I’m a fan of Tom Cruise. In a culture of movies that are led by visual effects and CGI, he’s someone who still committed to doing stuff for real.
Cruise has put his neck on the line for a film more times than you might realise. Usually, if you see a movie star doing something that looks dangerous, chances are it wasn’t them. There’s no shame in it, obviously. That’s why we have stunt teams - safety first and all that.
However, Tom (we’re on first name terms) pushes himself further and will always fight, drive, jump and climb himself. So instead of thinking "that’s a green screen" - you’re actually invested in the scene. You can see it’s real and you believe that it could go wrong.
In anticipation of his new movie The Mummy, released on 9th June, here are five of my favourite dangerous stunts that Tom Cruise actually performed…
5. Zero gravity in The Mummy
I know it’s not out yet and we’ve only seen moments of it from the trailer but I can’t help but admire the pure commitment. For the plane crash scene, Cruise was offered the option to shoot on a sound stage but insisted that they film it in zero gravity conditions. Not only that, but they filmed 64 takes of it. We’ll see if this paid off on June 9th.
4. Everything in Edge of Tomorrow
Edge of Tomorrow (or Live Die Repeat as they now seem to prefer) was a movie that surprised everyone back in 2014. No-one expected anything good so it was a real treat when we got something pretty great.
There’s not one particular stunt that stands out but it only takes a glance at the behind the scenes footage to see how much the filmmakers did for real. They did everything on location or built sets and there’s minimal green screen. Amidst all this, Cruise dashes between gun fire and actual fire.
3. Car chase in Jack Reacher
Jack Reacher was another surprisingly decent action film. It was directed by Christopher McQuarrie who is now helming the Mission: Impossible franchise. I can’t help but think this was his audition for that job.
Anyway, Tom Cruise has done his fair amount of car chases but this one stands out for me. There’s no music throughout, no crazy off the wall Fast & Furious style stunts – but then it doesn’t need it.
My favourite moment is when Jack Reacher stalls the car momentarily – this wasn’t supposed to happen but Cruise was able to continue with the scene regardless. McQuarrie enjoyed the realism and kept it in.
2. Climbing the Burj Khalifa in Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol
There isn’t much to say about this one except the Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world and Tom Cruise dangled from it by a rope.
That’s 1,700ft high, almost one mile in the air. That’s dedication to your craft. And doing it for real has a very positive effect on the scene.
I still sweat buckets every time I watch it. I know he doesn’t fall and die, I know he’ll be fine. But there’s feeling I can’t shake when I watch it and it’s because Tom Cruise really f’n did it.
1. Hanging off a plane in Rogue Nation
Is it obvious to exclaim that he really did it? Because he really did do it. Not once, not twice but eight times. My favourite little fact about this is that apparently Cruise didn’t tell his Mum about it until after he’d done it.
Imagine being the mother of a man who hangs from planes for a living. My mum doesn’t even like me going on planes in the regular way.
Jack Howard is a writer, director and actor. He regularly makes content for YouTube, is developing a movie and his sitcom series - 'Jack and Dean Of All Trades' is currently available on the Fullscreen platform.