The actor, who’s made a career of performing high-risk action sequences without a double, learned to fly a helicopter in record time for the upcoming installment of the series, Mission: Impossible — Fallout.
“Flying a helicopter takes a lot of skill,” says aerial coordinator Marc Wolff in a teaser video released Wednesday. “To put someone like Tom in a situation like this is almost impossible to imagine.”
“It takes something like three months of eight hour days to become a novice helicopter pilot,” adds the film’s director Chris McQuarrie. “Tom needed to work around the clock to reach the level of skill this sequence needed.”
That’s because this particular scene required Cruise to perform a 360 degree downward spiral, or a corkscrew turn, which an aerial assistant on the film points out is “very challenging.”
Adds another coordinator, “If you make a mistake someone is going to die because of it.”
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The maneuver makes the helicopter look as if it’s free falling, or as one of the filmmakers puts it, “Each spiral looks like he’s going to crash.”
When Cruise asks McQuarrie how the shot looks, the nervous director replies, “Very upsetting up here.”
And it’s hard to blame him for worrying. Five months ago Cruise broke his ankle performing a stunt and it still hasn’t healed. It’s not clear from the video if he performed the helicopter stunt with the injury, but the actor recently revealed that he’s continued to work through the pain.
“It’s not fully healed but we are shooting and we have a release date so I just have to keep going,” he said on The Graham Norton Show. “I spent 8-10 hours a day, seven days a week in rehab because we still have some major stunts to do … but I’m doing well.”
Mission: Impossible — Fallout hits theaters July 27.