106 skydives with a broken ankle: Inside how Tom Cruise pulled off the thrilling HALO jump in ‘Mission: Impossible — Fallout’

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Mission Impossible Fallout Paramount

Tom Cruise does a lot of amazing stunts in “Mission: Impossible — Fallout,” but the one that took the most work to pull off was the HALO jump over Paris at the beginning of the movie.

To get into Paris undetected, Ethan Hunt (Cruise) and CIA tagalong August Walker (Henry Cavill) decide to do a HALO jump — a high-altitude, low-open skydive, in which you open your parachute at a low altitude after free-falling for a period of time — at dusk out of a giant C-17 plane.

But things get dangerous when Walker insists on jumping out of the plane even though there’s a lightning storm brewing below them. Walker is so determined to do so that he disconnects Hunt’s oxygen line to his mask and jumps. Hunt scrambles to reattach his line and jumps after Walker.

Before the audience knows it, they’re free-falling with Hunt. The camera follows as Hunt catches up to Walker just before lightning strikes them both.

If you have seen any movie in the “Mission: Impossible” franchise, this next fact won’t surprise you: Cruise did the entire HALO sequence without a stuntman. But pulling off the sequence — which included 106 total jumps to get three scenes and was all done after Cruise broke his ankle earlier in production — was as epic as what is on the screen.

Business Insider spoke to the key members of the HALO-jump sequence, including the director Christopher McQuarrie, to break down its yearlong planning and execution.

Finding a unique way to get into Paris

Christopher McQuarrie and Tom Cruise on the set of “Mission: Impossible — Fallout.” Chiabella James/Paramount

Generally, a movie is born from a screenwriter’s pen, but it turns out the recent “Mission: Impossible” movies are done a little differently.

McQuarrie said the script is actually the last thing to be developed in the making of the movies. The movie is first fueled by the stunts that Cruise, McQuarrie, and others close to the franchise come up with.

“The script is more or less the instruction manual for this thing we all discussed at length,” McQuarrie said.

In the case of the HALO jump, they had developed a lot of action to take place in Paris, but the question remained: How does Hunt get to the City of Lights?

“A HALO jump came up, and we started talking about what that would take — this many jumps, learning this and that,” said Wade Eastwood, the “Fallout” stunt coordinator. “Everyone thought that kind of time didn’t fit in the film schedule, but we made it fit, even though on paper it didn’t.”

With the stunt decided, the hard part started: how to fit Cruise’s HALO training in a schedule already filled with training for driving motorcycles, fighting, and flying helicopters. (Yes, he flew that helicopter himself in the movie.)

More on that later.

Creating a helmet so we could see Cruise’s face

If you were to do a HALO jump in real life, you wouldn’t need a clear helmet showing your whole face. But this is Tom Cruise we’re talking about.

When Cruise and the “Fallout” team learned that the proper gear for a HALO jump is an oxygen mask covering most of the face and a helmet leaving just the eyes to be seen, there was a rush to come up with something better for Cruise to wear.

“We created a helmet that had a good look and the oxygen sustained,” Eastwood said.

But the mask also had to have lights in it so that we, the audience, could see that it is in fact Cruise doing the jump. That brought another set of concerns.

“It took extensive pressure testing and altitude testing to get the lighting system consistently safe,” Eastwood said. “We didn’t want them to explode. A fiery Tom Cruise head, that’s very bad.”

Building the largest wind tunnel in the world

Cavill, top, trying out the wind tunnel made for use by up to six people at once. Chiabella James/Paramount Pictures

Before getting in a plane and jumping enough times to get a certified skydiver license, Cruise started his HALO training in a wind tunnel at Leavesden Studios in the UK. And as you can probably guess, a normal wind tunnel just wouldn’t do.

“I suggested we get a vertical wind tunnel; they said that was a good idea,” said Neil Corbould, the “Fallout” special-effects supervisor. “We found a portable wind tunnel and brought it to England but found out very quickly that it was too small.”

