An Iconic Mission: Impossible Stunt Almost Didn’t Happen

It’s been almost twenty-five years since Tom Cruise’s Mission: Impossible hit theaters, kicking off one of Hollywood’s longest-running action franchises. Paramount is commemorating the blockbuster’s anniversary with a new Blu-ray featuring a series of interviews between Cruise and series writer-director Christopher McQuarrie, who helmed 2015’s Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation and 2018’s Mission: Impossible – Fallout.

 

In a snippet from the interviews featured on Entertainment Tonight, Cruise explains how the stunt that produced what is arguably the franchise’s defining image almost wasn’t shot. About midway through the 1996 movie, Cruise’s Ethan Hunt sneaks into a vault at the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia. Since the room has pressure-sensing security, Hunt enters the room suspended by wires and has a close call when he is accidentally dropped centimeters above the floor.

“I went down to the floor and kept hitting my face and the take didn’t work. We were running out of time. We had a lot we had to do,” Cruise said. “[Director] Brian [De Palma] was like, ‘One more and I’m going to cut [into the moment] and do it. And I said, ‘I can do it.'”

Cruise explained how he asked the stunt crew for British pound coins to place in his shoes as a counterweight to help level his balance. On the final attempt, Cruise was able to stay suspended without touching the floor.

“I was holding it, holding it, holding it, holding it. And I’m sweating and I’m sweating. And [Brian De Palma] keeps rolling,” Cruise laughed. “And I realize Brian is working it… and I’m not going to stop. I just hear him off-camera and he’s got a very distinct laugh. When he laughs, it makes me laugh. I can hear him start to howl and he goes, ‘All right! Cut.'”

After a careful production that involved buying robots to enforce COVID-19 protocolsMission: Impossible 7 is set to release on May 27, 2022, with both McQuarrie and Cruise returning for the next entry. The film’s cast includes series newcomers like Hayley Atwell and Cary Elwes as well as returning characters such as Henry Czerny’s IMF director Kittridge. Cruise recently spoke about a motorcycle stunt he performed for the movie being the most dangerous thing he’s ever done.

The 25th Anniversary Collector’s Edition Blu-ray of Mission: Impossible is now available in the US.

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