Skip to content

7 "Wow" Facts About Mission: Impossible: Dead Reckoning

This is the one stunt Tom Cruise said no to.

Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One is already being lauded as one of the best action movies of the year, making $23.8 million at the box office in just the first two days alone. Fans of the movies know what to expect from the seventh installment in the long-running franchise, but there are plenty of surprises in store—including the one stunt Tom Cruise flat-out refused to do, and one so dangerous he scared his co-stars. "It was such an incredible thing to behold," says Simon Pegg. "I've been there for quite a few of his big stunts over the years but, this one…It was incredible – terrifying, for us as well as him." Here are 7 facts about Dead Reckoning that might surprise you.


Risking Death Every Time

Lia Toby/Getty Images

Cruise's infamous stunts absolutely pose a risk to his life, says Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One director Christopher McQuarrie. "They all have their own risks, and it's not always what you perceive the risk to be," McQuarrie says. "So there's all of these different factors and variables that you're constantly thinking about that could go wrong outside of all the variables that you've eliminated. The more variables, the scarier the stunt. I think that's kind of, to me, what makes it terrifying is how many different ways Tom could be killed doing the stunt, but they're all knowns. They're all things that you've thought about and can't control."


The Stunt Cruise Refused

Jason Mendez/Getty Images

Cruise's co-star Pom Klementieff says there is one stunt Cruise was not on board with while filming. During a fight sequence set in Venice, Klementieff asked the actor to kick her in the stomach, which he absolutely refused to do. "I kept telling him to just kick me here," the actress says. "I was squeezing abs. [I said], 'You can just go for it.' He was like 'No, no, no, no, no.' I was like, 'But it's going to help me!' But he wouldn't do it."


De-Aging Cruise?

Rocket K/Getty Images

McQuarrie was seriously considering de-aging Cruise for a sequence set in 1989, but ultimately decided it would be too distracting. "Originally, there had been a whole sequence at the beginning of the movie that was going to take place in 1989," he says. "We talked about it as a cold open, we talked about it as flashbacks in the movie, we looked at de-aging. One of the big things about [the de-aging] I was looking at while researching, I kept saying, 'Boy, this de-aging is really good' or 'This de-aging is not so good. Never did I find myself actually following the story."


Three-Hour Director's Cut

Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

According to McQuarrie, the original cut of Dead Reckoning was three hours long. "With every cut, we knew it could be better, we knew it could be tighter," he says. "When we finally screened it for the last test audience and were happy with the result, we were about two minutes longer than we are now, and we walked away from it. The studio was very happy, the scores were great, but we still knew we had issues. We knew we had issues with pace and length, and we went back into the editing room, reconfigured the first act, and ended up taking two minutes out of the movie, which was critical."


Cruise Destroyed Six Motorcycles

Pierre Suu/GC Images

Cruise destroyed six motorcycles in just one day while filming Dead Reckoning, by driving them off a cliff. "In terms of this movie, definitely the motorcycle jump [was the scariest]," McQuarrie says. "But we have continued and we've pushed ourselves even further in Part Two. And you'll see. It's terrifying."


Cruise Insists on Theater Release

Don Arnold/WireImage

Cruise himself insists on his big-budget action hero movies coming out in theaters so people can have the best experience watching them on the big screen. "I'm first and foremost the audience. The audience," Cruise says. "So when you look at the films that I have, it's not about me. It's about us. It's about that experience together. … That's why Top Gun: Maverick, I was like, no, this movie's coming out in the theaters. And when we were going through that time period, I kept calling the distributors and the theaters. I said, no, it's coming. And I showed them the movie and I said this will be in the theaters. I want you to have that experience."


40 Takes For One Shot

Lia Toby/Getty Images

Vanessa Kirby says filming was so specific, she did 40 takes of her simply picking up a key. "We did 40 takes of picking up a key, and it was so fun because actually, you realize by take 30, you're thinking as an actor, yeah, you're just picking up a key, but I thought, 'How many ways can a human being pick up a key?'" she says. "That's just one tiny example, but in many moments, you get to play many, many different things because you get the opportunity because there's time and space, and it's the process of, 'Let's see what comes out.' Then we have loads of time in the edit putting things together that are unusual and allow for– rather than, you know, we're so used to having one or two takes sometimes in films when it's a small budget."

Ferozan Mast
Ferozan Mast is a science, health and wellness writer with a passion for making science and research-backed information accessible to a general audience. Read more
Filed Under