Tom Cruise’s commitment to performing his own stunts in the Mission Impossible movies may be viewed as reckless. But, according to the actor—and everyone around him—it’s what’s elevated the films, which are heralded as one of the best action franchises of all time. Plus, he flat-out loves it.
“I’m not the sort of person who does anything on a whim,” Tom Cruise, who returns as IMF agent Ethan Hunt for Mission Impossible: Fallout, tells Men’s Journal. “I’m very meticulous about how I prepare both physically and mentally. There are a lot of briefings throughout the shooting day. I like to create a team environment, one where I can push for excellence.”
Christopher McQuarrie, Fallout‘s writer and director, stands at the head of that team to make sure the stunts and plot line are seamlessly intertwined. Collaborating with Cruise meant pushing the boundaries of modern-day filmmaking.
“Working with Tom is the most fun you’ll ever have—it’s also the hardest you’ll ever work,” McQuarrie says. “There aren’t any rules. We’re just with him for the ride.”
Master stunt coordinator, Wade Eastwood, was also crucial. He worked closely with Cruise, helping him train for each spectacle.
“The training for each stunt is relentless—he’s activating and engaging different muscles for months,” Eastwood says. “What he puts his body through is intense, even when there’s machinery there to help. Every time he got in the car at the end of the day, he was asleep within five minutes.”
Of course, authenticity has its price. The movie had to shut down production for six weeks when Cruise broke his ankle jumping off a rooftop in London. But Cruise insists it was worth it.
“It’s all about immersing an audience in extreme action, and doing it practically,” he says. “The audience can just feel it when it’s real. My adrenaline was definitely pumping while making this one. I gave everything I had.”
Here’s how three of the most epic stunts were created for Mission Impossible: Fallout.
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