“Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One” director Christopher McQuarrie made headlines at the start of June after revealing to Empire magazine that Tom Cruise’s insane motorcycle stunt was shot on the first day of filming. The stunt, billed as the most death-defying one of Cruise’s acting career thus far, finds Cruise riding a motorcycle off the edge of a cliff and then parachuting to safety while in free fall.
“Doing that on day one gave us all the time in the world to understand why he [Ethan] was doing what he was doing,” McQuarrie told the publication. “If we sat around and tried to figure out these movies the old-fashioned way, you’d never find it, simply because it’s such a living, breathing thing.”
For Tom Cruise, however, there was a far more practical reason for putting the motorcycle stunt on the first day of the “Mission: Impossible 7” shoot. If production on the $200 million-plus tentpole was already underway and Cruise got severely injured or died because of the motorcycle stunt, then a lot of money would’ve been wasted. Cruise suffered an ankle injury on “Mission: Impossible 6” that impacted production, but riding a motorcycle off a cliff was far deadlier than any “Mission” stunt prior.
“Well we know either we will continue with the film or we’re not. Let’s know day one!” Cruise recently told Entertainment Tonight about filming the stunt at the very start of production. “Let us know day one what is going to happen: Do we all continue or is it a major rewrite?”
“I was training and I was ready,” Cruise added. “You have to be razor sharp when you’re doing something like that. It was very important as we were prepping the film that it was actually the first thing. I don’t want to drop that and go shoot other things and have my mind somewhere else. Everyone was prepped. Let’s just get it done.”
The latest “Mission: Impossible” sequel finds Cruise’s Ethan Hunt teaming up with IMF agents to track down a terrifying weapon that threatens humanity. Cruise is once again joined by returning franchise players Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Henry Czerny, Vanessa Kirby and Frederick Schmidt. Newcomers to the franchise include Hayley Atwell, Pom Klementieff, Cary Elwes, Rob Delaney, Indira Varma, Shea Whigham, Mark Gatiss, Esai Morales and Charles Parnell.
“Dead Reckoning” is expected to be one of the biggest Hollywood tentpoles of the summer movie season, if not the biggest. Cruise is riding high off the blockbuster success of “Top Gun: Maverick” last year, which ended its run as the 11th highest grossing film in history (unadjusted for inflation) with $1.49 billion. While “Dead Reckoning” may not reach those box office heights, it’s certainly expected to outgross 2017’s “Mission: Impossible – Fallout” ($791 million) and become the franchise’s new top earner.
“Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One” opens in theaters July 12 from Paramount Pictures.