Tom Cruise provided fans with a behind-the-scenes glimpse of how he and his team accomplished the “greatest stunt in cinema history” for “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One.”
On Wednesday, the 60-year-old actor released a 9½-minute video showcasing the behind-the-scenes process of creating a stunt for the upcoming movie. The stunt involved Cruise riding a motorcycle off a cliff and then performing a base jump into a ravine.
Tom Cruise expressed, “This is the most perilous undertaking we have ever embarked on. We plan to film it in Norway, where I will be performing a motorcycle leap off a cliff, transitioning into a base jump.”
Cruise expressed his long-standing desire to undertake daring feats since his youth. The film’s writer and director, Christopher McQuarrie, mentioned that Cruise, who insists on performing his own stunts, took charge of organizing every aspect, including the plan and the stunt team.
Stunt coordinator Wade Eastwood disclosed that Cruise dedicated a year to intense training, including base training, advanced skydiving, and developing various skills related to canopy control and tracking.
Miles Daisher, the base jumping coach, expressed admiration for Cruise, describing him as an exceptional individual.
Wade Eastwood, the second unit director and stunt coordinator, explained the thorough preparations undertaken by Cruise and the team, which involved “a year of learning the basics of base jumping, advanced skydiving training, honing skills in controlling the parachute, and mastering the technique of tracking.”
Miles Daisher, the base jumping coach, expressed admiration for Cruise, referring to him as an “incredible person.” Daisher further commented, “When you give him instructions, he grasps them instantly. His exceptional sense of spatial awareness makes him the most observant individual I have ever encountered.”
Eastwood described the process, saying, “We closely followed John and Miles in the air, practicing various positions. They acted as a two-person team, maneuvering above and below each other, backtracking and front tracking. We’ve put in extensive practice and repetition to perfect our techniques.”
In the clip, Cruise explained that the motocross was the next part of the training.
Eastwood reminisced about their preparations, mentioning that they constructed a motocross track to help the actor become accustomed to jumping over 70- to 80-foot table tops and to develop a sense of comfort with it.
Cruise emphasized the importance of his training, stating, “I need to reach a level of mastery where I am so skilled that I never miss my targets.”
Cruise mentioned that he dedicated himself to extensive training and practice, completing more than 30 jumps daily to master every element of the stunt. The featurette highlighted that he accumulated a total of over 13,000 jumps throughout his training, with Eastwood highlighting that he accomplished over 500 skydives as part of his preparation.
McQuarrie described another difficulty they faced, which was strategically placing the cameras to ensure that all the stunts could be effectively captured on film.
He elaborated on the technical aspects of the stunt, stating, “Creating the stunt is just one aspect; the other challenge is positioning a camera in a way that captures Tom’s action clearly.”
He also mentioned that it was a challenge to find the appropriate lens, platform, and medium for capturing the stunts. He noted that even just two years ago, the necessary cameras did not exist to achieve what they were attempting to accomplish in the film.
Cruise inquired, “How can we engage the audience? I simply aim to provide them with an exhilarating experience.”
McQuarrie highlighted the importance of positioning the camera in front of the actor and as close to them as possible.
The production team constructed a ramp over a quarry in England to recreate the jump location in Norway. To ensure safety, they filled the landing area with cardboard boxes to catch the motorcycle after Cruise made the jump.
Cruise mentioned his considerations, asking, “How fast should I go? How far should I travel?”
To capture the precise camera shots, the production team constructed models of ramps set at various angles. These models helped calculate the trajectory of Cruise’s movement during the stunt.
Cruise wore a GPS device to monitor his movements, and drone cameras were used to capture up-close shots from various angles.
“Because if we do it all, but we don’t capture it, what is the point?” Cruise posited.
“I always wear my earplugs, so I don’t have to hear myself scream,” he said as he flashed a smile.
Cruise mentioned that achieving specific speeds and maintaining consistency were crucial. Since the motorcycle lacked a speedometer, he relied on the bike’s sound and sensation to determine the right moment to jump.
“We need to always know where Tom will be positioned in the three-dimensional space,” McQuarrie explained.
The scene transitioned to Hellesylt, Norway, during the shooting day in 2020. McQuarrie mentioned that the “Mission: Impossible” team always starts filming with the most significant stunt in the film.
Alongside the stunt work, the filmmaker emphasized the importance of ideal weather conditions. Cruise mentioned that he started warming up with base jumps to gauge the weather conditions and adjust accordingly.
“When attempting something for the first time, it’s natural to have concerns about how it will actually unfold,” Daisher expressed. “The primary focus during a stunt like this is to prevent any serious harm or fatalities.”
As Cruise embarked on his initial endeavor of riding the motorcycle off the ramp and engaging in the base jump into the rock bowl, anticipation filled the air. The team erupted with applause and jubilation as he triumphantly executed the feat without a hitch.
The footage unveiled that Cruise repeated the stunt a total of six times on that particular day.
McQuarrie stated, “This is by far the most risky stunt we have ever tried. The only thing that frightens me more is what we have in store for ‘Mission 8’.”
“Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One” is scheduled to hit theaters on July 13, 2023.