How Tom Cruise Did That Insane Plane Stunt For Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation

The first full trailer for Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation ends with quite a bang, and a stunt that easily rivals the Burj Khalifa sequence in Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol. The sight of Ethan Hunt hanging on to the side of taking-off airplane is an unbelievable one to behold - and it's only made more impressive when you remember that Tom Cruise actually performed the real stunt himself. But how did this stunt actually get done? The star and director Christopher McQuarrie have revealed all in a recent interview.

Timed with the release of the new trailer, Yahoo! UK has posted an extended interview they did with both Cruise and McQuarrie, in which the two men discuss the details behind what looks to be Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation's biggest spectacle sequence. Apparently the idea of riding on the side of a plane is something that the actor has been thinking about doing for a while, and he describes it as "undoubtedly the most dangerous thing [he's] ever done." He and his Mission: Impossible 5 director knew that they needed to top what Ghost Protocol brought to the table, and it was McQuarrie who ultimately brought the idea to the table for the blockbuster. The filmmaker explained,

While searching for different locations, the production designer James Bissell bought me a model of this Airbus airplane and presented it as something we could use in the movie. I suggested to Tom, ‘What if you were on the outside of this thing when it took off?' I meant it as sort of a half joke, but he said back to me, ‘Yeah I could do that!’

From there it was all about figuring out a way to attach a camera to the side of the airplane that would A) get an appropriate angle on the shot, and B) not detach during take-off and smash into Tom Cruise. The actor met with not just a test pilot, but the guys who created the A400m Airbus, and made sure that everything was doable and safe.

You can watch the incredible stunt performed at the end of the trailer embedded below:

So what was the biggest fear in this situation? While many of you might guess that it would be Cruise losing his grip and falling, apparently that wasn't the case. Instead, the larger concern during shooting was bird strikes and random debris flying through the air. As Cruise told the site,

I remember one time we were going down the runway and there was just a little particle that just hit me, it was smaller than a finger nail. I was thankful it didn’t hit my hands or face, if it did I’d have a problem because those parts were exposed, but it still could have broken my ribs!

Perhaps the most impressive part of all this is that the airplane ride won't be Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation's only breathtaking sequence. In the interview, Christopher McQuarrie teases that this death-defying stunt is actually one of two "incredibly physically punishing things" that he had Tom Cruise do for the movie, and that the other one is merely teased in the above trailer. I'm sure when we see the finished film it will stand out from the pack and we'll recognize exactly which stunt the director is being alluded to (I'm personally hoping it's the dive into the sand vortex).

Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation will be in theaters on July 31st.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

NJ native who calls LA home and lives in a Dreamatorium. A decade-plus CinemaBlend veteran who is endlessly enthusiastic about the career he’s dreamt of since seventh grade.