The wind tunnel would be used to learn the choreography for the HALO-jump sequence devised by Eastwood, but to train properly there would need to be six people in the wind tunnel at the same time (including actors, stunt specialists, and camera operators). The wind tunnel Corbould provided could have only two people in it.

“Tom said, ‘Can we make a bigger one?’ and I asked, ‘How big?’ And he said, ‘As big as you can make it,'” Corbould said.

So Corbould found a company to build in 12 weeks what would turn out to be one of the biggest wind tunnels ever created.

Housed in an empty exterior water tank at Leavesden, the wind tunnel was 20 feet wide by 10 feet high. Powered by four 1-megawatt generators — enough to power a small town, Corbould noted — it would have blades that could spin at 150 mph and raise the people in the tunnel 7 feet.

The size of the wind tunnel also helped Cruise, who wanted to keep from bumping into the sides, as he was still trying to heal his broken ankle while training.

“He had to be rolled into the wind tunnel and then would lay there flat until the power went on, and then he would take off,” said Allan Hewitt, the “Fallout” skydiving coordinator. “We put some orange tape around his foot so we knew which was the bad foot. We didn’t want to touch the wrong one.”

Flying a helicopter to Cruise’s skydiving training

With only so many hours in the day, Cruise had to often do multiple stunt trainings on the same day in the months leading up to filming the movie.

Cruise needed experience flying a helicopter for the movie’s concluding action sequence, which involves a helicopter chase — one in which he flies himself. So he would often pilot a helicopter to the drop zone where he would do his HALO jumps.

Sometimes he would even skydive into his HALO training.

“He would take off from a local airfield next to the studio, and the airplane would take him to the drop zone, and he would jump out, so that’s one jump done,” Eastwood said. “He’d land, get another parachute on, get in the plane waiting, and go do his jumps for the HALO.”

Why Cruise’s broken ankle was a good thing

Cruise broke his ankle attempting this stunt in “Mission: Impossible — Fallout.” David James/Paramount

You could only imagine how the Paramount executives took the news that Cruise broke his ankle while rooftop-jumping for an action sequence for “Fallout.” But it actually forced the movie to do the HALO jump as it was planned.

According to Hewitt, before Cruise’s injury, the HALO jump was not going to be a true 25,000-foot jump. Because the production was working with the UK’s Royal Air Force, it was agreed that the movie would use the RAF plane to do the stunt. But the RAF would fly them to only 12,000 feet.

Read Post  Is It Hard To Breathe While Skydiving?

“Tom didn’t want to fake it — he wanted to do it for real at 25,000 feet,” Hewitt said. “But the producers said they weren’t going to another country. It really looked like we were going to fake it with the RAF.”

But because of Cruise’s injury, the movie missed its scheduled jump with the RAF. That opened the door for the production to end in Abu Dhabi shooting the HALO scene at 25,000 feet.

“If Tom didn’t break his ankle, we would have ended up faking it, which nobody wanted,” Hewitt said.

The quick decision that saved the HALO sequence

In March, “Fallout” production wrapped up in Abu Dhabi with the HALO sequence. The months of training and creation of prototype equipment for Cruise to wear on the jump finally came together on film.

And luckily, the team had finally found a skydiver who would strap the 20-pound camera rig on his head to film Cruise’s jump: Craig O’Brien.

“There was a lot of reluctance,” McQuarrie said of trying to find someone who would film the HALO sequence. “The first two cameramen, they gave us a lot of rules and telling us what was and wasn’t possible, and we’re not into that at all. We’re not reckless, but what we want to hear are solutions, not restrictions.”

Enter O’Brien, who had experience as a skydiving camera operator, though he had to learn a more cinematic way of shooting.

“Narrative storytelling is a very different style of framing. You’re not just capturing an event — you’re directing the eye,” McQuarrie said. “I’m making you look where I want you to look. He had to learn how to do that.”

And O’Brien wasn’t looking through a camera lens — the camera was strapped to the top of his head — so he had to do all of that while, as McQuarrie put it, “shooting a scene through a periscope, and you’re not looking through the periscope.”

