Tom Cruise Talks Mission: Impossible 5 Plot, Cast And Ridiculous Stunts (Exclusive)

Orlando Parfitt
UK Movies Editor

Tom Cruise told Yahoo Movies that there’s more to ‘Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation’ than the insane plane stunt we first saw in the trailer. 

- Mission: Impossible 5 First Teaser Trailer
- How Cruise Did The Insane Mission: Impossible Plane Stunt

The star/producer, alongside director Chris McQuarrie, gave us an in-depth lowdown on the title, the new cast, the plot and a stunt that was even more difficult than the plane scene.

Read on below…

What ‘Rogue-Nation’ Means

McQuarrie: “It refers not to the IMF but to the enemy in this movie - ‘The Syndicate’. They’re comprised entirely of foreign agents who have, for whatever reason, withdrawn from the service and come together as a coalition and come together to fight against the system that created them. The anti-IMF.”

Alec Baldwin’s CIA Boss Hates The IMF

Cruise: “Alec Baldwin is the head of the CIA. There’s always been a bit of conflict between the CIA and the IMF and Alec in this is really dropping the hammer and looking at the things the IMF has done and disregarding their successes and using it to put closure on the IMF.”

Jeremy Renner and Simon Pegg No Longer Work for the IMF

McQuarrie: “Alec Baldwin absorbs the IMF into the CIA, so Jeremy Renner and Simon Pegg are now working for the CIA. Ethan Hunt is out there somewhere; no one knows where he is. Baldwin wants to bring Ethan Hunt in to make him answer for all the previous things he’s done in those movies. Alec perceives them as crimes and he’s determined to bring him in. Unfortunately he can’t find him!”

Sean Harris’ Villain Is ‘Lethal’

Cruise: “Sean Harris is incredibly enigmatic, very powerful on screen. He’s as powerful a villain as we’ve had in ‘Mission: Impossible’. It really is a chess match between him and Ethan, he’s on top of Ethan and crushing Ethan the whole movie. The guy is very charming, intelligent but lethal. It’s delicious. When we knew Sean was interested we wrote it specifically for Sean.”

Rebecca Ferguson Is Not Just A Love Interest

Cruise: “[Her character] is very much an equal to Ethan Hunt. She’s an amazing character. Very mysterious. Which way is she going to go? Is she good? Is she bad? Rebecca Ferguson is this extraordinary new actress and we feel lucky to have her in the movie.”  

The Tone Is Similar To Ghost Protocol

McQuarrie: “I had worked on ‘Ghost Protocol’ with Tom and we found a sort of tone that we loved and really wanted to preserve that over into this movie. I was determined to do something lighter and more fun, but then this villain evolved, the story evolved and our team evolved and took it into a different direction.”

Rogue Nation Will Pay Tribute To The Other M:I Films

McQuarrie: “I asked myself ‘what can I do to celebrate all those elements of the franchise?’ A signature sequence the way (Brian) De Palma did, a villain the way JJ Abrams did, the stunts the way Brad did. You’ll see references to all those films throughout the movie. There’s [also] a real Easter Egg for anyone who notices it – it’s almost a reverse of something from one of the earlier movies.”

London Is A Key Part Of The Film

Cruise: “London is such a beautiful city with the cobbled streets and the fog at night. I love that it has a mystery, an inherent danger and romance. It’s perfects for those lights and shadows.”

The Plane Stunt Was Ridiculously Dangerous

Cruise: “The things we were all very concerned about were particles on the runway and bird strikes. [Another] thing that no one else was thinking about, but I was, was the fuel. You have jet fuel coming right out of the back at me because I’m on the wing above the engine. Even when we were taxying I was also inhaling the fumes and they were going in my eyes.”

Why Cruise Does His Own Stunts

Cruise: “There was no question the [plane] stunt was always going to be me. When you look at Harold Lloyd and Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton - when I see the practical things they did as an audience - it brought me more into a subjective reality of the characters in those stories. If you look at the CIA sequence in ‘Mission 1’ – if someone else did it the audience isn’t invested in it.

There’s A Ground-breaking Underwater Action Scene

Cruise: “We have something I’ve always wanted to do: an underwater sequence without cuts. The kind of training I had to do for that was pretty intense. I’ve done a lot of underwater scenes but I’ve never done one [like this] that will get the audience to lean forward and have a visceral reaction.”

The Motorbike Sequence Was REALLY Dangerous

Cruise: “It was physically the most grueling sequence. We’re going at very high speed with Simon Pegg as my passenger, drifting it through very narrow streets with cameras on [the bike]. I’m not wearing a helmet or pads, and at one point I’m highsiding a guy. It was hairy actually. I come up and I hit him and he is in the air doing it live. It was intense.”

McQuarrie: “That’s part of a much larger sequence that takes place in Morocco. We built camera equipment for this movie specifically to shoot this sequence. It’s stuff that’s never been done before.”

Chris McQuarrie Is Directing Because He’s A ‘Genius’ At Story

Cruise: “The guy is a genius at storytelling - understanding structure and story. He wrote ‘Ghost Protocol’ – he really came in and helped crack the story and structure of the film. On ‘Edge of Tomorrow’ he came in and worked with Doug (Liman) and I and really re-wrote ‘Edge Of Tomorrow’. That’s a lot of hard work and a lot of talent to be able to write something like that.”

The Director And Star ‘Finish Each Others Sentences’

McQuarrie: “We came from completely different spheres of filmmaking, but the truth is we’re very similar in terms of our appreciation of film. There are a lot of times where we’re finishing each other’s sentences. The crew and there actors at times get lost because we have this shorthand.” 

Reminds us of the amazing video above (skip to the last 15 seconds).

‘Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation’ is released in the UK on 30 July 30.