Moments before Tom Cruise literally went airborne strapped to the side of an Airbus A400 for a daring Mission: Impossible stunt, director Christopher McQuarrie had a final word with his superstar.
“Tom shouted above the engine, ‘Remember, if it looks like I’m panicking, I’m acting. Don’t cut,’ ” McQuarrie recalls. “I did a stunned about-face, knowing there would be no distinction between (true) panic and his performance.”
McQuarrie called “action,” and Cruise, 53, took off standing over the wing eight times. Since the release of the first trailer in March, the dramatic stunt has been heralded as proof of just what Cruise will do to push his career and Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation (in theaters Friday) into another adrenaline-filled realm.
“Name me one other actor in Hollywood who would do that stunt,” says Dave Karger, chief correspondent of the movie site Fandango.com. “You can’t. Because no one else would. Tom is superhuman that way.”
It’s how Cruise has stayed on top of the Hollywood pyramid, with occasional dips, for 30 years. But it’s also the key to keeping the Mission: Impossible franchise excelling after nearly 20 years and four installments that have made more than $2 billion worldwide, according to box office tracking firm Rentrak.