Tom Cruise doesn’t just play a hero in his action movies — he’s one in real life, too!
Annabelle Wallis tells PEOPLE that the actor actually saved her life while they were filming one of The Mummy‘s most action-packed scenes. Early in the film — which hits theaters Friday — the two are thrust into zero gravity when a plane they’re riding plunges to the earth. And Wallis says Cruise wanted to make it as realistic as possible.
“It was just a crazy couple of days. There was an airplane crash sequence in the script and they were like, ‘You know, we’re going to build a set and do this and do that using CGI.’ Tom said, ‘No, we’re going to do it for real,’ ” Wallis recalls, adding that they shot aboard one of four planes in the world that produce zero-G, which renders its occupants weightless.
“You can’t prepare for it and it’s quite unnerving because Tom had never done anything like that before, the stunt team had never done it,” she adds, “so it was amazing to go into an action sequence with the biggest action star in the world and for him to do it for the first time with me.”
But it wasn’t as easy as it looked. The actress says even though the set was built “out of sponge,” the gravity lurches would still whip them around as the plane went up or down to create the illusion of zero gravity — before the gravity would return with “double the strength.”
When it came time for a scene in which Wallis has to put a parachute on, it all almost went horribly wrong.
“I had to put a parachute pack on me and the pack got stuck. There was a thing wrapped tight around my neck and I was like, ‘Oh my God! I’m stuck and the gravity is going to return and it’s going to choke me,’ ” Wallis says. “It was this amazing Tom moment where I looked and I couldn’t get myself un-hooked and said ‘Tom! I’m stuck, I’m stuck!’ “
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Wallis continues, “The plane was coming out of weightlessness about to hit gravity and I heard the countdown ‘5, 4, 3 …’ At three I said, ‘I’m stuck!’ and Tom was like, ‘Annabelle, don’t worry I got you,’ and he ran and freed me and we returned to earth and he’d saved my life. So I feel very indebted to him. It was literally around my neck choking me, then with two or three seconds left, there he was — the hero.”
The Mummy — also starring Russell Crowe, Sofia Boutella, Jake Johnson and Courtney B. Vance — is out Friday.