The Hilarious Story Behind Tom Cruise’s Iconic ‘Mission Impossible’ Stunt

"Only Tom!"

Apparently, Tom Cruise was not pleased when told a Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol stunt was going to be created digitally and he had an unintentionally funny response…


Tom Cruise is one of Hollywood’s most successful actors. The 59-year-old is renowned for his many acting accolades, starring in the iconic film Top Gun, and for performing all of his own stunts.

And the stunt that Cruise is most famous for has a rather funny story behind it. We’re, of course, talking about the Burj Khalifa stunt Cruise pulled off for the film Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, which was released in 2011.

If you’re unfamiliar, the Burj Khalifa is the tallest tower in the world and in Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, Cruise’s character Ethan Hunt must scale the outside of the building to the 130th floor, retrieve nuclear codes and then repel down it. And Cruise insisted on performing the dangerous stunt himself.

You have to admit Cruise is seriously dedicated to his craft. Image Credit: Paramount Pictures

But according to Joseph Kahn, the filmmaker best known for directing numerous Taylor Swift, Britney Spears, and Eminem music videos, the original plan for the Burj Khalifa stunt was to CGI Cruise in. Taking to Twitter, Kahn wrote:

“Heard a great Tom Cruise story. On Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol they did an animatic of the Burj Khalifa sequence, explaining how there was going to be a digital Tom to do the stunts.

Tom then angrily said “THERE IS NO DIGITAL TOM! JUST TOM!” So they shot it for real.”

Joseph Kahn
There’s ‘just Tom’ indeed. Image Credit: Paramount Pictures

Kahn went on to say that Robert Elswit, who was the director of photography for Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, told him this hilarious story about Cruise.

This alleged (and funny) response from Cruise does seem legitimate; especially when you consider that Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol’s insurance company refused to insure the film if Cruise performed the Burj Khalifa stunt, so Cruise fired them and went and found an insurance company that would let him do the stunt.

In any case, whether Cruise actually said it or not, the line “There is no digital Tom! Only Tom!” is iconic.

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