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Tom Cruise is perhaps most famous for doing a majority of his own stunts himself.
The "Mission: Impossible" movies required him to climb the world's tallest building, hold his breath underwater for around six minutes, and jump 25,000 feet out of a plane.
In "Top Gun: Maverick," Cruise flew real fighter jets, which required a unique six camera setup to capture all the action in the cockpit.
Following is a transcript of the video:
Narrator: In this scene from "Mission: Impossible -- Fallout," Ethan Hunt jumps 25,000 feet out of a plane before landing in Paris. A risky move like this would normally require a stunt double, but that's actually Tom Cruise, and that background behind him is not a green screen.
The actor is famous for almost always doing his own stunts, no matter how dangerous. From climbing the world's tallest building to hanging off the side of a plane to pulling off perhaps one of the most dangerous helicopter chases ever captured on film, Cruise is always finding new ways to top himself. And he's not stopping anytime soon.
At more than 2,700 feet, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai is the world's tallest building. So it was only a matter of time before Cruise decided to climb it. For this stunt, the actor had to climb 1,700 feet in the air, so he had to wear a special harness attached to strategic points in the building. To do this, the crew needed to break 26 different windows -- with permission, of course. This harness was so tight, Cruise said it cut off his circulation. The 65-millimeter IMAX cameras and additional helicopter shooting the scene only had a limited amount of time to record, so they had to move fast. But Cruise wasn't just climbing the building. He also had to fall four stories and run down the surface of the building in a move known as an Australian rappel. All of this required a lot of preparation. Cruise practiced by climbing up a makeshift glass wall heated with artificial lights to replicate the hot temperature of the windows on the Burj Khalifa. Stunt coordinator Gregg Smrz estimated that Cruise and the crew put in at least 200 hours of rehearsal time. This isn't Cruise's first experience climbing, however. In 2000's "Mission: Impossible 2," he climbed a 2,000-foot cliff in Utah attached to nothing but a thin safety rope and had to jump 15 feet from one cliff to another.
The stunts in "Edge of Tomorrow" were tough, but it was actually the costume that made it even more so. Throughout the film, Cruise's character wears metal exoskeleton armor, something that typically might be added on through CGI. But Cruise wore a real suit, sometimes for up to six hours a day straight. One version weighed 85 pounds, and another version weighed around 130 pounds, thanks to a sniper rifle and missile launcher on the back. Here's what Cruise normally looks like running in a scene. Compare that to this shot of him and his costar Emily Blunt running while both wore the suits. In another stunt for the film, the actor was attached to a wire and thrown across the room while wearing it. To take some of the weight off and help them run more easily, Cruise and Blunt were often attached to cables. It took Cruise 30 minutes to get into the suit and 30 to get out. The team eventually got that down to around 30 seconds.
While Cruise had plenty of experience flying planes in "Top Gun," in "Rogue Nation," he decided to go into the air in a rather unconventional and more terrifying way. For the film's opening scene, he had to cling onto the side of an Airbus A400M that took him up 1,000 feet at a speed of 100 knots for six to eight minutes. The plane took off, did a complete circuit, and landed -- all with Tom Cruise secured to the side with this wire that would later be erased in postproduction. Because the plane went so high into the air, Cruise had to wear special contacts to protect his eyes from flying debris and strong gusts of wind. Plus, the crew had to make sure takeoff conditions were absolutely clear. If they ran into even a single bird or some rocks on the runway, it could severely injure the actor. The stunt had to be performed over and over again until the actor, director, and crew felt they got it right. For Cruise, he didn't feel confident in the take until he had gone up eight times.
