How 'Mission: Unattainable' pulled off its wildest stunts

For practically 30 years, Tom Cruise has chosen to simply accept his mission of risking his life to entertain us. The “Mission: Unattainable” franchise is legendary for its more and more jaw-dropping stunts that Cruise personally performs, and he might have outdone himself for the latest installment, “Lifeless Reckoning Half One.” One of many sequel’s stunts has been described as the largest in cinema historical past. 

In honor of his newest mission, this is a peek backstage at how Cruise pulled off the wildest stunts within the collection, together with a number of from “Lifeless Reckoning,” which hits theaters on July 12: 

“Mission: Unattainable” – The Langley vault

For the well-known scene within the authentic movie the place Ethan Hunt infiltrates CIA headquarters, Cruise actually hung the other way up from the ceiling and was shortly dropped to the ground like seen within the film. 

“It was all accomplished by hand and weights” with “two guys feeding him up and feeding him down,” stunt coordinator Greg Powell defined in a behind-the-scenes featurette. Cruise additionally recalled that originally, he saved hitting his face when falling to the ground, however he lastly bought the shot to work by placing cash in his sneakers. 

“Mission: Unattainable 2” – Mountaineering 

The opening of “Mission: Unattainable 2,” which finds Ethan Hunt dangling off rocks and practically falling to his dying, was shot in Utah with Cruise doing the complete sequence himself. 

“The scary factor was, the cliff was 2,000 ft excessive, and there have been no protections on the bottom,” director John Woo defined in a behind-the-scenes featurette. “I used to be sweating and in a panic.” 

In line with Leisure Weekly, Cruise solely wore a skinny security cable, and getting the scene took seven takes. “We had 5 cameras on the cliff, together with a helicopter digicam, a digicam on a crane, and cameramen hanging from security cables, however we had focus issues, so we needed to do it time and again,” Woo advised EW. 

“Ghost Protocol” – The Burj Khalifa

The Burj Khalifa sequence was shot by having Cruise — you guessed it — legitimately dangle off the aspect of the tallest constructing on the planet, 2,000 ft within the air, whereas connected to harnesses. “We thought we might need to recreate the constructing and do it in a extra conventional means, and it was Tom who stated, ‘No, I will go on the market,'” producer Bryan Burk stated in a behind-the-scenes featurette. 

The crew arrange on an empty flooring of the constructing and needed to get permission to drill holes into the bottom and ceiling for his or her tools, in addition to take out greater than 26 home windows to movie. To arrange, Cruise repeatedly climbed up and down a glass wall that was constructed for rehearsal functions. However the actor famous within the featurette that he could not keep out for lengthy as a result of with the gear he was carrying, he was “being reduce off in two major arteries” throughout the harness, and his legs turned numb. Jeremy Renner additionally actually needed to partially hang around of the aspect of the constructing for the shot the place his character grabs Ethan. 

“Rogue Nation” – The airplane 

Sure, that was actually Cruise dangling on the surface of an airplane, 5,000 ft within the air, in the beginning of “Rogue Nation.” He “was in a full physique harness” and “cabled and wired to the airplane by [its] door,” cinematographer Robert Elswit defined to The Hollywood Reporter, including that “contained in the plane was an aluminum truss that was rigorously bolted to the airplane, which held the wires that went by the door, which held Tom.” Cruise additionally wore particular contact lenses defending his eyes, although director Christopher McQuarrie famous in a behind-the-scenes featurette that “there was nothing to guard his face.” So McQuarrie feared particles might be sucked into the propeller and hit Cruise “touring on the pace of a bullet,” and “if a hen hit Tom at that pace, on any a part of his physique, that will have been the top.” Regardless of the dangers, Cruise carried out the stunt eight occasions. 

“Rogue Nation” – Diving underwater 

The sequence in “Rogue Nation” the place Ethan dives underwater and holds his breath for an prolonged time period was filmed in a water tank, and at one level, Cruise held his breath for six full minutes. Whereas filming the sequence, he needed to “maintain his breath, wait for everybody to get into place, look ahead to all of the bubbles to clear, look ahead to the cameras to roll, then he does a protracted take, after which he has to attend for the divers to return again and provides him air,” visible results supervisor David Vickery defined in a behind-the-scenes featurette. 