Not only did O’Brien pull it off amazingly, but he also solved one of the biggest problems that had befuddled everyone for the first seven jumps: out-of-focus footage.

Because the scene starts inside the C-17 plane, a focus puller was in there, responsible for that part of the sequence. For Cruise’s jump (Cavill, playing Walker, never did the jump, as a stuntman went in his place), O’Brien jumped out first and had to slow himself down as Cruise sped up to him. When Cruise got 3 feet from O’Brien’s helmet camera, O’Brien would then have to become the focus puller and put the dial in his hand to its closest focus.

But when they would land and look at the footage, Cruise would be out of focus.

“Tom said, ‘I was there,’ and Craig said, ‘I had the dial buried,'” McQuarrie said. “Someone was f—ing up, and we couldn’t figure out who.”

The next day, O’Brien told the focus puller on the plane to shut off his remote once Cruise jumped out of the plane. To everyone’s surprise, that was the problem — the equipment inside the plane was fighting with O’Brien’s camera.

Two weeks and 106 jumps later — many done at “magic hour,” at dusk, when they had only three minutes of perfect light to shoot — the three parts of the HALO sequence were in the can.

In postproduction, the Abu Dhabi ground was replaced with Paris lights, and a CGI lightning storm was added. But other than that, it was all Cruise, diving and twisting 25,000 feet above the ground (with O’Brien following him the whole way).

Now all that’s left is: Can “Mission: Impossible” top this stunt?

“I know there’s something out there. We just don’t know what it is yet,” McQuarrie said. “Whether it’s me or someone else, as long as Tom is willing to do it, you can think up crazy s—.”

106 skydives with a broken ankle: Inside how Tom Cruise pulled off the thrilling HALO jump in ‘Mission: Impossible — Fallout’

Email Link icon An image of a chain link. It symobilizes a website link url.

Mission Impossible Fallout Paramount

Tom Cruise does a lot of amazing stunts in “Mission: Impossible — Fallout,” but the one that took the most work to pull off was the HALO jump over Paris at the beginning of the movie.

To get into Paris undetected, Ethan Hunt (Cruise) and CIA tagalong August Walker (Henry Cavill) decide to do a HALO jump — a high-altitude, low-open skydive, in which you open your parachute at a low altitude after free-falling for a period of time — at dusk out of a giant C-17 plane.

But things get dangerous when Walker insists on jumping out of the plane even though there’s a lightning storm brewing below them. Walker is so determined to do so that he disconnects Hunt’s oxygen line to his mask and jumps. Hunt scrambles to reattach his line and jumps after Walker.

Before the audience knows it, they’re free-falling with Hunt. The camera follows as Hunt catches up to Walker just before lightning strikes them both.

If you have seen any movie in the “Mission: Impossible” franchise, this next fact won’t surprise you: Cruise did the entire HALO sequence without a stuntman. But pulling off the sequence — which included 106 total jumps to get three scenes and was all done after Cruise broke his ankle earlier in production — was as epic as what is on the screen.

Business Insider spoke to the key members of the HALO-jump sequence, including the director Christopher McQuarrie, to break down its yearlong planning and execution.

Finding a unique way to get into Paris

Christopher McQuarrie and Tom Cruise on the set of “Mission: Impossible — Fallout.” Chiabella James/Paramount

Generally, a movie is born from a screenwriter’s pen, but it turns out the recent “Mission: Impossible” movies are done a little differently.

McQuarrie said the script is actually the last thing to be developed in the making of the movies. The movie is first fueled by the stunts that Cruise, McQuarrie, and others close to the franchise come up with.

“The script is more or less the instruction manual for this thing we all discussed at length,” McQuarrie said.

In the case of the HALO jump, they had developed a lot of action to take place in Paris, but the question remained: How does Hunt get to the City of Lights?