The fifth "Mission" entry contained not one but two death-defying stunts, this one involving military-style preparation. In the film, Ethan Hunt needs to open an underwater vault. The vault itself was created using CGI, but Cruise still needed to work underwater for the sequence, which clocks in at just about six minutes long. He started by jumping off a 120-foot ledge into a tank filled 20 feet high with water. Then Cruise needed to film takes while holding his breath for four to six minutes. According to Cruise, most underwater sequences might have an actor hold their breath for up to 10 seconds, so this was definitely a challenge. He trained with free-diving expert Kirk Krack on a breath-hold special operations program designed for military personnel. Part of his training involved breathing exercises that would lower his standard heart rate, essentially training his body to use less oxygen. And he wouldn't just be sitting in the water during the shoot -- he would be swimming around. Why so long? Well, they had just 10 days to film the sequence, so director Christopher McQuarrie shot in a series of continuous takes, meaning the actor couldn't easily pop up for air.
While Cruise hasn't gone to space -- yet -- he has performed a zero-gravity stunt. In "The Mummy," he had to hold his breath underwater yet again, dodge explosions, and even fight Russell Crowe. The biggest standout stunt was this sequence, in which a cargo plane plummets to the ground. Cruise was offered the chance to shoot it on a soundstage, but he declined and opted for the real thing. To imitate the experience of the crash where the characters float up into the air, they shot on a plane that NASA typically uses to train astronauts. They decked out the inside of the plane with padding to make it look like a real cargo plane. The plane couldn't go into zero-gravity mode until it was at about 25,000 feet. Once at that position, it would free-fall for 22 seconds. During that time, Cruise endured four high-altitude flights. The sequence was eventually wrapped after a whopping 64 takes. And while Cruise's stunts usually require a lot of rehearsal, the actor actually said that that was quite tough here, as floating in the air makes things unpredictable.
Cruise has flown a plane and hung onto the side of one, but for "Fallout," he also learned to fly a helicopter as part of an aerial chase sequence. The 2018 film contains an array of the actor's most daring stunts, like this motorcycle chase, in which the actor rode through the streets of Paris, sometimes at 100 miles per hour. For the helicopter chase, Ethan Hunt flies through dangerous mountain terrain to stop a nuclear bomb. Before shooting, Cruise worked 16 hours a day to hit the required 2,000 hours of helicopter training. There would be up to 13 helicopters close to each other in the sky at once, so Cruise and the stunt team carefully planned out every little move in advance using these toy helicopters. And the actor needed all the preparation he could get, as he would be acting, piloting, and operating the cameras mounted to the front of his chopper all at the same time. All that planning was crucial, particularly for this 360-degree corkscrew dive, a move that's challenging even for professional pilots. According to Matt Evans, an instructor at the school where Cruise trained, the stunt involves starting with a descent, rolling into a turn, and then holding the turn as you go down. While that's happening, the actor can never take his hands off the controls.
In "Mission: Impossible 2," Cruise's character jumps out of a helicopter, but that scene was shot using a green screen. In "Fallout," Cruise decided to actually jump out of a plane and became the first actor to do a HALO jump on camera. HALO stands for high altitude, low opening. He jumped from a height of over 25,000 feet but didn't open his parachute until he was below 2,000 feet. This military move allows a soldier to jump into battle undetected. The actor practiced in a giant wind tunnel constructed on the set, and then, according to stunt coordinator Wade Eastwood, jumped out of a plane around 100 times. And a trained stunt-camera operator also had to jump out of the plane with Cruise to get the shot. To make sure every facial expression was still visible on camera, the crew developed a special helmet for Cruise with a light in it, allowing him to breathe properly while falling.
In the long-awaited sequel to Tom Cruise's 1986 breakout film, Cruise is back in the cockpit of a fighter plane. The film was shot on real military aircraft carriers, and Cruise flew in real planes. A new camera system allowed the crew to put six IMAX-quality cameras inside the cockpit. In the original "Top Gun," one of the F-14s had three cameras total mounted onto it. But it wasn't just Cruise going solo -- the rest of the cast trained alongside him. Cruise and the rest of the cast needed to actually fly for an even better viewing experience. Despite the potential risks, there are aspects of flying one simply couldn't see if they used green screen, like these distortions in the face.
What's your favorite Tom Cruise stunt? Let us know in the comments.
Read the original article on Insider