Tom Cruise Talks His Most Dangerous Stunt: Holding His Breath

By June 5, 2015

Normally when people think of fantastic stunts, they think of things like jumping away from an explosion just in the nick of time, or falling thirty stories and living to tell the tale. In a new interview, though, daredevil superstar Tom Cruise talked about one of his most dangerous stunts, which may not seem like a big deal if you’ve ever dunked your head below the water in a swimming pool, until you learn the specifics.

In an interview with USA Today (via Yahoo! Movies), an incredible underwater scene that will appear in next month’s sequel Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol — as seen in the most recent trailer — was done all in one take, and required something of Cruise that not many people are able to do: he held his breath for 6-and-a-half minutes. On the process for accomplishing this, he said,

It’s something I have always wanted to do. I have done a lot of underwater sequences. But we wanted to create a suspense underwater sequence without cuts [….] We’re underwater and we’re doing breath-holds of 6 to 6 ½ minutes. So I was doing all my training with the other stuff [on-set]. It was very taxing stuff.

Generally speaking, the average adult can hold their breath for about 30-40 seconds, and it gets far more difficult with any movement or depth underwater. In the scene in question, Cruise is quickly swimming in a lot of different places, no doubt straining his body by depriving it of oxygen for so long. While Cruise isn’t breaking any world records with his efforts performing this stunt (the record for underwater breath-holding is a staggering 22 minutes by a German freediver), it’s still pretty incredible considering exactly what he’s doing in the scene, as well as the dedication to get the work done so efficiently.

If you want to catch a glimpse of the scene in question, be sure to watch the trailer below, and for the whole thing, you can watch Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol when it hits theaters on July 31st.

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Chris Clow
As a former comics retailer at a store in the Pacific Northwest, Chris Clow is an enormous sci-fi, comics, and film geek. He is a freelance contributor, reviewer, podcaster, and overall geek to GeekNation,, The Huffington Post, and He also hosts the monthly Comics on Consoles broadcast and podcast. Check out his blog, and follow him on Twitter @ChrisClow.
  • Daniel

    fair play to him, it would of been super easy to of just cut that scene up, but 6 and a half minutes holding your breath, while shooting a scene, is quite a feat.

  • Katey

    I can’t hold my breath for more than like 15 seconds lol, wonder how long it took him to master it, quite a useful life skill to learn as, you never know when it might be needed. 🙂

  • Thomas Kelly

    Jeez, Can’t at all imagine holding my breath for that long, I feel like my chest would just explode :O

  • Sean L

    well well well, Tom Cruise is a man of many talents

  • Thomas Kelly

    Its funny that he’d be submerged in water when he could just tom CRUISE along the surface

  • RogerSmiles

    The world record for holding breath under water is currently 22 minutes and 22 seconds. it is impressive what tom did for that stunt, but what other people can do is even crazier 😀

  • Jason

    that trailer looks bad ass! Cruise is an action movie superstar..