It has been 19 years already since the first time that Tom Cruise starred as the super agent Ethan Hunt in the first “Mission: Impossible” movie, a franchise that let the actor show his amazing stunts and that are considered legendary. Each film provides fans with amazing new stunts that are performed entirely by Cruise.
Let’s remember that time in 2011 when Cruise bravely climbs the Burj Khalifa (the tallest building and hotel in the world) in “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol” and made everyone get thrilled.
We must wait to Friday to be able to watch “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation,” but everyone have already watched some of Cruise’s newest stunts in the movie trailer, and the most outstanding was the one which Cruise hangs on the door of a massive airplane.
So, you probably have realized that is indeed Tom Cruise and not a stunt double.
But, there are more dangerous stuffs that you will be able to see in the film. Wade Eastwood, film’s stunt coordinator explained that he wasn’t concerned about the plane stunt particularly but for another one.
In an important moment in the story, agent Ethan Hunt must dive into an underwater fortress to recover a computer chip that will help him get close to the movie’s villain while holding his breath the entire time. Also, he must avoid an enormous crane that is circling around.
The stunt required the actor to jump from a 120-foot ledge, and though the bottom was made with CGI, the jump was real.
Later, Cruise had to hold his breath while acting his scene in a submerged set that was completely filled up to 20-feet high with water.
“It’s all Tom,” Eastwood explained during a Business Insider interview. “There’s no time you don’t see Ethan in the film and it’s not Tom.”
According to Eastwood, he had worked alongside with Cruise during the production of “Edge of Tomorrow.” So, he was familiar with the actor’s wishes of being authentic when making his own stunts. But he is still amazed by Cruise’s physical abilities.
“It’s been said in other interviews, if he wasn’t an actor he would have been a great stunt man,” said Eastwood. “The difference between Tom and a stunt man is he acts the character after hearing ‘action.’ A stunt person just does the stunt to double the character.”
And this was the most challenging part that made the stunt coordinator job highly difficult during the underwater scene.
Eastwood told Cruise that he still had to act while being underwater, after all, the set was filled with cameras that were monitoring the actor and a professional stunt crew were ready to jump in the water in something wrong happened. FYI, Cruise had also to act like if he was about to get unconscious at the same time that he was losing his breath.
“On two or three occasions I brought him up because I felt he was down for too long,” said Eastwood. “He was like, ‘What are you doing? I was right in the moment. I’m acting.’ And I was like, ‘I know, it was just too real for me and I wasn’t comfortable.’”
According to Eastwood, the longest time that Cruise spent underwater was over six minutes.
In one moment, Eastwood made the actor come out for air. Cruise told him, “I got plenty of breath, trust me. I don’t want to die.”
It took around two weeks to shoot the underwater scene, Eastwood explained. Also, the training for this scene started a couple of months before starting to shoot the movie.
Eastwood hired a freediving record holder to train Cruise for the underwater scene so he could be able to hold his breath for that long. Basically, make your mind learn “that you don’t have to take a breath,” according to Eastwood.
There were also a couple of times that Cruise blacked out during his training, Eastwood recalls. “That’s how you learn your limits,” Eastwood said.
One of the biggest concerns for Eastwood was if Cruise got too much into character?
“It’s a very calming and surreal state being underwater, especially when you’re holding your breath for that long,” Eastwood said. “You’ve gone through training to let your mind to that place where you can control it. It’s dangerous because you get carried away in the acting and you get in such a euphoric and relaxed state being in character that you forget what you’re doing. That was my worry.”
But Cruise was able to pull off that risky scene and keep his head cool.
Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons