Why Tom Cruise Insists On Doing Many Of His Own Stunts

Tom Cruise has an impressive body of work that spans four decades. Throughout his career, Cruise has taken on many different roles that showcase his ability to create diverse characters and bring their stories to life. One of the most interesting things about him is the dedication and enthusiasm he brings to every project he accepts. 

Over the last two decades, Cruise has become known for performing death-defying stunts in many of his films, most notably the "Mission Impossible" franchise. Cruise has climbed the world's tallest building, dangled in the air from helicopters, and clung on to mountain sides hundreds of feet in the air. Not bad for a guy who began his career gliding across a wooden floor in his underwear. 

When he visited "The Graham Norton Show" in 2014, the actor gave two main reasons he prefers to do his own stunt work.

He's Always Loved Danger

When Norton asked why he prefers to put his own life at risk for film stunts, Cruise explained he has always enjoyed testing his physicality. Even before he was starring in incredibly expensive projects and making millions of dollars, Cruise loved to push the envelope. He told Norton stories about how he spent his childhood doing "flips off of [his] house into the snow" and performing precarious bicycle jumps over ditches. With these stories in mind, it's clear Cruise was destined for roles like Ethan Hunt and Jack Reacher, and he spent his entire childhood training for them. The actor enjoys the stunt work he performs on sets and he also explores riskier extracurriculars outside of his work. 

Cruise explained in this same interview that he has "always loved fast cars, motorcycles, hiking, and climbing." In short, Tom Cruise enjoys danger, and there's no reason he wouldn't explore it within his career.

It's About Storytelling

It's no secret Tom Cruise is an intense guy, whether he's jumping on couches to express love or prepping to hold his breath for an absurd amount of time for a scene, he commits himself 100 percent. When Cruise accepts a role, he throws everything he has into it. This intensity and his desire to perform stunt work directly relates to his philosophy on acting and good storytelling. "I feel that [when acting] you're bringing everything, you know, physically and emotionally, to a character in a story," he told Graham Norton. "I've trained for 30 years doing [stunts] and it allows us to put cameras where you are normally not able to."

Cruise believes his ability to perform his own stunts makes his films more engaging and believable. To his point, there are very few things more frustrating than watching an action film and suddenly noticing that the most exhilarating sequences were shot in a lackluster way to hide the switching of the actor with their stunt performer. Cruise is aware of this pitfall and uses his ability to perform death-defying feats to put the audience right into the action with him. While some may criticize Cruise's need to double dip as an actor and a stuntman, it's an irrefutable fact that his stunts draw audiences to his films, and they're always fun to watch.