Mission: Impossible was great in that it contained a “stunt” involving Tom Cruise using incredible core strength to steal information from the CIA. Mission: Impossible 2 and M:I:III suffered because they didn’t really feature real stunts, unless you count Tom Cruise rock climbing. Ghost Protocol raised the bar with the tallest building in the world, which is hard to top! Though Rogue Nation and the upcoming Mission: Impossible – Fallout feature impressive main stunts in their own right, writer/director Christopher McQuarrie has obviously worked to bring up the stunt count per film.
We’ve all seen shots from the helicopter stunt, whether it was from the first trailer for Fallout, or the behind-the-scenes video that revealed how fucking crazy it was.
At CinemaCon is Las Vegas, Tom Cruise and director Christopher McQuarrie took to the stage, walking the crowd through a mid-air stunt that was first hinted at in this Instagram post:
CinemaBlend describes the stunt as a high-altitude, low-window jump from a plane traveling 200 mph. Ethan Hunt (Cruise) and Henry Cavill’s CIA agent August Walker are on a mission which requires they jump over the city of Paris. McQuarrie explained they had three minutes of natural sunset a night, and attempted the scene more than 100 times. Dangerous, yet willing to get just the right take, I suppose.
But that’s not all the scene entailed. As in any good action film, but especially during a Mission: Impossible stunt, the stakes have to be raised even higher with a last minute complication, explained McQuarrie:
“As Ethan is getting ready to jump out of the plane, because we like to add a complication or two, through the opened gate [Ethan] sees that there’s a massive lightning storm over the city they’re supposed to be diving into.”
The storm was surely CGI, though the jumping actors had to simulate diving through one, with riskier maneuvers, but that’s what it takes to raise the stakes, combing something real with a visual effect to add further tension. Think about the sandstorm Hunt sees while scaling the building in Dubai.
McQuarrie emphasized how much training had to go into figuring out jumpsuits and a camera rig that could shoot Cruise in mid air so it was clear it was always the actor and not a stuntman. A cameraman had to be trained to jump out before Cruise did as well, free falling backwards. Cruise explained:
“So you can understand why people tell us, ‘There’s no way you are going to be able to do this. This is not going to happen.’ One take a night. That’s why it took a year to figure out. We actually had to hire the camera operator, train him how to shoot on film and not just capture an image.”
Simon Pegg had something to add as well:
“The difference between us watching Tom do those stunts to when you watch him do them is that you know he lived. It is a daily stress going to work with him because you don’t know if you are going to see him tomorrow. And that can be scary!”
Are you excited to watch Tom Cruise risk life and limb as a keeper of realism in action films? Let us know in the comment section below.
Mission: Impossible – Fallout hits theaters on July 27, 2018
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