Tom Cruise Turns 56 as He Films 'Top Gun 2' and Makes History with Wild Stunts

At 56, Tom Cruise continues to push himself to the limit with two new action films on the horizon: Top Gun: Maverick and Mission: Impossible - Fallout.

At 56, Tom Cruise continues to push himself to the limit with two new action films on the horizon: Top Gun: Maverick and Mission: Impossible – Fallout.

The actor is known for performing his own stunts, including many in previous Mission: Impossible installments. In Ghost Protocol, he scaled Dubai’s Burj Khalifa and in the last film, Rogue Nation, Cruise dangled off the side of a plane as it took off. But for his latest mission as spy Ethan Hunt in Fallout, Cruise upped the ante with one of the biggest stunts of his career — jumping out of a plane 25,000 feet in the air to plummet towards the ground at 200 miles per hour.

This dangerous stunt, titled a HALO jump (which stands for “high altitude low open”) is history-making.

“Tom will be the first actor to do a HALO jump on camera,” revealed Wade Eastwood, a stunt coordinator for the film in a featurette about the jump.

Paramount Pictures

In order to get the lighting just right, the scene had to be shot as close to sunset as possible, which meant the production crew only had about three minutes a day to get it right. And before anybody could even get in the plane, they needed to spent 20 minutes breathing in pure oxygen on the ground, in order to prevent them from getting decompression sickness while in the air.

Not all of the actor’s stunts go off without a hitch, however. While filming a stunt for the upcoming film that required him to jump from one building to another and hit the side before climbing up, he accidentally crashed into the wall and broke his ankle.

The actor went on to explain that following the injury he “went right into rehab,” spending 10-12 hours a day working on getting himself back in shape.

“Six weeks later I had to be on set and twelve weeks later I had to be sprinting again,” Cruise said in April during Cinemacon. “Doctors said they weren’t sure whether I’d be sprinting in nine months, let alone that time. I was like, ‘Okay, I gotta figure this out and I gotta figure it out fast.’”

Next up for Cruise, is the long-anticipated sequel to his 1986 classic, Top Gun.

Tom Cruise/Instagram

In a teaser image for the movie — posted to Cruise’s social media on “#Day1” of production for the 2019 release — he poses as his United States Naval Aviator Lieutenant character Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, aviators and all. Decked in his aviation gear and holding his helmet, Cruise gazes across the tarmac at a F-18 Tomcat (Maverick’s plane of choice in the original film).

Cruise labelled the picture “FEEL THE NEED,” referencing Maverick’s iconic quote, “I feel the need,” to which his best friend Goose famously replies, “The need for speed.”

According to Variety, Cruise’s character will now be an instructor, with the film exploring “a world of drone technology, fifth-generation fighters and the end of the era of dog-fighting.”

Mission: Impossible – Fallout opens July 27, 2018, while Top Gun: Maverick is scheduled for release on July 12, 2019.

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