils down to a very old-school, performance-driven, "suck up and deal with it if it gets results" method. We know where this can end: with actors getting unnecessarily injured.

    I don't have to even come up with a hypothetical here, as Emily did get injured on set. Plus, as she herself pointed out in the podcast interview, the suit she wore was "so heavy" that a man had to be her stunt double.

    "That should tell you something. That you can't find a girl to want to do it," Emily said, noting that she would want someone else to do her stunts in a potential sequel. That the suits weren't designed at all for women is (just to be clear) not Tom's responsibility, but let's listen to Emily: What does this say about how women's safety is treated on set?

    I also want to touch on the "pussy" of it all, because it is a gendered insult. I frankly do not care about what people excuse in their own interpersonal relationships. If Emily thinks of this experience fondly and it helped her, awesome! But she is speaking about what is fundamentally a coworker interaction on a very popular podcast. This story didn't have to be told. It's okay to be uncomfortable by what hyping up this kind of behavior can normalize — hell, Jason Bateman's (one of the podcast's hosts) response is to say, "Nice, good for Tom."

    Some might say (and did!) that my original complaints — and even the existence of this post — is reading far too much into things. I'm okay with that. I've covered old interviews of women talking about negative experiences on set to the laughter of men before. I've seen how they've aged. A woman complained about unreasonable demands on set and was later badly injured — and this is played for laughs. Perhaps Emily may have shared this "lightheartedly," but the reality is far more murky.