Tom Cruise has seemingly spent the past 20 years trying to kill himself onscreen while performing a ridiculously dangerous stunt. And with the upcoming Mission: Impossible 7, Cruise says audiences will soon witness the most death-defying stunt of the 58-year-old-actor's Career.
In an exclusive with British film magazine Empire, Cruise offers details about the stunt itself, which involves racing a motorcycle off a huge cliff.
“If the wind was too strong, it would blow me off the ramp,” Cruise told Empire. "The helicopter [filming the stunt] was a problem, because I didn’t want to be hammering down that ramp at top speed and get hit by a stone. Or if I departed in a weird way, we didn’t know what was going to happen with the bike. I had about six seconds once I departed the ramp to pull the chute and I don’t want to get tangled in the bike. If I do, that’s not going to end well."
The stunt itself made headlines last year, and it looks like yet another eye-popping moment for the franchise.
With each successive M:I film, Cruise boasts about a new “most dangerous stunt” of his career. But at this point, it’s hard to not believe the guy: He’s taken the spy series from espionage potboiler to adrenaline-fueled spectacle over the years, becoming something of an American Jackie Chan along the way.
Still, the M:I series has set action the bar impossibly high. Here’s just a sampling of the wild stunts the actor claims he will top with the series next outing.
The free-solo climb (Mission: Impossible 2)
The original 1996 Mission: Impossible had some fun stunts, including its now-iconic wire sequence, but when time came for the sequel, Hong Kong legend John Woo took the directorial reins and went bugnuts, opening the film with a vertiginous free-solo climb for… no reason, really. It just looked cool, and Cruise fully committed to dangling high above Moab Utah. If you pause at just the right time, you'll see where Cruise becomes fully addicted to adrenaline.
The bridge assault (Mission: Impossible III)
How do you convincingly capture an extended shots of one of the world's biggest stars sprinting across a bridge, dodging explosions while getting slammed into various cars? You film Tom Cruise springing across a bridge, dodging explosions while slamming into various cars.
The Burj Khalifa (Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol)
Things took a turn to the truly ridiculous in Ghost Protocol, with Incredibles director Brad Bird turning the franchise into a breathless living cartoon. Its high point — pun unintended but very welcome — came in an extended scene featuring Cruise dangling and free-climbing the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. Cruise gave audiences and insurance providers extreme anxiety hanging 2,722 above the ground from the world’s tallest building and effectively laid down the gauntlet for what was to come in the series.
Takeoff (Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation)
Usual Suspects scribe Christopher McQuarrie’s first of a soon-to-be four M:I movies kicked off with a white-knuckle scene of Cruise hanging from the side of a plane as it takes off. It was somehow not the craziest thing he did in the film….
The Morocco chase (Rogue Nation)
That honor goes to the absolute banger of a sequence in which an all-timer of a car chase through the streets of Marrakesh becomes a full-throttle motorcycle pursuit along the winding roads of Morocco. The high-speed chase looks like the most dangerous travelogue of the Moroccan countryside ever filmed, with a helmet-less Cruise hugging impossibly close to the road around curves as other riders careen off cliffs and across the pavement.
The HALO jump (Mission: Impossible - Falllout)
Cruise is currently working on a film set to be shot in space. He got pretty close already in the superlative Fallout by becoming the first actor to perform a HALO jump, plunging 25,000 feet from above Earth in full, unbroken view of the camera before ripping his parachute chord at a neck-breaking 2,000 feet.
The helicopter chase (Fallout)
Between Fallout's the HALO jump and the climax, Cruise also gets into a massive bathroom brawl with Henry Cavill, races motorcycles (again) and breaks his actual leg in a rooftop chase. But the breathless final sequence is an extended helicopter chase in with he climbs a rope up to a moving chopper, dangles from its landing gear and eventually takes the controls to lead a chase through narrow cliffs. Of course, Cruise is the one flying, having trained for 2 years to pilot a chopper and execute an upside-down maneuver. He then dangles from another cliff after crashing the thing and gets in a vertical fight with the main villain, because apparently there is no stopping this man.
Will the motorcycle jump top any of these? Probably. But we’ll find out when Mission: Impossible 7 releases in May of 2022... provide Cruise survives filming.