“A HALO jump came up, and we started talking about what that would take — this many jumps, learning this and that,” said Wade Eastwood, the “Fallout” stunt coordinator. “Everyone thought that kind of time didn’t fit in the film schedule, but we made it fit, even though on paper it didn’t.”

With the stunt decided, the hard part started: how to fit Cruise’s HALO training in a schedule already filled with training for driving motorcycles, fighting, and flying helicopters. (Yes, he flew that helicopter himself in the movie.)

More on that later.

Creating a helmet so we could see Cruise’s face

If you were to do a HALO jump in real life, you wouldn’t need a clear helmet showing your whole face. But this is Tom Cruise we’re talking about.

When Cruise and the “Fallout” team learned that the proper gear for a HALO jump is an oxygen mask covering most of the face and a helmet leaving just the eyes to be seen, there was a rush to come up with something better for Cruise to wear.

“We created a helmet that had a good look and the oxygen sustained,” Eastwood said.

But the mask also had to have lights in it so that we, the audience, could see that it is in fact Cruise doing the jump. That brought another set of concerns.

“It took extensive pressure testing and altitude testing to get the lighting system consistently safe,” Eastwood said. “We didn’t want them to explode. A fiery Tom Cruise head, that’s very bad.”

Building the largest wind tunnel in the world

Cavill, top, trying out the wind tunnel made for use by up to six people at once. Chiabella James/Paramount Pictures

Before getting in a plane and jumping enough times to get a certified skydiver license, Cruise started his HALO training in a wind tunnel at Leavesden Studios in the UK. And as you can probably guess, a normal wind tunnel just wouldn’t do.

“I suggested we get a vertical wind tunnel; they said that was a good idea,” said Neil Corbould, the “Fallout” special-effects supervisor. “We found a portable wind tunnel and brought it to England but found out very quickly that it was too small.”

The wind tunnel would be used to learn the choreography for the HALO-jump sequence devised by Eastwood, but to train properly there would need to be six people in the wind tunnel at the same time (including actors, stunt specialists, and camera operators). The wind tunnel Corbould provided could have only two people in it.

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“Tom said, ‘Can we make a bigger one?’ and I asked, ‘How big?’ And he said, ‘As big as you can make it,'” Corbould said.

So Corbould found a company to build in 12 weeks what would turn out to be one of the biggest wind tunnels ever created.

Housed in an empty exterior water tank at Leavesden, the wind tunnel was 20 feet wide by 10 feet high. Powered by four 1-megawatt generators — enough to power a small town, Corbould noted — it would have blades that could spin at 150 mph and raise the people in the tunnel 7 feet.

The size of the wind tunnel also helped Cruise, who wanted to keep from bumping into the sides, as he was still trying to heal his broken ankle while training.

“He had to be rolled into the wind tunnel and then would lay there flat until the power went on, and then he would take off,” said Allan Hewitt, the “Fallout” skydiving coordinator. “We put some orange tape around his foot so we knew which was the bad foot. We didn’t want to touch the wrong one.”

Flying a helicopter to Cruise’s skydiving training

With only so many hours in the day, Cruise had to often do multiple stunt trainings on the same day in the months leading up to filming the movie.

Cruise needed experience flying a helicopter for the movie’s concluding action sequence, which involves a helicopter chase — one in which he flies himself. So he would often pilot a helicopter to the drop zone where he would do his HALO jumps.

Sometimes he would even skydive into his HALO training.

“He would take off from a local airfield next to the studio, and the airplane would take him to the drop zone, and he would jump out, so that’s one jump done,” Eastwood said. “He’d land, get another parachute on, get in the plane waiting, and go do his jumps for the HALO.”

Why Cruise’s broken ankle was a good thing

Cruise broke his ankle attempting this stunt in “Mission: Impossible — Fallout.” David James/Paramount

You could only imagine how the Paramount executives took the news that Cruise broke his ankle while rooftop-jumping for an action sequence for “Fallout.” But it actually forced the movie to do the HALO jump as it was planned.

