Tom Cruise has a well-established reputation for being a daredevil – a rogue, even. So it’s fitting that his latest movie is Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, in which he pulls off what may be his most elaborate stunt yet.

In the second Mission: Impossible movie, Cruise free-climbed Utah’s Dead Horse Point with a harness but no safety net, to the consternation of director John Woo. In that same film, Cruise insisted that a knife fight climax with the blade coming no more than a quarter of an inch from his face. For J.J. Abrams’ Mission: Impossible III, Cruise allowed the crew to film a scene in which a tractor trailer jackknifes right on top of him, and he shot the death-defying skyscraper jump himself, albeit on a soundstage. And for what seemed to be his most daring trick ever, Cruise scaled the Burj Khalifa – the world’s tallest building – without a stunt double in sight for Brad Bird’s Mission: Impossible -Ghost Protocol.

Some observers might have thought that Cruise would ratchet down his bravado for the fifth installment in the series. But instead, a new featurette reveals that Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation features a scene, shot eight times without stunt doubles, in which Cruise’s Ethan Hunt clings to the side of an airborne plane as it takes off and ascends. If something had gone wrong, Cruise would have been marooned outside the plane until it landed.

“I couldn’t sleep the night before, and then came the day. I was like, ‘Okay, this is really happening,’” Cruise says in the clip with a devilish grin.

Mission Mission: Impossible   Rogue Nation Featurette: Tom Cruise Takes To the Sky

For all that he has done over his acting career of more than three decades, Cruise might go down in the history as the most daring – some might say foolish – actor of all time. Many of the stories about Cruise doing his own stunts say that he would only approve the scripts for the films if they included stunts that would put his life in danger. These stunts have made for some extraordinary action sequences that will surely have their place in action film history, but it’s easy to wonder if Cruise is entirely in his right mind. After all, he’s so rich and famous that he doesn’t need to do anything than churn out middling action movies for the rest of his life. The fact that his most fervent ambitions are athletic says something about where he wants to take his career – not in the direction of Oscars or prestige, but into the role of a real-life superhero.

Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation will need more than one breathtaking action sequence to justify an unlikely fourth sequel to a franchise that seems to be as long-running as Tom Cruise wants it to be. But with stunts as epic like these, it’s no wonder that there’s an appetite for the continuing adventures of the world’s most adventurous secret agent.

NEXT: Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation Early Screening Reactions

Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation hits theaters on July 31st, 2015.

Source: Paramount Pictures UK

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