Tom Cruise and director Christopher McQuarrie take you behind the scenes on what they're billing as 'the biggest stunt in cinema history'. Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One is in cinemas from 14 July, 2023.
CHRISTOPHER MCQUARRIE: This is far and away the most dangerous thing we've ever attempted.
TOM CRUISE: We've been working on this for years. We're going to shoot it in Norway. And there will be a motorcycle jump off a cliff into a base jump. I've wanted to do it since I was a little kid. It all comes down to one thing-- the audience.
[MUSIC - LALO SCHIFRIN, "MISSION IMPOSSIBLE THEME"]
CHRISTOPHER MCQUARRIE: There's a lot going into this stunt. So Tom put together this master plan to coordinate all of these experts in each of the particular disciplines involved to make this whole thing happen.
TOM CRUISE: John and I are jumping out of a helicopter. He's going to chase me. That's what we're saying to each other. Don't be careful, be confident. Be confident.
WADE EASTWOOD: A year of base training, advanced skydive training, a lot of canopy skills, a lot of tracking.
MILES DAISHER: Tom Cruise, he's an amazing individual. You tell him something and he just locks it in. His sense of spatial awareness, he's the most aware person I've ever met.
- Lots of practice on stability and free fall.
WADE EASTWOOD: Tracking with John and Miles in the air, doing lots of different positioning like they were a two man team in the air, coming on top of each other, below each other, back tracking, front tracking. We've drilled, and drilled, and drilled.
- When you do a lot of jumps back to back, the canopy control skills improve a lot.
CHRISTOPHER MCQUARRIE: We have three open canopies, which is a good thing.
- The training has gone really well. It's progressing massively.
TOM CRUISE: Hey, McQ.
CHRISTOPHER MCQUARRIE: How are you?
TOM CRUISE: Great day, man. This is the next part of training right here. Motocross. Let's do it.
- So we built a motocross track.
WADE EASTWOOD: Getting competent in motocross, so he's comfy jumping 70, 80 foot tabletops. Great time in the air. Great positioning on the bike. Landing well.
TOM CRUISE: I have to get so good at this that there's just no way that I miss my marks.
CHRISTOPHER MCQUARRIE: That's good. Come a little closer to me. Coming up with the stunt is only one of the technical challenges. The other is putting a camera in a place that you can see where Tom is doing it-- finding the right lens, the right platform, the right medium. Even two years ago, the cameras didn't exist that would allow us to do what we're trying to do today.
TOM CRUISE: How do we involve the audience? I just want to give them that thrill.
CHRISTOPHER MCQUARRIE: That means the camera has to be in front of Tom and as close to him as possible. Feels like you're going over the camera.
TOM CRUISE: Yes.
CHRISTOPHER MCQUARRIE: It's very cool.
TOM CRUISE: You train and drill every little aspect over, and over, and over, and over again.
CHRISTOPHER MCQUARRIE: They were doing 30 jumps a day.
WADE EASTWOOD: Getting to a point where he was just a machine, I mean, over 500 skydives.
TOM CRUISE: That's we do.
- Over 13,000 motocross jumps.
TOM CRUISE: Oh, it's going to be fun.
CHRISTOPHER MCQUARRIE: Oh, it's great.
- We replicated this ramp in England at a quarry.
CHRISTOPHER MCQUARRIE: We filled the quarry with cardboard boxes, which were there to catch the motorcycle. The reason why we did that is so that Tom could simulate the jump.
TOM CRUISE: How fast should I go off? What distance do I travel?
CHRISTOPHER MCQUARRIE: We built models of different ramps at different angles to calculate what Tom's trajectory would be. We have to be able to consistently predict where Tom is going to be in three-dimensional space.
TOM CRUISE: We're going to have a GPS chip on me.
CHRISTOPHER MCQUARRIE: And that recorded every single one of Tom's jumps along with his ground speed, whether there was a headwind, whether there was a crosswind. And by doing this multiple times, we were able to get a consistent set of data.
TOM CRUISE: So that each take we can see what height I am so this way we can set drones and cameras in places where I can go right into close up. Rule one-- don't hit me with the drone. [LAUGHS] Because if we do it all, we don't capture it right, what's the point? Let's do it, guys. Ready?
TOM CRUISE: Always wear my earplugs, so I don't hear myself scream. [LAUGHS]
- We are ready, ready.
- 3, 2, 1, go!
TOM CRUISE: The key is me hitting certain speeds and being consistent with that. There's no speedometer, so I do it by sound and feel of the bike. And then as I depart the bike, I'm using the wind that's hitting me here and I'm cupping my chest that will give me lift.
Thank you all very much for your help, guys.
CHRISTOPHER MCQUARRIE: We're here in Norway. We've been constructing this ramp over a number of months.
- Everything here has to be brought in by helicopter. Engineers and technicians, it's incredible what they've done. This is masterful.
CHRISTOPHER MCQUARRIE: Today is day one of principal photography. And we are starting in classic "Mission" form with the biggest stunt in the film.
TOM CRUISE: What we're doing here is I'm just doing jumps just to warm up the body. Let's do it. Just to get my tracking going and make sure everything's working all right. I'll try not to smile.
- Basically, when he gets down and puts a parachute on and goes and does the bike jump, he'll actually know the weather conditions in this area, in the valley, and on the ground.
- And then he has to safely deploy a parachute. Now, he's in a rock bowl with walls all around him. And he's got a fly out of it.
JOHN DEVORE: Of course, when something's been done for the first time, you can't help but worry a little bit about how it's really going to turn out.
- With a jump like this, the challenge is finding the cameras, it's the amount of preparation, and then it's weather.
CHRISTOPHER MCQUARRIE: You want the light to be right, you want the clouds to be right-- misty but not foggy. This weather right here is exactly what we're looking for.
- He is about 10 minutes away from coming up here landing and doing the actual stunt.
- Sounds good. We're in motion. See you soon.
- Now, we're going to set the frames of this camera ship, with a drone just to verify everything, then we're going to get ready.
MILES DAISHER: The only things you really have to avoid while doing a stunt like this is serious injury or death.
- Here we go.
MILES DAISHER: You're riding a motorcycle, which is pretty dangerous, on top of a ramp that's elevated off the ground. So if you come off the ramp, that's going to be very bad. You're falling. If you don't get a clean exit from the bike and you get tangled up with it, if you don't open your parachute, you're not going to make it.
- 3, 2, 1, action!
- I saw a canopy. I saw a canopy.
TOM CRUISE: To you guys. Thank you.
- [INAUDIBLE] Tom, that was absolutely beautiful, like nothing wrong. [INAUDIBLE] I mean, your track was perfect. It was [INAUDIBLE]
- Oh, fuck yeah.
TOM CRUISE: Thanks, mate. I think I could hold to the bike a little longer.
- Pretty much the biggest stunt in cinema history.
JOHN DEVORE: Tom Cruise just rode a motorcycle off a cliff six times today.
[MUSIC - LALO SCHIFRIN, "MISSION IMPOSSIBLE THEME"]
CHRISTOPHER MCQUARRIE: What are you going to do?
- This is far and away the most dangerous thing we've ever attempted. The only thing that scares me more is what we have planned for "Mission 8."