There’s a bit of a trend in movie trailers these days to focus on one moment instead of chopping up the entire movie. The new Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 does this really well, as does The Mummy. The latter spends the most memorable chunk of its trailer showing Tom Cruise hanging out in a cargo plane loaded up with a big, ancient sarcophagus. The plane then begins to crash, sending everyone inside on a zero gravity spiral.
And since this is a Tom Cruise movie, all that action had to be filmed in the most ridiculous way possible: in actual zero gravity.
Slashfilm has a report from The Mummy director Alex Kurtzman about how the sequence was filmed. In short, the plan was to basically do what Christopher Nolan did on Inception and build a giant, rotating set characters can fall aroudn in. Tom Cruise promptly shot down that idea.
“When I brought this up with Tom [Cruise], I said, “Here’s what we’re going to do, we’re going to build the set,” he said, “Yeah, yeah, but we’ve got to do it for real.” I was like, “What do you mean?” He’s like, “We’re going to up in the vomit comet!” and I said, “What?” And he said, “We’re going to go up in the vomit comet. We’re going to go to the vomit comet and we’re going to shoot the whole sequence there too.”
A vomit comet is a plane designed to free fall, giving occupants 20-30 seconds of zero-g at a time, and is a common trick of the Hollywood trade. Plenty of past productions, particularly those that’ll involve spaceships, have sent actors on these zero-g rides to get a feel for what their movements would be like without gravity. It is a lot less common to film action sequences aboard these planes. According to Kurtzman, “We had grips holding lights and puking while the shot was going on.”
Ultimately the sequence will be a mixture of the actual zero-g filming and a more terrestrial set. They couldn’t film the entire thing aboard a vomit comet (the plane door ripping off was probably a deal breaker), but it’s nice to know that Cruise at least fought for some of it to be done that way. After all, what would a Tom Cruise action movie be without at least one ridiculous stunt that went above and beyond the call of duty?
By the way, if you want to take a ride in a vomit comet for yourself, you can do so for the low, low price of a meager $4,950 + 5% tax. Let us know how it is.
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