On the first day of principal photography on Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One, Tom Cruise drove a motorbike off a mountain.
Specifically, he drove a custom-made Honda CRF 250 off a purpose-built ramp on the side of Norway’s Helsetkopen mountain, a vertiginous rock face sat some 1,200 meters above sea level. Then he plunged 4,000 feet into the ravine below before opening his parachute barely 500 feet from the ground.
When he landed, director Christopher McQuarrie, and the small crew of his Mission co-stars who had assembled to watch the seminal cinematic sequence from the safety of video village, breathed a collective sigh of relief. Then Cruise picked himself up and did it all again another seven times, just to make sure the footage was perfect.
Simon Pegg, a good friend of Cruise’s and who’s played Benji Dunn across several Mission movies, was on set the day his pal jumped that motorbike off that mountain, and he vividly recalls the terror of looking on, helpless. He will also, he says, never forget the rhyme he and the crew used to say, to keep spirits up, no matter how stressful it got. “On the day, when it happens, you’re just waiting to hear ‘good canopy,’” Pegg says. “Because, ‘If you don’t hear that, then Tom gone splat.’”
“Every time I went off the ramp, it was dangerous. It was risking my life. And we wanted to keep that to a minimum,” Cruise says. “We have a saying on Mission: Impossible movies: ‘Don’t be safe. Be competent.’” He says that of course knowing the extensive training regimens and rigorous safety protocols that surround every element of the production.
The stunt was, by any measure, the most dangerous of Cruise’s career – which is saying something given that in previous Mission films he has, among other jaw-dropping endeavors, swung around the outside of the world’s tallest building (Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, in Ghost Protocol), hung onto the side of an Airbus A400M while it was in flight (in Rogue Nation) and launched himself out of a Boeing C-17 Globemaster III from a height of 25,000 feet, opening his chute just 2,000 feet from the ground and becoming the first person ever to execute a High Altitude Low Opening – or HALO – jump on film (in Fallout).
After landing the epic motorbike jump, Cruise raises the bar with another unbelievable jump stunt in the film. One pivotal scene in the film finds Cruise’s Ethan Hunt in a situation where his only exit is, once again, to jump. However, it’s not quite that simple.
“We’ve made Missions together, and have done a lot of stunts. This is unlike anything we’ve done before,” Cruise said to prep the crew before completing one of the most dangerous stunts ever captured on film: Speedflying.
Watch the Speedflying featurette: https://youtu.be/HD9nq5wAJWM
Done by very few people around the world, the sport of speedflying involves launch by foot, gliding down mountainsides. It is similar to paragliding, however, it is done with a very small canopy – or wing, as it is called.
“Speedflying is one of the most dangerous sports in the world, and it was something we had been exploring for a long time,” McQuarrie shares. “One of the things that is particularly dangerous about speedflying is the close proximity to the ground that you’re flying. And the other is the risk that the canopy can collapse. It’s very unpredictable.”
McQuarrie adds, “The challenge when you are making any action film is normally hiding the fact that your actor is not actually doing the stunt and that a stunt man is performing it for them. The opposite is true for Mission: Impossible. We have an actor who does his own stunts and we’re constantly trying to develop technologies to show him doing it. And with speedflying this was an extremely, extremely difficult challenge.”
“I can’t wait for audiences to see it,” Cruise says as he smiles at the thought.
Watch Cruise perform death-defying stunts in Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One, in cinemas July 12.
About Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning – Part One
Paramount Pictures and Skydance present a Tom Cruise Production a film by Christopher McQuarrie, Tom Cruise in MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – DEAD RECKONING PART ONE
Directed by Christopher McQuarrie, based on the television series created by Bruce Geller. Produced by Tom Cruise, Christopher McQuarrie. Executive produced by David Ellison, Dana Goldberg, Don Granger, Tommy Gormley.
Starrring Tom Cruise, Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Vanessa Kirby, Hayley Atwell, Shea Whigham, Pom Klementieff, Esai Morales, Henry Czerny, Rob Delaney, Cary Elwes, Indira Varma, Mark Gatiss, Charles Parnell, Greg Tarzan Davis, Frederick Schmidt.
Opening in cinemas July 12, Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning – Part One is distributed in the Philippines by Paramount Pictures through Columbia Pictures. Connect with #MissionImpossible and tag paramountpicsph