It's no secret that the Mission Impossible franchise is full of crazy stunts. The latest, Rogue Nation, is no exception; in fact, a lot of the film's marketing has revolved around the fact that Tom Cruise did his own stunts for that insane hanging-off-an-airplane scene. But the scene that honestly made me clench my teeth the hardest was that crazy Tom Cruise underwater scene in Rogue Nation , when the actor seemingly holds his breath underwater for over six minutes. Believe it or not, this unbelievable event actually happened.
Spoilers ahead! To give the scene some context, Cruise's Ethan Hunt must insert a fake personnel profile into the facility's security vaults (which, naturally, are stored underwater) in order to help Benji (Simon Pegg) gain access to a highly-guarded building. Oh, and this has to be done in the three minutes before Benji reaches the facility's aboveground security checkpoint and is exposed as an intruder. Also, the security alarm will be triggered if the underwater vault senses any metal, which means no oxygen tanks. No pressure, right? The only logical plan of action, therefore, is a superhuman undertaking of diving into the vault and changing out the security profiles in under three minutes, all while holding one's breath. Who's up for the challenge? Why, Tom Cruise, of course!
Talking to Yahoo, Cruise explained how the extraordinary scene came to be. "The kind of training I had to do for that was pretty intense. I’ve done a lot of underwater scenes but I’ve never done one [like this] that will get the audience to lean forward and have a visceral reaction," he said. According to RopeofSilicon.com, Rogue director Wade Eastwood brought in a freediving expert to teach Cruise how to hold his breath for counterintuitively long periods of time for two months prior to the filming of the scene. After that training, Cruise was able to stay submerged long enough to film the anxiety-inducing scene in one long take.
As Rogue viewers saw, the resulting sequence was absolutely amazing, and also something that I myself have no intention of reenacting. Here are some other aquatic scenes that are awesome to watch, but not to try at home:
1. Kate Winslet In Titanic
Due to her refusal to wear a wetsuit, Kate Winslet reportedly got sick while filming Titanic. Also, that scene where she slid chest-deep into the water while wielding an axe on her way to save Jack? The gasp she let out was her actual reaction to the water temperature, as according to titanic-facts.com, the Pacific was a lot colder during shooting than originally anticipated. So to everyone who hates on Rose for later staying on the floating door while Jack hangs off the side, just remember that she dove into the water for him first.
2. Tobey Maguire And Kristen Dunst In Spiderman
Tobey Maguire told Parade in 2007, "When we shot that scene where we kissed in the alleyway and I was hanging upside down, it was really late at night, it was raining, and the whole time I had rainwater running up my nose. Then, when Kirsten rolled back the wet mask, she cut off the air completely."
I can actually verify firsthand how much rain-kissing scenes suck; when I was an actor, I once filmed a such a scene with the expectation that it would be incredibly romantic. But movie rain is incredibly different from real rain, and the result of trying to make out under a constant stream of water is a lot of choking. I'm pretty sure I coughed directly into my partner's mouth...not so cute, and not something I'll be trying again.
3. Isla Fisher In Now You See Me
While playing an escape artist in this film, Fisher shot a scene where she had to escape from chains while trapped in a glass box filled with water. But during filming, her chains got tangled and she couldn't reach the safety button to drain the tank. Fisher expressed that she thought she was going to drown at that moment. LOL NO THANKS.
There are many, many more stunts in Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, none of which I have any desire to try myself. For those of you who believe that aquatic daredevil acts are best enjoyed passively with a giant tub of popcorn, you're in luck: MI5 is playing in dry, comfortable movie theaters nationwide.
Images: Paramount Pictures; Giphy (2); Columbia Pictures; Summit Entertainment