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Tom Cruise Explains Why the Best ‘Mission: Impossible’ Stunt Almost Didn’t Happen

"I remember we were running out of time and I went down to the floor and I kept hitting my face."

Paramount Pictures

Mission: Impossible is a beloved spy film franchise that has been largely defined by Tom Cruise pulling off absolutely insane stunts. And no stunt from the series is more iconic than Ethan Hunt (Cruise) being dropped down into a CIA vault from a cable in order to avoid touching the ground in the first film.

Compared to the wild stunts Cruise pulls off in the later films, this seems like a relatively simple scene to execute. However, in an interview for the original film’s 25th anniversary Blu-Ray, Cruise revealed that they almost had to abandon it entirely because he kept falling.

“I remember we were running out of time and I went down to the floor and I kept hitting my face,” the actor said.

Obviously, Cruise hitting his face on the floor wouldn’t work for the scene and director Brian Da Palma wanted to move on, saying that they would just split two shots together. Cruise convinced De Palma to give him one more try and found a clever way to stay balanced in order to keep from falling.

“I put the pound coins in [my shoes] and I hung on the cable to see if I was level” Cruise explained. And I had to make it. Brian [De Palma] was like, ‘One more and I’m going to cut into it,’ and I said, ‘I can do it.'”

Cruise managed to execute the stunt perfectly with the help of the coins and the rest is cinematic history, as the image of him suspended from the ceiling has become legendary.