“You could have these free divers that got here in and skilled me find out how to do it,” Cruise stated on the Graham Norton Present. “It is not nice.” In reality, he famous that after filming the stunt, “There’d be occasions I would be sitting there speaking in conferences, and I would not breathe. I notice I’m not respiration, and I needed to flip my autonomic system again on to breathe once more.” Although the scene was shot underwater, Cruise was surrounded by inexperienced screens a lot of the surroundings round him might be added in post-production. 

“Fallout” – The HALO bounce

For the HALO (excessive altitude low opening) bounce sequence in “Fallout,” not solely did Cruise actually fall out of a airplane touring 165 miles per hour at a top of 25,000 ft, however he did it over 100 occasions. The movie crew additionally constructed a big wind machine that was used to rehearse, and a particular helmet needed to be developed that will each present oxygen and guarantee Cruise’s face might be seen within the shot, based on a behind-the-scenes featurette. 

“It will appear like one steady take, however they’re actually three lengthy takes,” Cruise defined, and he needed to fall to precisely three ft in entrance of the digicam. The sequence additionally needed to be filmed throughout a decent window to get the lighting proper. The lightning storm, although, naturally needed to be added in post-production. 

“Fallout” – The rooftop chase 

Although the rooftop chase in “Fallout” is not as harmful of a stunt as a few of the others, it stands out as a result of Cruise was injured making it. He jumped throughout a rooftop for the sequence however broke his ankle by by accident touchdown in a means that his leg smashed into the aspect of a constructing. The harm pressured the movie to close down manufacturing, however footage of Cruise breaking his ankle and working previous the digicam whereas limping was used within the film. 

“I knew immediately it was damaged,” Cruise recalled on The Graham Norton Present. On the blu-ray commentary, director Christopher McQuarrie remembered Cruise “laying on a sofa with [his] foot up and a bag of ice on it” and asking, “Did we get the shot? Good, as a result of we’re not coming again.”

“Fallout” – The helicopter fall and chase  

For the finale of “Fallout,” Cruise really dangled from a helicopter earlier than dropping 40 ft. Director Christopher McQuarrie advised the Los Angeles Occasions a pulley system and security line had been used, however he added, “The one factor the security line was guaranteeing was that if Tom was killed throughout the stunt, we would not be searching for his physique within the bushes. As a result of if he made the autumn on the unsuitable angle, it is image wrap on Mr. Cruise. If he hits the payload headfirst versus again first or legs first, he’ll break his neck and simply be a rag doll.” 

In reality, Cruise’s co-star Rebecca Ferguson revealed in a behind-the-scenes featurette that because the stunt was being shot, “I heard myself scream” as a result of “I really thought he fell,” whereas McQuarrie recalled, “We heard on the radio, ‘I feel we simply misplaced Tom.'” Cruise additionally flew the helicopter by the mountains for the chase sequence, and he was skilled in flying particularly for the movie. Cameras had been connected to the helicopter, that means Cruise “was performing three jobs: he is the pilot, he is the digicam operator, and he is performing,” McQuarrie famous. 

“Lifeless Reckoning Half One” – The practice combat

For an motion sequence on a practice in “Lifeless Reckoning Half One,” a whole functioning practice was constructed, and a combat was shot on prime of it whereas the car was shifting at 60 miles per hour, based on a behind-the-scenes featurette. The practice was then filmed being destroyed by falling and crashing right into a quarry. 

“Lifeless Reckoning Half One” – The bike cliff bounce

The marquee stunt of “Lifeless Reckoning Half One” includes Cruise using a bike off a cliff right into a base bounce, which director Christopher McQuarrie described as “far and away essentially the most harmful factor we have ever tried.” Cruise’s coaching concerned greater than 13,000 follow motocross jumps and over 500 skydives. A ramp was constructed in Norway for Cruise to journey off and deploy a parachute within the air — and he then did it 5 extra occasions. 

Cruise advised Leisure Tonight the stunt was shot on the primary day of filming so the crew would know whether or not he could be alive for the remainder of the film. “We all know both we’re gonna proceed with the movie or we’re not,” he stated. “Let’s know day one … Will we all proceed, or is it a serious rewrite?” However to quote Anthony Hopkins in “Mission: Unattainable 2,” this isn’t mission: tough. It is mission: unattainable.