Tom Cruise Held His Breath Under Water For Over 6 Minutes to Film a Single Take ‘Mission: Impossible’ Scene
By now, you’ve probably seen or heard about the crazy scene in Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation where Tom Cruise actually hung outside of a cargo plane as it took off, dangling from the door as it ascended into the sky. It’s pretty nuts, but if you think that’s all that Rogue Nation has to offer, wait until you hear this. Tom Cruise filmed an underwater scene for the movie, where he had to hold his breath for over six minutes...because it’s all one single take.
We spoke recently about how the long take may have died a slow death as audiences became used to the gimmick and, with CGI, it became largely unimpressive. How do you make the long take impressive again? You get your A-list actor to hold his breath underwater throughout the entire thing.
Cruise, no stranger to doing his own stunts, spoke to USA Today about the insane sequence:
We wanted to create a suspense underwater sequence without cuts. So doing that sequence was really interesting. We’re underwater and we’re doing breath-holds of 6 to 61/2 minutes. So I was doing all my training with the other stuff (on-set). It was very taxing stuff.
It’s one thing to worry about messing up a long take because you flub your line, but to worry about messing it up because you’re running out of oxygen and slowly dying? That's pretty crazy, even by Tom Cruise standards. Director Christopher McQuarrie told Yahoo! he decided on this sequence because he wanted to leave his mark on the franchise.
I asked myself, ‘What can I do to celebrate all those elements of the franchise?’ A signature sequence the way (Brian) De Palma did, a villain the way J.J. Abrams did, the stunts the way Brad [Bird] did.
Cruise trained with professional freediver Kirk Krack on his breath training, while on set. And, if 6 minutes doesn’t seem like that long, listen to “Bohemian Rhapsody” and try to hold your breath throughout the entire thing.
Not so easy, right?
It’s not the first time Tom Cruise has insisted on holding his breath throughout a scene. He told Steven Spielberg he wanted to control his breathing while submerged in a bathtub in this Minority Report scene to get the bubble effect without the use of CGI trickery.
Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation opens in theaters on July 31.