Warning spoilers ahead. While Tom Cruise phoned it in from London last year for his Mummy CinemaCon session for Universal, it stands to reason that the blockbuster actor would be at Paramount’s session today considering he is being lauded at tonight’s Pioneer Dinner. Appearing on stage with Mission: Impossible – Fallout director Christoper McQuarrie, they devoted arguably the last half hour of Paramount’s CinemaCon session to the sixth title in the franchise.
What looks to be the film’s signature stunt (a couple of CinemaCon’s ago, Cruise led us through clinging on a plane for Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation), Cruise wanted to do a skydiving stunt where he jumped out of a plane at 25K-30K feet going 220 MPH and in doing so, grabbing Henry Cavill’s character in mid-air. During the sequence, they are both struck out by lightning, with Cruise’s Ethan recovering only to make his way to Cavill, and resuscitate his character’s oxygen tube.
It took Cruise 106 jumps to get the three takes they wanted, and a skydiver with a camera on his head, falling backward out of the plane so he could film Cruise. The trick for the cameraman was keeping the camera level with Cruise’s face because he shot it “with only a sense of instinct,” said McQuarrie. “The only place we could do this was the United Arab Emirates,” said Cruise about the legality of the stunt.
McQuarrie and Cruise walked the CinemaCon audience through animated sequences which “tells how much is physically possible without killing Tom,” said the director and “we learn that Tom can do more than you want to let him do.” In addition to the jumps, they shot some of this skydive sequence in a wind tunnel. The duo showed the animated footage, raw footage which will make its way into the film and the behind-the-scenes with the ambitious camera operator. How he was able to keep this huge camera on his head at 220MPH without whiplash? God only knows.
Cruise and McQuarrie then showed off a 15-minute sequence (which, action-wise, buries both the extended footage from Disney’s Solo: A Star Wars Story and Universal’s Jurassic World: The Fallen Kingdom) whereby Cruise and Cavill smash their truck into a prison truck motorcade traveling through Paris; the key truck they’re hitting containing the villain from the last movie. That truck plummets into the Seine filling up with water. Cruise and Cavill escape on motorcycles, with the former getting a late start and behind chased by a string of police cars. Ethan Hunt hits a car, is flung over in mid-air landing onto the ground (amazing and ouch), and escapes by dropping through a water portal into a boat driven by Simon Pegg and Ving Rhames.
Cruise, twice during the ceremony, praised Paramount Pictures CEO & Chairman Jim Gianopulos for his efforts and future plans to turn the studio around. Cruise beamed, “It’s so good to have Jim at Paramount, what you’ve done — his nickname is ‘Gentleman Jim’, and he’s also a genius.”