Tom Cruise's insatiable appetite for daredevil stunts seems to just keep on growing. He made his mark as a respectable stuntman in his own right when he blew away audiences by scaling Dubai's Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building, for Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol; later, he dropped jaws with news of another crazy-dangerous stunt, hanging out of an A400 airplane as it takes off for the latest Mission Impossible, subtitled Rogue Nation.
Now Cruise has taken it a step further by going underwater for yet another life-threatening stunt in M:I5 - one that required more than a safety harness (and fearlessness).
Paramount Pictures has released a new TV spot for the film (at the top of the page), which includes a few unseen shots from the film; however, the big news today is details of Cruise's latest (and arguably most impressive) stunt to date.
In a new interview, Cruise told USA Today that he trained extensively for an intense underwater scene in the film - learning to hold his breath for a staggering six minutes:
"It’s something I have always wanted to do. [Director Christopher McQuarrie] and I have been thinking about it since working on ‘Edge of Tomorrow.’ I have done a lot of underwater sequences. But we wanted to create a suspense underwater sequence without cuts. So doing that sequence was really interesting. We’re underwater and we’re doing breath-holds of 6 to 6 1/2 minutes. So I was doing all my training with the other stuff (on-set). It was very taxing stuff.
When you’re making ‘Mission’ movies you’re working with athletes and stunt people at the height of their game.”
Cruise is certainly no stranger to danger, with the adrenaline junkie having developed a reputation for pushing himself well into harm's way, insisting on performing most of his own film stunts. For M:I5, Cruise worked for weeks with trainer Kirk Krack (who also coached magician David Blaine for his "Drowned Alive" stunt) to perfect his underwater breath holds.
That said, Cruise wasn't the only actor on set who took risks, costar Rebeca Ferguson also engaged in her own stunts, scaling the Vienna Opera House on her first day of shooting - in addition to her own stunts in the underwater scene
Speaking about the experience, Ferguson said:
"When you are with Tom and the ‘Mission’ team, the best people are brought in to train you. So you are actually capable of managing everything. It’s incredible to know you have the ability to do these things.”
Still, why Cruise and other actors feel the need to put themselves under such duress and risk, where stunt people can be hired for the job, is different in every case - though, there's no doubt that having clearly visible stars in a shot definitely adds authenticity.
After all, an actor performing his own stunts isn't unheard of, though still less common, especially with ever-expanding expectations of audiences for bigger and crazier action set pieces. Daniel Craig and Jason Stratham prefer to do their own stunts - with Straham famously calling for a stunt category in the Oscars from his first hand knowledge of the dangers and skill involved. However, given the worth of A-list talent like Cruise, the cost to insure a star against injury (or death) is often too much for most studios to afford. In fact, cost to insure high-risk stunts isn't even limited to Triple-A talent either: years back, Sylvester Stallone reportedly coughed up money out of his own pocket to bankroll stuntman Simon Crane on a dangerous aerial stunt for Cliffhanger - when studio insurers refused to cover it.
In the case of Cruise, the actor has previously stated that doing his own stunts helps add authenticity to the scene - as well as believability of his larger performance. There's no question that actually seeing Cruise (with his face clearly shown) strapped to the side of an airborne plane will be a standout moment for moviegoers in Rogue Nation - one that wouldn't have the same impact if McQuarrie had simply tied a lookalike stuntman to the plane. While we know less about the aforementioned underwater scene, based on Cruise's description, the unique set-piece could prove to be one of the film's most exciting (and tense) sequences.
Of course, interviews detailing Cruise's stunt work also helps build hype for the upcoming film - and, knowing the actor, the adrenaline-fueled excitement of performing his own stunts is likely an added bonus. After all, Cruise never looked more thrilled, for example, than finding out he had received first place on BBC's Top Gear.
Check out the Top Gear segment below (from back in 2010 when Cruise was promoting Day and Knight with Cameron Diaz):
We've got a long wait to find out what crazy stunts the actor will take-on for the already in development, Mission: Impossible 6; however, if Rogue Nation is any indication, the fifty-two year old actor isn't going to be calling in a stunt double any time soon.
Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation hits U.S. theaters July 31, 2015.
Sources: USA Today