According to Hewitt, before Cruise’s injury, the HALO jump was not going to be a true 25,000-foot jump. Because the production was working with the UK’s Royal Air Force, it was agreed that the movie would use the RAF plane to do the stunt. But the RAF would fly them to only 12,000 feet.

“Tom didn’t want to fake it — he wanted to do it for real at 25,000 feet,” Hewitt said. “But the producers said they weren’t going to another country. It really looked like we were going to fake it with the RAF.”

But because of Cruise’s injury, the movie missed its scheduled jump with the RAF. That opened the door for the production to end in Abu Dhabi shooting the HALO scene at 25,000 feet.

“If Tom didn’t break his ankle, we would have ended up faking it, which nobody wanted,” Hewitt said.

The quick decision that saved the HALO sequence

In March, “Fallout” production wrapped up in Abu Dhabi with the HALO sequence. The months of training and creation of prototype equipment for Cruise to wear on the jump finally came together on film.

And luckily, the team had finally found a skydiver who would strap the 20-pound camera rig on his head to film Cruise’s jump: Craig O’Brien.

“There was a lot of reluctance,” McQuarrie said of trying to find someone who would film the HALO sequence. “The first two cameramen, they gave us a lot of rules and telling us what was and wasn’t possible, and we’re not into that at all. We’re not reckless, but what we want to hear are solutions, not restrictions.”

Enter O’Brien, who had experience as a skydiving camera operator, though he had to learn a more cinematic way of shooting.

“Narrative storytelling is a very different style of framing. You’re not just capturing an event — you’re directing the eye,” McQuarrie said. “I’m making you look where I want you to look. He had to learn how to do that.”

And O’Brien wasn’t looking through a camera lens — the camera was strapped to the top of his head — so he had to do all of that while, as McQuarrie put it, “shooting a scene through a periscope, and you’re not looking through the periscope.”

Not only did O’Brien pull it off amazingly, but he also solved one of the biggest problems that had befuddled everyone for the first seven jumps: out-of-focus footage.

Because the scene starts inside the C-17 plane, a focus puller was in there, responsible for that part of the sequence. For Cruise’s jump (Cavill, playing Walker, never did the jump, as a stuntman went in his place), O’Brien jumped out first and had to slow himself down as Cruise sped up to him. When Cruise got 3 feet from O’Brien’s helmet camera, O’Brien would then have to become the focus puller and put the dial in his hand to its closest focus.

But when they would land and look at the footage, Cruise would be out of focus.

“Tom said, ‘I was there,’ and Craig said, ‘I had the dial buried,'” McQuarrie said. “Someone was f—ing up, and we couldn’t figure out who.”

The next day, O’Brien told the focus puller on the plane to shut off his remote once Cruise jumped out of the plane. To everyone’s surprise, that was the problem — the equipment inside the plane was fighting with O’Brien’s camera.

Two weeks and 106 jumps later — many done at “magic hour,” at dusk, when they had only three minutes of perfect light to shoot — the three parts of the HALO sequence were in the can.

In postproduction, the Abu Dhabi ground was replaced with Paris lights, and a CGI lightning storm was added. But other than that, it was all Cruise, diving and twisting 25,000 feet above the ground (with O’Brien following him the whole way).

Now all that’s left is: Can “Mission: Impossible” top this stunt?

“I know there’s something out there. We just don’t know what it is yet,” McQuarrie said. “Whether it’s me or someone else, as long as Tom is willing to do it, you can think up crazy s—.”

Tom Cruise’s most death-defying Mission: Impossible stunt, explained

Here’s how to drop Tom Cruise from 2,000 feet in the air without killing him.

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Tom Cruise hangs from a cliff in Mission: Impossible — Fallout.

Tom Cruise defies death once again in Mission: Impossible — Fallout. Paramount Pictures

With each new Mission: Impossible movie, Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) must go to greater and greater lengths in order to achieve the impossible. The latest installment in the series, Fallout, is no exception to the rule, featuring a car-motorcycle-boat chase through Paris and a show-stopping (and heart-stopping) helicopter chase that calls back to the very first Mission: Impossible film and then amplifies it by a factor of 1,000 or so.

