The first installment of Mission: Impossible—Dead Reckoning, which will be followed by Part Two in the summer of 2024, is most likely Tom Cruise’s farewell to IMF agent Ethan Hunt. Since Tom Cruise is 60 years old and not growing any younger, performing his own stunts will eventually become impossible for the actor.

But if this is the last installment of the Mission Impossible series, or at least one directed by Cruise, it certainly appears that he intends to go out in style. Along with a staggering 163 minutes of running time, Cruise also filmed what is regarded as the most epic stunt in movie history, in which he base jumps a motorbike directly over a cliff before free-falling thousands of feet.

What’s more astonishing is that all of this was done on the very first day of filming!

Director Christopher McQuarrie explained the filming method used in the action movie

Director Christopher McQuarrie talked about the non-linear approach of filming, which involves shooting the stunts first and then stitching together the plot pieces later, in the upcoming July 2023 issue of Empire Magazine.

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McQuarrie said, “Doing that on day one gave us all the time in the world to understand why he [Ethan] was doing what he was doing. If we sat around and tried to figure out these movies the old-fashioned way, you’d never find it, simply because it’s such a living, breathing thing.”

 Actor Tom Cruise added, “It’s never the easy road. I have a responsibility to audiences, the studio, my crew, my cast, and the industry. We can’t compromise just because all of these things happened. I can’t compromise the storytelling.”

The non-traditional, non-linear production style of Mission was used throughout the entire filming process and was adopted by more cast members than only Cruise. Pom Klementieff, who plays Ethan Hunt’s enigmatic, harlequin-like foe, says, “You always go back and forth between the beginning and the end of the movie. They’re always checking what they have, and then we do reshoots within the shoot.”

How did Tom Cruise prepare for the stunt?

In order to be ready for the stunt, which was filmed in Helsetkopen, Norway, Cruise completed more than 13,000 motocross jumps and 500 skydives. The act required a ramp, which had to be built over the course of many months by a staff of highly trained engineers and technicians, and everything had to be transported by helicopter, according to a behind-the-scenes video that was released last December.

And if anyone thought this would be a “one-and-done” action, they would be grossly underestimating Cruise’s resources. McQuarrie said the initial try went “absolutely beautiful—like, nothing wrong,” but Cruise felt he could have held onto the bike longer. After everything was said and done, he successfully pulled off the ruse six times.

Mission: Impossible—Dead Reckoning Part One hits theaters on July 12.

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