Tom Cruise is considered one of the most fearless action stars to ever live, thanks to the death-defying stunts audiences have seen him perform over the years. For Simon Pegg, Cruise's co-star in the Mission: Impossible franchise, the action stunts are more a source of worry than wonder, as he explained to Conan O'Brien.
"When you watch the movie and you see [Tom] do the stunts, and it's nail-biting and there's a real sense of genuine kind of peril and you know that it's him. But you know he survived because he was on Good Morning America that morning and he did some press. When we watch him do it, we have no idea if he's going to survive. So he rides a bike off a cliff, and everybody's just waiting for, 'Good canopy, good canopy, anybody?' It's terrifying."
In a CGI-infested blockbuster landscape, Tom Cruise has carved out a distinct niche for his action films by keeping the stunts as real as possible, instead of shooting the whole thing in front of a green screen. It was actually Cruise who was jumping from one mountain cliff to the next on location in the iconic opening sequence of Mission: Impossible 2.
Similarly, it was Cruise actually filming underwater and holding his breath for six+ minutes in Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation, and it was actually Cruise who broke his ankle jumping from one building to another for Mission: Impossible - Fallout.
Despite turning 58 this year, the actor shows no signs of stopping. He is set to complete the final two installments of the Mission Impossible series, which director Christopher McQuarrie has promised will feature even more death-defying stunts.
"We've figured out three obscene things that he's doing that I'm terrified of, that make the helicopter chase [from Fallout] look like tinker toys."
Once he wraps up his iconic spy franchise, rumor has it that Cruise plans to finally retire from the action genre. But before that can happen, the actor has signed up for one last hurrah in what could be his most ridiculously dangerous project yet. Earlier this year, NASA announced that it was teaming up with Tom Cruise and Elon Musk to film an action movie helmed by McQuarrie that is set in actual space.
With other actors, making a space movie would involve green screens and extensive wirework. But in his signature style, Cruise plans to train along with his cast and crew to be able to work in space, after which the film team will be launched into the stratosphere to shoot the movie in a real zero-gravity environment.
So it seems the days of Simon Pegg worrying over Cruise's safety are far from over. But while the element of danger is indeed staggering, audiences continue to be riveted watching Cruise do his thing onscreen, one heart-stopping action scene after another.
Mission: Impossible 7 features Tom Cruise, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Vanessa Kirby, Henry Czerny, Esai Morales, Hayley Atwell, Pom Klementieff, and Shea Whigham. The film arrives in theaters on November 19, 2021, while Mission: Impossible 8 releases on November 4, 2022.