Six films in, the franchise is largely defined by its thrilling action sequences, in no small part because the stunts are executed practically rather than done against a green screen or via motion capture. A crash in the new Fallout, for example, was filmed using a real helicopter body set up on a crane 100 feet in the air, using high-speed winches to simulate the 70 to 80 mph speed at which the crash would occur.

And yes, as you’ve likely heard, Cruise does all his own stunts — including the one in Fallout that resulted in two broken ankle bones and a shooting delay. Cruise’s insistence on verisimilitude has become a major part of the mythology around the Mission: Impossible films, adding an extra dimension to “death-defying” when it comes to the franchise’s biggest action set pieces.

Doing everything for real — or “as real as we could get it,” as the film’s stunt coordinator, Wade Eastwood, puts it — while ensuring that the performers and crew aren’t in any actual jeopardy is no easy task. I spoke to Eastwood over the phone to find out exactly how the Mission: Impossible — Fallout stunts came together (and how they pulled off that jaw-dropping finale).

Step 1: figuring out how the stunts fit into the movie

Tom Cruise in a helicopter

The key to the action is basing it on the characters. Paramount Pictures

The action in Mission: Impossible begins on paper. Before shooting on Fallout even began, Eastwood sat down with Cruise and director Chris McQuarrie — both of whom he worked with on 2015’s Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation as well as 2014’s Edge of Tomorrow to figure out what could be done, not necessarily based on logistics but on what worked for the characters involved.

“We constantly are pushing ourselves,” Eastwood says, stating the question that is key to all of the film’s stunt planning: “Are we doing the best character-based action here?” As Eastwood puts it, staying with the character and keeping the action subjective is what makes it compelling and builds emotional investment. “We see what drives the action.”

When it came to Hunt, that meant bargaining for just how often the agent’s plans can go awry. Though the stunts must be rigorously planned in order to shoot them, in the context of the film, Hunt is flying by the seat of his pants. “He has no real plan; he just knows that he has to complete the mission,” Eastwood explains. “All this stuff, it’s a little erratic, it’s a little last-minute. When he runs and jumps on that long line on the helicopter, he’s not planning on jumping on it that way. He’s running toward the helicopter, the helicopter takes off, and he’s like, ‘Well, if I let it go, we’re all dead, so I’ve got to do something.’ So it’s always last-minute. [. ] He will not give up; he’s relentless. And that’s got to come across.”

Once those character beats were established, Eastwood could move on to the practical magic. He would pre-visualize an action sequence, putting together a rough version and then bringing it back for McQuarrie and Cruise’s inspection. If they decided the sequence suited the movie and the character involved, it was time to figure out how to do it practically.

Step 2: getting the cast ready to shoot

Henry Cavill in Mission: Impossible — Fallout

August Walker’s fighting style was developed with Henry Cavill’s physicality in mind. Paramount Pictures

When it comes to who does and doesn’t get to do their own stunts, it all comes down to their individual abilities, and how hard they push themselves. For instance, according to Eastwood, actress Vanessa Kirby, who plays the White Widow, trained so intensely on the film that she went from flagging in a 2-kilometer run to completing a half-marathon by the end of the shoot.

Eastwood does his best to tailor their action sequences to the respective actors’ strengths. CIA assassin August Walker’s brutal fighting style was developed with actor Henry Cavill’s physicality in mind. (“He’s like a bear.”) The same goes for Rebecca Ferguson as former MI6 agent Ilsa Faust. Her fighting style focuses on her long legs; hence the “killer thigh move” in Rogue Nation.

Then, of course, there’s Cruise. “If Tom didn’t have the ability, he wouldn’t be doing all of his own stunts,” Eastwood tells me. “I’ve always said if he wasn’t an actor, he would’ve made a great stuntman. And Mission: Impossible 6 is like his showreel.”

In the case of Fallout, that ability included Cruise getting a private pilot’s license, a commercial pilot’s license, and a number of ratings in order to be able to complete the helicopter chase at the end of the film, as well as keeping up that training throughout the shoot as the sequence was designed.

