The subtitle of Tom Cruise’s new Mission Impossible movie is Rogue Nation, which is rather apt because Cruise and director Christopher McQuarrie went rogue to pull off a seemingly impossible mission: dangle a Hollywood superstar off the side of an airplane. The film’s trailer was released this week, and by the looks of it, it will be another exciting, globetrotting spy adventure for IMF agent Ethan Hunt (Cruise) and his pals (Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, and Ving Rhames, rocking a fedora). Not content with free-climbing a 2,000 foot peak (which he did in MI:2) or climbing the world’s tallest building (which he did in MI:4), the adrenaline-loving Cruise has taken his enthusiasm for adventure to, er, new heights: the trailer shows him clinging to the side of an Airbus A400M as it glides 5,000 feet in the air. Cynics who think it’s all green screen and visual effects can see photos of the 52-year-old performing the stunt here.
The stunt required meticulous preparation. The film’s crew literally scoured the runway for small stones that could have seriously injured Cruise if they’d been pushed through the plane’s propellers. One did. “While we are going down the runway, we’re worried about bird strikes, any kind of particle that the propellers could pick up, any kind of stone,” Cruise tells Entertain This! “I remember I got hit by a stone that was so tiny, you cannot believe. I thought it broke my rib. Lucky it went to my vest and not my hands or my face, it would have penetrated and gone right through.” There was also concern about the camera. “You’re concerned about any piece of the camera breaking off. The speed of it, it would have run through my head.” I don’t know about you; I probably would have stopped right then and let the professional stuntman take over. Cruise did the stunt four times. I’m not sure what the filmmakers told the insurance people that day. Maybe they simply lied and said Cruise was just doing boring old scenes of him riding a motorcycle without a helmet.