Tom Cruise's First Scene of New 'Mission: Impossible' Movie Was His Most Dangerous Stunt Ever (Exclusive)

The actor opened up to ET about planning his death-defying base jump for the first day of production.

It's no secret that Tom Cruise is serious about his stunt work, and in Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One, he wasted no time taking on a death-defying scene!

Cruise sat down with ET's Nischelle Turner in Rome this week to preview the upcoming action flick, and he shared an interesting fact about the production, revealing that the most dangerous stunt of his career -- a motorcycle jump off of a cliff into a base jump -- was the first-ever scene filmed for Dead Reckoning Part One.

"Well, we know either we're gonna continue with the film or we're not," Cruise said with a laugh of planning the death-defying stunt. "Let's know day one... Do we all continue, or is it a major rewrite?"

In all seriousness, the actor added, it all came down to focus. "It was years preparing. I mean, I've been riding motorcycles since I was a little kid, raced cars and spent a lot of time just with aerobatics, airplanes, helicopters and parachutes... It all kind of came to that moment."

"You have to be razor sharp when you do something like that, so it was very important as we were prepping the film that that actually was the first thing [to shoot], because I don't want to drop that and go shoot other things and then have my mind somewhere else," he continued. "Everyone was prepped, let's just get it done."

And it wasn't just the one stunt that Cruise was hyper-focused on throughout the film's production. He did his own stunt driving for an intense chase scene throughout the streets of Rome -- while his character was handcuffed to franchise newcomer Hayley Atwell, no less -- saying the challenges he takes on as a performer are indicative of his devotion to the action-packed franchise.

"Mission: Impossible is the first film I ever produced," he recalled of the impact the films have had on his career, dating back to the 1996 original. "There's certain things that I felt that we could tell with motion, with action and with stories and to be able to travel the world, that I really wanted to- I hoped that I could be able to accomplish with Mission: Impossible."

"I really always wanted to travel the world and be part of that community and then celebrate that community," he added. "Mission: Impossible allows me to do that."

Cruise's legacy as a box-office star is without question, and he hit a new major milestone last year, when Top Gun: Maverick became his first film to bring in over a billion dollars, bringing his career total box office to over $10 billion.

"You know, it was important last summer because of what we went through in [COVID shutdowns]," he noted. "For me, I love movies on the big screen and we have, you know, our families, how it spreads out to the other platforms, I understand that, but the way that I make movies, what I love about films is -- and I've always been someone who's promoted the big screen experience -- I make movies for audiences and to see how much they enjoyed it."

"To see [Maverick] open up the way it did, it meant a lot to me in so many ways," Cruise continued. "I mean, for me, when we're in Cannes, I was looking at all of [the cast]. I was like, I want you to have this experience. I wanted them to have that kind of experience, that we all worked hard and we all created this together. It was very special."

And, no surprise, he's not planning to slow down anytime soon. While Cruise and Mission: Impossible writer-director Christopher McQuarrie still have some work to do on Dead Reckoning Part Two --  due out in June 2024 and set to be Cruise's final bow as Ethan Hunt -- the actor said they're already planning for what comes next.

"A few days ago, I turned to McQ like, you know, we've got to start thinking about what we're gonna do next summer when we're done with this," he shared with a laugh. "This is what I do, I make movies... I absolutely love it."

Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One is in theaters July 12.