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Cobie Smulders: Here's What I Learned Doing Crazy Stunts with Tom Cruise

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Emmanuel Wong/Getty Images for Paramount Pictures

When it came time for Cobie Smulders to do her death-defying stunts in Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, she knew just who to turn to for advice.

Joining Tom Cruise in the pulse-pounding sequel to the 2012 film, Smulders says the action-movie veteran motivated her to do her own stunts.

“He’s a pro at this genre, so he helped me through all of the training,” she tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue. “From the moment we met he really supported me — not just physically but mentally as well. He taught me so much.”

Left to right: Tom Cruise plays Jack Reacher and Cobie Smulders plays Turner in Jack Reacher: Never Go Back from Paramount Pictures and Skydance Productions

While Smulders, 34, says she was certainly up for the challenge, she’s the first to admit that training for the role was no easy task.

“The summer before filming I had broken my leg, so when I first met Tom I was walking with a cane,” she says. “I was still pretty weak so it was hard for me to get started with the training. I slowly built my strength up and got stronger and stronger.”

But in the end, all the hard work definitely paid off. The actress says she was able to completely forgo her stunt double.

“I did all my own stunts myself!” she says. “It was really exciting to take on a new skill set.”

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back hits theaters Oct. 21.