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BASE-Jumping on Bikes and Plane Stunts Are Fun But Expensive, Tom Cruise Has Learned
Tom Cruise is one of the last, true action movie stars of our generation, it has often been said. Never the kind to call for a stuntman when he’s required to get physical on camera, the actor has done it all – and the upcoming Mission: Impossible 7 is like a best-of collection of stunts.

BASE-Jumping on Bikes and Plane Stunts Are Fun But Expensive, Tom Cruise Has Learned

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Mission: Impossible 7 is now in post-production, with an estimated premiere date set for 2023, if the Powers That Be allow it. When that happens, fans will be treated to a collection of the most dangerous and insane stunts ever by Tom Cruise, including a BASE jump off a cliff on a motorcycle while chased by a helicopter, plane stunts, and probably more motorcycle stunts than they’ll be able to count on the fingers of both hands.

The bottom line is that Tom Cruise remains a highly physical performer, one that is not afraid to cheat death in order to deliver immersive entertainment, or so he says of his dedication to stuntwork. For the producers and the studio, the bottom line also means that Cruise’s desire to do both translates into an ever-ballooning budget.

In fact, Variety writes, MI7 has the biggest reported budget of all the installments in the franchise, of $290 million. That’s before marketing, and it’s already “tens of millions more than the studio and its financial partner expected to have to shell out.” Even by Hollywood standards, that's a lot of money.

Put it differently, movie stunts cost money. The bigger the stunt, the more money it needs to be put together. The trade publication mentions the Norway stunt, which saw Cruise ride a dirtbike off a ramp located on a mountain top, and parachuting back to solid ground. A helicopter was either chasing him or serving as the camera vehicle, but there were also drones flying around for different angles.

“This is far and away the most dangerous thing I’ve attempted,” Cruise once said of the stunt. “I wanted to do it since I was a little kid.”

Any kind of stunt, even of the silliest kind that normal folk wouldn’t even consider under the name, requires preparations, rehearsals, and a larger crew than a “normal” production day. There are body doubles, consultants, advisors, medics, insurers, and all kinds of personnel on hand, to ensure that everything goes right and, if it doesn’t, that help is immediately available.

For this particular stunt, with Cruise riding a Honda off the cliff at the end of that ramp, rehearsals took months in 2020. They started in the UK, where the ramp was first set up, and stunt riders tried the jump with cables attached. In August of that year, one rehearsal went south and the bike landed in the wrong spot, bursting into flames and setting the entire set on fire.

The set was quickly rebuilt and Cruise got around to rehearse the stunt himself. It was only after this extended stage that the production moved to Norway, where they built another ramp, did more rehearsals and then finally shot a few takes of the jump. It’s ok if you’re feeling exhausted just from reading about this stuff.

Doing all these things costs money, and Variety says it cost Paramount and Skydance even more money than under normal circumstances because of the international health crisis, which forced production to stall due to repeated lockdowns and unplanned breaks. But what Tom Cruise wants, Tom Cruise (usually) gets, and this also applies to when he wants to be the daredevil on the bike BASE-jumping off mountain cliffs.

That movie stunts are expensive and difficult to put together is not a secret. In the end, let’s just hope that the Powers That Be let Mission: Impossible 7 be great (at the box office), to make it all worth it. It would be a shame if all that money and stuntwork went to waste.



Editor's note: Photos in the gallery include a variety of MI stunts, starting with the Norway BASE-jumping stunt.

 
 
 
 
 

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