Movies

Tom Cruise's epic Mission Impossible helicopter stunt in Queenstown

Say what you want about Tom Cruise, but you can't deny his dedication to the craft. The veteran actor learned to fly a helicopter just so that he could perform this amazing stunt.

Tom Cruise is known for doing his own stunts. His dedication to his craft knows no bounds. But with the new Mission Impossible: Fallout movie he's taken it to the extreme.

The 55-year-old actor learned to fly a helicopter just so that he could film a particular stunt in Queenstown. Filming took place in New Zealand's adventure capital over a six week period in June last year.

As aerial coordinator Marc Wolff explained, "flying a helicopter takes a lot of skill. To put someone like Tom into a situation like this is almost impossible to imagine."

The film shows off Tom's flying skills - and the spectacular Queenstown landscape.
The film shows off Tom's flying skills - and the spectacular Queenstown landscape.

Tom approached Aerial assistant Randy Hepner and said he was going to learn to fly a helicopter. "We're going to go to Airbus and we're going to learn how to fly a helicopter. And be a 2,000 hour pilot in a very short period of time," Hepner revealed.

"It takes something like three months of 8 hour days just to become a novice helicopter pilot," Hepner explains. "Tom needed to work around the clock to reach the level of skill the sequence needs."

The fear on Tom's face is real as he performs his own stunts.
The fear on Tom's face is real as he performs his own stunts.

Tim McAdams, Airbus chief instructor: "There are very few students that have his level of dedication and focus."

Stunt coordinator Wade Eastwood stressed the importance of having realistic stunts. "It's super important for a movie like Mission to be doing it all practically and for real. Tom doesn't want to sit in a green screen. The audiences can tell when something's been cheated."

Tom needed to work around the clock in order to reach the skill level needed to perform the stunt.
Tom needed to work around the clock in order to reach the skill level needed to perform the stunt.

Tom's training culminated in the most dangerous stunt he's ever performed - a 360 degree downward spiral that "most pilots wouldn't attempt."

As one of the crew members rather bluntly explained, "you make a mistake - somebody's going to die from it."

The dangeours 360 downward spiral.
The dangeours 360 downward spiral.

You can view Tom's amazing stunt in the player at the top of the article.

Mission Impossible: Fallout will hit New Zealand cinemas in August.