Monday, 30th October 2017

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In the new normal, Tom Cruise is all set to shoot a film in space.

Spotlight on a few instances when the star proved he’s (almost) superhuman on screen

  • Published 20.05.20, 8:24 PM
  • Updated 20.05.20, 8:24 PM
  • 3 mins read
Tom Cruise scaling the Burj Khalifa in Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol Still from the film

Burj blaze of glory

By now, it’s common knowledge that Tom Cruise’s adrenaline rush doesn’t come from burning calories at the gym or running a marathon. Jumping off buildings and leaping off planes (the last time we checked, it was just on screen, but with Cruise you never can tell) is what gets him going, most of which has come from him playing super agent Ethan Hunt in the Mission: Impossible films.

While most of his stunts are events in themselves, the most talked-about was perhaps the then 52-year-old star scaling the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the world’s tallest building, in Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol. All Cruise had was a pair of suction cups in his hands and a firehose-like harness tied to his waist as he climbed and then rappelled down the building that stands roughly 2,733ft above the ground. The actor trained for months and aced the stunt but the crosswinds at that height often took the wind out of him, resulting in a few bumps here and there. No damage done, but what a beaut of a stunt!

Still from film


A cinematic image that will go down in the annals is this one of Cruise dangling from a cliff in Utah in the opening credits of M:I:2. There was hidden safety gear but the man was still out in the open, exposed to every kind of natural element, and the film’s director John Woo has confessed that he was so “anxious” that he “couldn’t even watch the monitor” during shoot. But Cruise, movie-star smile in place, looks all Zen, pulling off what is undoubtedly one of the most dangerous stunts of all time. But then, the man is not the master of method (stunt) acting for nothing!

Still from film

Halo there!

106 jumps! That’s what it took for Cruise to ace the perfect shot for this ‘HALO’ stunt in M:I — Fallout. HALO — meaning a ‘High Altitude-Low Opening’ skydive — had Cruise jump out of a giant C-17 plane and open his parachute at a much lower altitude after free-falling a few thousand feet. He leapt out in tandem with the camera operator, and as far as risky stunts go, this piece — with the camera panning to Cruise’s face as often as his free-falling body — is right up there. A fact corroborated by the film’s director and longtime Cruise collaborator Christopher McQuarrie, who called it “epic”.

Still from film

The show must go on

Cruise is the man made to run on screen (more on that later) and it was during a chase-on-foot scene in Fallout — a stunt that the actor later described as “easy”— that he broke his ankle. The incredible thing is that Cruise, jumping from building to building, continued with the sequence (he hobbled, not ran... for the record) even when his ankle had turned into a few pieces. All so that the shot wouldn’t be ruined.

Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation
Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation Still from film


Cruise can hold his breath under water for at least six minutes. That was proved in that incredible sequence in Rogue Nation that required him to deep-dive into a water-choked vault. “I have done a lot of underwater sequences. But we wanted to create a ‘suspense’ underwater sequence without any cuts,” the man later said. To put that into perspective, professional deep divers can hold their breath for an average of four to seven minutes. And they don’t have to perform a stunt like Cruise did.

Tom Cruise in Risky Business
Tom Cruise in Risky Business Still from film

'Ray' of hope

Superhuman stunts apart, Cruise’s star power, both on screen and off it, can’t be disputed. In the early 1980s, sunglass major Ray-Ban was in trouble, selling only 18,000 models in 1981. Its life raft came in the form of Cruise sporting the brand’s now-iconic Wayfarers in Risky Business (1983). Sales for the model shot up by 40 per cent that year, with Ray-Ban putting on hold (now we know, forever) its plan to do away with Wayfarers. Three years later, Cruise’s cool and charming pilot Maverick sported the brand’s Aviators in Top Gun, helping their sales jump by 50 per cent. Today, Ray-Ban continues to be the leading name in eyewear in the world.

Tom Cruise in Risky Business
Tom Cruise in Risky Business Still from film

Keeping it brief

Cruise’s uninhibited moves in Risky Business invariably makes it to most best ‘dance in films’ lists. Do you know that a pant-less Cruise — sporting a pink shirt and white socks — improvised the whole dance, which took just half a day to film? The only ‘brief’ given to him: “Joel dances in underwear through the house”. Trust Cruise to fly with that one!

Still from film

Run Tom run!

There are a few hundred websites dedicated to the math and stat of Cruise running on screen. Yes, the man loves running, and it’s not just in the M:I films. A video called “Every Tom Cruise Run Ever” has a few million hits on YouTube. Need more numbers? Studies state that when Cruise runs in a movie, it makes $175 million more at the box office as compared to those in which he doesn’t!

Tom Cruise is the world’s most daredevil movie star because... Tell