Interview

Learn the truth behind that incredible 'Mission: Impossible — Fallout' finale

If you picked up a copy of our “Mission: Impossible – Fallout” edition of Moviebill over the weekend, you got a chance to read about Marc Wolff, the aerial coordinator who helped make the film’s incredible high flying climax a reality. With the film now in theaters, we’re going a bit more in-depth to reveal how Wolff’s own personal experiences shaped the “Fallout” finale. If you haven’t already had a chance to see “Fallout” on the big screen, beware of spoilers!

“The key to the series is that, particularly in [Tom Cruise]’ character, he just wants to do everything himself,” explains Wolff, a forty year filmmaking veteran whose credits include three different “Mission: Impossible” entries, half of the films in the “James Bond” franchise and more than a hundred other blockbusters. “It is real. Everything is real and some of it — very little — is slightly enhanced with the use of visual effects, but it’s not created by visual effects. It’s real things. Real aircraft. Real people jumping out of real aircrafts and real people flying.”

Cruise himself worked for nearly two years to hone the necessary piloting skills to pull off the helicopter chase at the end of “Fallout”. One key element of the sequence, however, came together specifically because of Wolff’s own experiences with helicopter collisions.

“They wanted this sequence to take place in a helicopter,” he recalls. “So [Ethan Hunt] has to stop [August Walker] and they were talking about forcing him down from the other helicopter. I said to the director, ‘Why doesn’t he just crash into him? That’ll stop him.’ He said, “How can we do that? He would die.’ I said, ‘Well, personally I’ve survived two bad collisions. I’m a testament to the fact that it can be done.’’

Check out an interactive 360 degree look at one of Tom Cruise’s incredible aerial stunts in “Mission: Impossible – Fallout”:

Filming in New Zealand, “Fallout” made use of experimental helicopters rigged with Panavision DXL cameras. Real vehicles were used for flying with alternate versions designed to simulate the actual crash.

“We didn’t actually crash into him, but we got very close,” Wolff continues. “We simulated that and we remodeled the helicopter and made mock-ups of it so that those two mock-ups crashed together and roll down a mountainside. But it’s still life size and real. It’s not something that’s made in the computer and there’s people inside this helicopter as it rolls down the mountainside. Even though it’s not a flying machine, it looks exactly the same. It’s a mold of the real helicopters, but t’s just made out of plastic and wood instead of aluminum and carbon fiber.”

With the biggest opening weekend of any “Mission: Impossible” film to date and an impressive 97% on Rotten Tomatoes , “Fallout” will likely be remembered for delivering one of the most daring action sequences ever committed to film.

“It’s much of a personal statement,” says Wolff. “This is him risking his life to save millions of people and he’s taken that decision to do that by physically flying into the other aircraft. At the end, after the chase sequence finishes, that’s his last resort and it’s a very personal statement.”

From Paramount Pictures and Skydance Media, “Mission: Impossible — Fallout” is now playing in regular and IMAX theaters.

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