Tom Cruise held his breath underwater for how long on MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – ROGUE NATION?

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Tom Cruise is crazy. We all know this. There is a partially destroyed couch standing around on an abandoned Oprah set that attests to this. More relevantly though, he is infamous for sending insurance companies’ blood pressures through the roof as he insists on doing all his own insane stunts in his movies. In Mission: Impossible II, that was really him free-climbing and dangling off of that mountain in the opening. In Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, he really was scaling the face of the Burj Kalifa Tower (at least this time he allowed a very tiny safety harness).

So naturally, said insurance companies probably started feeling chest pains when Cruise recently revealed that he and director Chris McQuarrie had cooked up something never seen before for the upcoming Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation.

“We have something I’ve always wanted to do: an underwater sequence without cuts. The kind of training I had to do for that was pretty intense. I’ve done a lot of underwater scenes but I’ve never done one [like this] that will get the audience to lean forward and have a visceral reaction.”

Wait, what? As Cruise explained to USA Today (and which you can glimpse in the latest trailer), they’ve done a single take underwater action scene. At this point you’re probably thinking “Hold on. If it’s a single take underwater, then when does Cruise get a chance to breath?”. Simple answer: He doesn’t.

“It’s something I have always wanted to do. (Director Christopher McQuarrie) and I have been thinking about it since working on ‘Edge of Tomorrow.’ I have done a lot of underwater sequences. But 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 6 1/2 minutes. So I was doing all my training with the other stuff (on-set). It was very taxing stuff.”

Six minutes. Without breathing. Let that sink in. Hell, try to time yourself holding your breath while you let that sink in…. Done already, Darryn? Maybe you should go train with professional freediving trainer Kirk Krack who worked with Cruise for weeks to get him ready for this.

“When you’re making ‘Mission’ movies you’re working with athletes and stunt people at the height of their game.”


Newcomer Rebecca Ferguson, who stars as mysterious femme fatale Ilse Faust, wasn’t exempt from all this crazy stuntwork, as she not only had to get involved in the underwater scene but also had to spend her first day on set scaling the Vienna Opera House with Cruise. Luckily, she had some great trainers as well.

“When you are with Tom and the ‘Mission’ team, the best people are brought in to train you. So you are actually capable of managing everything. It’s incredible to know you have the ability to do these things.”

Oh, and in case you were wondering, the record for holding your breath underwater (without the aid of breathing pure oxygen beforehand) is 11 minutes 35 seconds. With an oxygen aid, it’s a staggering 22 minutes. Don’t you feel even more inferior now?

Here’s the latest trailer in which you can see part of Cruise’s underwater insanity. Mission:Impossible – Rogue Nation hits screens on July 31, 2015.

Last Updated: June 8, 2015

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