Tom Cruise’s latest stunt in ‘Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part 1’ was nothing short of audacious. Positioned 1,200 meters above sea level on Norway’s Helsetkopen mountain, Cruise embarked on his most ambitious endeavour to date. He revved a custom Honda CRF 250 and hurtled off a specially crafted ramp, plummeting a jaw-dropping 4,000 feet into the abyss below. With only 500 feet to spare, he deployed his parachute, pushing the boundaries of daring cinematic action.
This incredible feat wasn’t executed on a whim; it was a result of meticulous preparation that included a year of rigorous training in the UK. Cruise’s training regimen encompassed over 500 skydives and an astonishing 13,000 motocross jumps. The complexity and risk associated with this stunt were undeniable, with the ever-changing wind conditions posing a particular challenge, despite the team’s initial tests in the UK. In the actual remote location of Helsetkopen, a full reconstruction of the scaffolding and ramp was essential. This £2 million temporary stunt rig was, at the time, one of the costliest ever built in the UK.
Steven Moth, the CEO and Director of Spirit in the Sky, was the aerial coordinator for this daring stunt. Tasked with orchestrating a global network of experienced professionals to capture the heart-pounding action in all its glory, Steven’s leadership was pivotal. Spirit in the Sky’s initial focus was securing the essential permits and certifications required for the construction and filming processes. Once all the necessary paperwork was in place, the months-long construction of the ramp setup commenced.
To facilitate this ambitious project, a fleet of helicopters, at least 12, was enlisted. The fleet encompassed various aircraft types, including nimble B3s and robust Bell 205s, collectively ensuring the operation’s success. These helicopters’ role was to transport containers loaded with tools, crew members, filming equipment, base camp supplies, and construction materials to the mountain’s summit, where the set construction was underway. The operation resembled a high-speed race track, beginning at the crew’s residence on a cruise ship, swiftly shuttling between the mountain’s pinnacle and base camp, a cycle that persisted throughout the entire filming process.
Once construction was complete it was time for preparation and filming to commence. For a stunt of this magnitude to work, every moving part must know exactly what to do and when to do it. Steven liaised with film director McQ, actor/Producer/Director, Tom Cruise and stunt coordinator Wade Eastwood on how aerial, stunts and camera were going to work together to achieve these shots. It goes without saying that the stakes were incredibly high, but the dedication to delivering awe-inspiring aerial sequences in ‘Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part 1’ was unwavering.