WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Mission: Impossible — Fallout, in theaters now.
If anyone had doubts about Tom Cruise's dedication to his craft, those undoubtedly went out the window with Mission: Impossible -- Fallout. After breaking his ankle in a gravity-defying stunt, production was postponed for eight weeks, but at that point we didn't have any context about how important that scene would be to director Christopher McQuarrie's film. But now we can see how beneficial the injury turned out to be to the action movie.
Sure, it's terrible that Cruise had to endure such pain, but upon closer inspection, the positives that emerged due to the production hiatus make Fallout better.
The injury occurred during the scene in which Cruise's Ethan Hunt attempts to make up ground in his pursuit of August Walker (Henry Cavill), a CIA agent revealed to be a terrorist. Hunt runs across streets, through buildings, and jumps between them, parkour-style. When Cruise jumped from one building to the next, he extended his leg and broke his ankle as he slammed into a wall. McQuarrie used three cameras to capture different angles, and while the wide shot of the injury wasn't used, as it might have been too graphic, the head-on shot when Cruise struck the building was kept in the film. What's so amazing is that Cruise gets up and finishes the take, limping off-camera.
It shows how badly he wanted this movie to be action perfection, something also evidenced in his training for the HALO skydiving scene and even learning to pilot a helicopter for Fallout's breakneck finale.
While everyone was wishing Cruise a speedy recovery, the cast and crew were grateful for the respite. Cavill revealed in interviews it was a difficult production, so the hiatus allowed them to rest, especially as there were more draining sequences to be shot. As most of them involved Hunt, nothing could really be shot in the interim, thus everyone recharged. With production halted, McQuarrie had an opportunity to finish his script. That's right, principal photography began, there wasn't a completed screenplay, only outlines. Now, the filmmaker had time to fine-tune key scenes.
That, of course, meant better dialogue and improvements to the plot. McQuarrie got to sit in with his editing team and start polishing material, framing key pieces of the story, and getting a better understanding as to where he wanted the film to go as Hunt battled the Apostles.
Ultimately, the break was the deep breath Fallout needed to re-energize. It didn't allow Cavill to shave for Justice League reshoots, but it helped everyone to relax while waiting for Cruise to recover, and return stronger than ever. It turns out that it's impossible to keep Cruise and Ethan Hunt down, even with an ankle injury.
In theaters nationwide, director Christopher McQuarrie’s Mission: Impossible — Fallout stars Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt, joined by returning actors Rebecca Ferguson as Ilsa Faust, Ving Rhames as Luther Stickell and Simon Pegg as Benji Dunn, with Henry Cavill, Angela Bassett, Vanessa Kirby, Michelle Monaghan, Alec Baldwin, Sean Harris, Sian Brooke and Frederick Schmidt.