The scene provided its own logistical challenges in that respect, as it involved not just Cruise’s helicopter and the helicopter he’s pursuing (which he’s meant to crash into), but also the camera helicopter, all flying through a relatively narrow space. “You can’t just decide, ‘Oh, I’m going to just pull out left here,’ because you’ll go into a wall,” Eastwood says. “You have to be experienced enough to know where your out is.”

That includes knowing what to do in case of an engine flameout or a mechanical failure, which would be harrowing enough without taking the other helicopters into account. “The manual doesn’t say, ‘If you’re going to crash, you ditch it here,’ but if there are two other helicopters around you, or four or five other helicopters, and two rock faces? It would normally say, ‘Well, then, you’re buggered,’” he says.

Cruise had to train in order to be able to get through any emergency, as well as to act while simulating a crash. In the sequence, the helicopter corkscrews, which means dealing with the pull of gravity — Eastwood tells me the dive will take you out of your seat — while ensuring that the increasing speed of the main rotor doesn’t go so high that it comes off completely, leaving the helicopter to drop like a stone. Cruise had to account for all of that while being Hunt, checking to see where the bad guys are going, and making sure he’s caught by the two cameras mounted on either side of the helicopter and looking the right way to catch the light.

Step 3: bringing the stunts to life

Tom Cruise hangs from a helicopter

“I’ve always said if [Cruise] wasn’t an actor, he would’ve made a great stuntman.” Paramount Pictures

When the day of shooting arrives, it’s imperative that everything is perfectly in place. Little details may shift, but any significant changes mean going straight back to the drawing board and re-rehearsing with the stunt team and then with the actors.

“We’re doing controlled action, but there is still a danger element,” Eastwood explains. “If it’s a large thing, I never change it on the fly; I go back to the drawing board, I get the time I need, I redo it, re-rehearse it and look at all the things that could go wrong, negate that risk as much as possible — obviously within reason, you can’t go to zero — and then we go back and we carry on.”

It’s telling of how carefully Eastwood has thought it all through that he’s able to explain exactly how the final helicopter scene would have been done if they hadn’t done it practically. The sequence begins with Cruise attempting to climb up a rope and into an airborne helicopter. As he’s almost at the top, he loses his grasp, falling 40 feet onto the payload — as the helicopter continues to fly.

“You would normally have a fake helicopter flying on a crane, with a green screen and a wind machine,” Eastwood says, stressing just how different the stakes of filming would be. “We’d have all our rigs, our wires going up through the helicopter and then down to the ground; we’d have our little rigging station with our coffee hut, and everyone would be standing around there having a nice coffee. When [Tom] comes to do his stunt, we would lower the line through the winch, and he would drop down to the bag, and then he would step off and sit in his chair. But we didn’t have that luxury. [. ] I think everyone, the audiences, would have known that it was suddenly a cheated sequence, so we went for it for real.”

To go whole hog, Eastwood and his team took the rigging that they’d have on the ground and designed a version that would fit into a helicopter that would be flying 1,000 to 2,000 feet up in the mountains. After almost 20 rehearsals with a stunt double to make sure the stunt was doable, Cruise rehearsed once (“he nailed it straight away”), and shot the scene the next day.

Eastwood estimates that they shot the scene a dozen-odd times, which is a terrifying proposition in and of itself: even with winches in place, it’s bone-chilling to imagine falling so far, and from such a great height. Then again, that’s what makes the scene, and the Mission: Impossible movies as a whole, so thrilling to watch.

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Source https://www.businessinsider.com/how-tom-cruise-pulled-off-the-halo-jump-in-mission-impossible-fallout-2018-7

Source https://www.businessinsider.com/how-tom-cruise-pulled-off-the-halo-jump-in-mission-impossible-fallout-2018-7

Source https://www.vox.com/2018/8/2/17639144/tom-cruise-mission-impossible-fallout-stunt

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