Tom Cruise is known far and wide as the actor who always does his own stunts. With each new iteration of the Mission: Impossible franchise, one of the biggest questions isn't what will happen to the lead character Ethan Hunt, but what wild thing will the actor that plays him do next. Those wild things have included climbing the sides of sheer buildings, holding on to the side of airplanes as they take off, and even performing HALO skydiving jumps. Matt Damon, who has been part of his own action franchise with the Jason Bourne films, has not put his body on the line quite like that-- but he has a great story about just how Tom Cruise is able to do it.
In a recent appearance on Showtime's Desus & Mero, Matt Damon talked about doing stunts on the Bourne movies, and how he didn't, and didn't necessarily want to, do all the stunts for those movies himself. Even if he did, there are people and procedures in place on movies to prevent actors from doing things that are considered too dangerous. Because of this, Damon once asked Tom Cruise how he was able to do his own stunts such as scaling the Burj Khalifa in Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol, and Cruise explained that he did have to make some changes on set so that he could do it, by replacing the guy who wouldn't let him. Damon explained...
While it's not specified here, the "safety guy" likely worked for the company that was insuring the production of Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol. It's usually the insurance company that makes the determination of what the stars of a movie can do. If Tom Cruise gets hurt doing a stunt, the movie gets delayed and the studio will get a pay out due to the delay. And that's exactly what the insurance company is trying to avoid.
The story that Tom Cruise fired the insurance company on Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol has been around for several years. The story goes exactly as Matt Damon explained it here. They didn't want Tom Cruise to do the Burj Khalifa stunt and Cruise wanted to do it, so they went and found a new copany that was willing to insure the production while still letting the actor do the stunt.
Tom Cruise is certainly in a position to be able to do that. Even if Matt Damon wanted to do his own stunts, and it sounds like he has no problem letting stunt people get paid, it's unclear if he would have the clout necessary to make changes of that magnitude to a production. Meanwhile, Tom Cruise is busy driving motorcycles off the side of mountains.
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