Stunt performers have to be viewed as the most overlooked professionals in the film industry. It’s their job to put themselves in real jeopardy solely for our entertainment, and it’s incredible that there’s not a category dedicated to them as part of any major awards ceremony. In fact, the only time you really hear about stunts making the headlines is when big name actors do them without a double, and that’s especially true in the case of Tom Cruise.
Even if he wasn’t one of the most famous movie stars of the modern era with a string of box office hits under his belt dating back four decades, you could still name Cruise as one of the most accomplished stuntmen in the business. In fact, Jack Reacher stunt driver Joe Box once said the star was one of the most talented performers he’d ever worked with in terms of his dedication, training, acumen and safety when it comes to tackling dangerous feats for his films.
It’s his role as Ethan Hunt that sees Cruise pulling out all the stops, though, with the most recent entries in the Mission: Impossible franchise finding him scaling the world’s tallest building, strapping himself to a cargo plane during takeoff, performing hundreds of low altitude parachute jumps and even learning to pilot a helicopter for an aerial chase sequence, which he obviously dangled from at high speed for good measure.
The 58 year-old clearly loves getting in the thick of it, and in a new interview he revealed that while he’s suffered his fair share of injuries, he’s often been told to stop smiling on camera when he’s supposed to be in mortal peril.
“I am a very physical actor and I love doing them. I study and train and take a lot of time figuring it all out. I have broken a lot of bones. The first time of any stunt is nerve-wracking, but it’s also exhilarating. I have been told a few times during shooting a stunt to stop smiling.”
It simply isn’t a Tom Cruise movie without at least one death-defying stunt and a scene of him running at full speed, and his next efforts Top Gun: Maverick and Mission: Impossible 7 are set to deliver both.