9 Crazy And Ridiculous Things Tom Cruise Has Done On A Film Set
By Dan Auty on
There's no other movie star quite like Tom Cruise. While many of the stars of the 1980s either faded into obscurity, moved into TV, or had their careers mired in controversy, Cruise has remained one of the world's most bankable stars for over 30 years.
But despite the popularity of movies like the Mission Impossible or Jack Reacher series, the way the world views the man himself has changed over the years. Off camera, Cruise's advocacy of Scientology, outspoken views about prescription drugs, and his various relationships have provided plenty of tabloid column inches. And on-screen, far from calming down, the 55-year-old star has moved into middle age by upping the danger factor in the stunts that he insists on performing himself in his movies. So here's a look at some of Cruise's craziest moments on a movie set, as he puts his life at risk for the sake of our entertainment...
9. Tanks a lot
The first Mission Impossible fully established Cruise as an action movie star. Although the set pieces are a little more modest than later movies, there is still one great moment that shows that the star was very willing to put himself in danger. During a tense standoff, Ethan Hunt uses some detonating gum to blow up a huge fishtank that surrounds the actors, causing 16 tons of water to explode, right next to the star. A huge wave of water crashes through the room, as Cruise sprints just ahead. Director Brian De Palma was reportedly reluctant to let Cruise perform the stunt, on account on the both risk from the glass and sheer volume of water. But an earlier take with a stuntman didn't look any good, so Cruise went ahead and did it himself.
8. Racing in the street
The Jack Reacher movies are Cruise's attempt to create a second action movie franchise, and while they don't hit the insane heights of the Mission Impossible movies, there are some cool moments in each. The most impressive slice of stuntwork comes in the first film, in which Reacher gets behind the wheel for a spectacular car chase. And of course, despite the fact that a stunt driver was on hand, Tom ended up doing the whole thing himself. Director Chris McQuarrie makes sure you know it too, keeping Cruise regularly in the shot as he races, skids, gearshifts, and crashes around the streets of Pittsburgh.
The lavish period epic The Last Samurai required Cruise to learn how to wield a samurai sword, training which took more than eight months to complete. But all the preparations in the world can't protect you from freak accidents, and Cruise was nearly killed in the scene in which he charges actor Hiroyuki Sanada on horseback. Unfortunately, Sanada's mechanical horse didn't stop on the intended mark and his (very real) sword ended up inches from Cruise's throat.
6. On the edge
It was the Mission Impossible II that truly established the franchise's--and its star's--dedication to the dangerous. The movie opens with a sequence in which Cruise scales the cliffs of Dead Horse Point in Utah. While the actor was wearing a safety harness that was later removed digitally, it's still 100% Tom up there, jumping between rocks with no safety net below him. From that stunt on, there was no going back.
5. Pack it in!
Even in this age of excessive CG, some stunts just look better performed for real. There's no green screen during Minority Report's hoverpack sequence. Instead, Cruise was strapped into a complex stunt wire rig that used over a mile of cable and allowed him to shoot 80 feet in the air, as well as falling, jumping off buildings, and hitting the ground as he fights various bad guys.
4. Taking off
Like the Bond movies, the Mission Impossible franchise is known for its spectacular opening sequences. 2015's Rogue Nation is no exception, as Ethan Hunt clings to the side of a plane as it takes off. Cruise performed the stunt four times over the space of two days, and subsequently provided some alarming details about it. "While we were going down the runway, we were worried about bird strikes," he said. "Any kind of particle that the propellers could pick up, any kind of stone. I remember I got hit by a stone that was so tiny, you cannot believe it. I thought it broke my rib. Luckily it went to my vest, and not my hands or my face, or it would have penetrated and gone right through." Ow.
3. Dubai too high
It's not all running, jumping, and nearly drowning. Cruise also seemingly lacks a fear of heights, even when scaling the world's tallest building. In Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, Ethan Hunt is seen on the side of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, 2,722 feet above the ground. And as the behind-the-scenes footage reveals, it's 100% Tom--swinging, climbing and clambering around the outside of the building, as the camera crew circle him in a helicopter.
2. Tom's big break
With the sheer number of movie stunts that Cruise has performed over the years, it was inevitable that one would go wrong. The production of the upcoming Mission Impossible: Fallout was shut down for several months last year after Cruise broke his ankle performing a stunt that involved the star jumping between two buildings. Cruise subsequently appeared on the UK chat show The Graham Norton Show, where he showed an eye-opening video of the accident. The stunt and fall are hair-raising enough, but the true sign of Cruise's insanity comes minutes later. Having slammed into the building and snapped his ankle in a particularly gruesome way, Tom continues with the shot, climbs onto the roof, and keeps on running (well, limping).
1. Water lunatic
Given that Rogue Nation starts with the Cruiser hanging off the side of an airplane as it takes off, you'd be even forgiven thinking that the movie had peaked early in terms of life-endangering stunt work. But you're be wrong. An hour later, Ethan Hunt attempts to crack open an underwater safe, a sequence which took two weeks to film and required Cruise to not only act underwater but also reportedly hold his breath for up to six minutes at a time. Tom's physical training took months, as he trained alongside a freediving expert and taught his mind to believe "that you don't have to take a breath."