‘American Made’ Director Says On-Set Injury Won’t Slow Tom Cruise Down

Kim Taylor-Foster

Tom Cruise has been making headlines recently because of the injury he sustained on the set of Mission: Impossible 6. The star, whose latest film American Made is about to hit screens, was taking part in a stunt that went wrong. The accident saw him limp away with a broken ankle.

It comes amid reports of other on-set incidents on various productions. A stuntman on The Walking Dead was killed in July while rehearsing a fight scene, while a stuntwoman working on Deadpool 2 was killed during the shooting of a stunt scene.

American Made has come under scrutiny for the death of two stunt pilots in an accident which occurred away from the making of the movie.

In the film, Tom Cruise plays Barry Seal, a pilot working for the CIA while drug running for Pablo Escobar at the same time. And – as per usual – the actor carried out all his own stunts. Director Doug Liman admits that this was one of the reasons he was attracted to the film. But is Hollywood going too far in trying to capture increasingly realistic stunt scenes that they’re now putting people’s lives at risk?

“I think that making movies is dangerous,” Liman tells FANDOM. “We’re not sitting in offices, we’re working with big, heavy equipment. I think everybody is very aware of it, I think safety is talked about all the time. Certainly in American Made, there wasn’t a conversation that took place about any stunt that didn’t start with safety and… you know, actors and stunt people like Tom Cruise, they’re like professional athletes and they do get injured. But they also recover. Not the way you or I recover. Their muscles don’t atrophy, they’re in the gym training all while they’re recovering – and they recover faster than we do. I don’t see this slowing Tom Cruise down at all.”

Tom Cruise as Barry Seal

When Liman says Cruise did all his own stunts in the film, he really means all – including those involving an airplane.

“I could do car chases with an airplane that no one’s ever done before and [my thinking was that] if I cast Tom Cruise, my star can actually be flying the airplane and we would do it for real,” says Liman. “Which is what we did. There’s no flying double for Tom, he’s doing all his own flying. There’s no CG airplanes, it’s all real and that really attracted me to making the film.”

Cruise led a fire evacuation on the set of ‘Edge of Tomorrow’

Liman has worked with Cruise before on his science-fiction time-bender Edge of Tomorrow, and says that despite his daredevil nature, the movie star was the one leading the safety charge.

“I’ve never seen Tom have a near miss. I don’t think he’s ever had a near miss,” says Liman. “Things can happen, you can get injured, you can twist your ankle running, but he’s so precise about his preparations for his stunts.”

“When we were shooting Edge of Tomorrow, we went onto the set the first day and Tom literally said: ‘What’s the fire evacuation plan for this set?’ because it was a contained sort of ship with all these people strapped in. You know, I wasn’t thinking that. And suddenly everything stopped for us to do a practice fire evacuation from the set. And that’s just the way Tom thinks.”

American Made hits screens in the U.K. on August 25 and in the U.S. on September 29.

Kim Taylor-Foster
Kim Taylor-Foster is Entertainment Editor for Fandom in the UK. She was raised on an unsteady diet of video nasties and violent action flicks.