In honor of Tom Cruise’s 60th birthday, director Christopher McQuarrie posted a behind-the-scenes image of the star dangling upside down from an airborne World War II plane. The stunt sequence will presumably be seen in either Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One, or its immediate sequel, Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part Two, due out in 2023 and 2024, respectively.
McQuarrie wished Cruise a happy birthday in his tweet, as he teased what could possibly be among the final times Cruise gets to perform crazy stunts as Agent Ethan Hunt. The actor has played the character for over a quarter-century now, and will be 62 by the time the eighth film is released. Cruise has developed a reputation as a daredevil performer of his own stunts, which have been escalating in intensity with every new project that he does.
McQuarrie‘s new picture shows Cruise harnessed to a vintage plane, clearly flying at a significant altitude above what appears to be the countryside. A small camera can be seen attached to the rear fin, and a closer look reveals a pilot seated in the rear cockpit. It was reported by The Sun last year that Cruise had learned to fly a Boeing-Stearman biplane for a major sequence in the then-untitled Mission: Impossible 8. The report also cited witnesses as describing the sequence being filmed over Cambridgeshire in the U.K. Cruise was harnessed to the wing, sitting upside down while the plane performed a belly-roll. The pilot then sent the plane into a nosedive and a spin, as Cruise made his way back into the cockpit.
There is nothing that audiences currently seem to enjoy more than the sight of Cruise inside an airplane, preferably engaged in a high-stakes aerial combat sequence. And the bar has certainly been raised (by Cruise himself) after the blockbuster success of Top Gun: Maverick.
Filming on the eighth Mission: Impossible movie began immediately after the seventh film wrapped in September. The Hollywood Reporter carried an in-depth story earlier this year about how Cruise and McQuarrie mounted a back-to-back production, braving the pandemic, a budget that had ballooned to nearly $300 million for the seventh movie, and various other setbacks. But all this was before Cruise proved (again) that he is a massive box office draw when it comes to large-scale franchise films.
A first trailer for Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One has already teased that film’s action set-pieces, the most prominent of which seems to be a chase scene aboard a vintage train, and Cruise riding a motorbike off a cliff. M:I 7 features Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, and Rebecca Ferguson as returning players, while Hayley Atwell, Pom Klementieff, Shea Whigham, and Cary Elwes will be playing new characters, and Esai Morales will appear as the film’s primary antagonist.
Mission: Impossible 7 and 8 were originally slated to premiere on September 30, 2022, and July 7, 2023, respectively. The films have now been pushed to July 14, 2023, and June 28, 2024. You can get a better look at McQuarrie‘s picture here: