For years, Tom Cruise has delighted moviegoers with his massive blockbusters, in which he typically performs incredible feats. Cruise’s stunts are essentially the stuff of legend at this point and, with the actor only seeming to up the ante as time goes on, one could definitely get the feeling that he’ll continue to perform like this for years. However, contrary to popular belief, the actor is human and aging just like the rest of us. As a matter of fact, today is Cruise’s 60th birthday (something I still can’t believe), and many have been paying tribute to him. Mission: Impossible 8 (or Dead Reckoning Part Two) director Christopher McQuarrie was one of those who celebrated, and he did so by sharing an amazing new stunt image from the upcoming movie.
Christopher McQuarrie knows better than most just how skilled Tom Cruise is when it comes to performing stunts. He’s worked with the star in varying capacities on nearly ten films, four of which are Mission: Impossible flicks. So it was only fitting that McQuarrie celebrated his leading man’s birthday by taking to Twitter and dropping a BTS still from the eighth M:I movie, which has been shooting in South Africa as of late. The image involves Cruise’s Ethan Hunt and an airplane, and… Yeah, you just need to see if for yourself:
Happy 60th Birthday, Tom. pic.twitter.com/IfWUguhM7cJuly 3, 2022
I mean, does that look like a man who was on the cusp of turning 60? I don’t think so, and I’m certain there are plenty of others out there who would agree with me. This is a perfect tribute to the man who many call the greatest action star of all time. Also, you now have to wonder what the narrative context is for this particular scene. Ethan Hunt has gotten himself into some seriously sticky situations over the years, but this one definitely takes the cake.
I’m not sure what’s more impressive to be honest: the fact that Tom Cruise performs these stunts or the fact that Christopher McQuarrie and co. manage to formulate them and make them work organically for the story. Sure, plenty would point at Cruise’s theatrics, but you have to give it up to the writer-director for coming up with the ideas. He’s given the character of Ethan Hunt (and Cruise by extension) some wild things to do, like that wild underwater sequence in 2015’s Rogue Nation. And from what’s been revealed so far, it looks like the final two M:I installments (which have wild budgets) are going to be even crazier.
Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One filmed heavily during the height of COVID and, during that time, behind-the-scenes looks were shared by the cast, crew and external entities. For instance, someone captured footage of the lead actor continuously parachuting out of a helicopter. Hayley Atwell has also teased that she’ll be handcuffed to the man for one sequence that sounds particularly interesting. Of course, there’s one moment that just about every fan is probably eager to see.
The moment in question is that insane moment that sees Ethan Hunt ride a motorcycle off a cliff, as teased in the Dead Reckoning trailer. Tom Cruise’s insane stunt was first teased with BTS shots back in September, with more details slowly being revealed. CinemaBlend learned some key details about Cruise’s big scene during this year’s CinemaCon. One of those little details is the fact that the Hollywood veteran has wanted to perform such a thing since he was “a little kid.” So clearly this was the realization of a dream for him, and adrenaline junkies have probably also fantasized about such a thing.
The now-60-year-old performer is sure to finish strong when it comes to the remainder of his work on the eighth Mission: Impossible movie. It wouldn’t be surprising if he’s listening to Christopher McQuarrie’s direction and preparing for another stunt as we speak. Regardless of what he’s doing today though, I hope he takes a moment to celebrate and enjoy his big day.
Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One opens in theaters on July 14, 2023 and Part Two will be released on June 28, 2024. And if you’re looking to get your Tom Cruise fix right now, you can head out now and see Top Gun: Maverick, one of 2022’s biggest new movie releases.
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Erik Swann is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He began working with the publication in 2020 when he was hired as Weekend Editor. Today, he continues to write, edit and handle social media responsibilities over the weekend. On weekdays, he also writes TV and movie-related news and helps out with editing and social media as needed. He graduated from the University of Maryland, where he received a degree in Broadcast Journalism. After shifting into multi-platform journalism, he started working as a freelance writer and editor before joining CB. Covers superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. He eats more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.