Tom Cruise can’t do anything halfway. That’s no secret, since he’s dangled from the world’s tallest building (the Burj Khalifa in Dubai) for the sake of cinema, and it seems to barely faze him when he’s hanging off a helicopter. The guy casually perches atop speeding trains and waves to fans like it’s no big thing, so it’s no surprise that Jake Johnson felt intimidated at the thought of joining 2017’s The Mummy and attempting to keep up with the Top Gun: Maverick star. As Johnson recently told The Daily Beast (for its The Last Laugh podcast), he knew that he’d be in for a world of aching muscles and more because of the way Cruise works.
Back when the reboot surfaced in theaters, Johnson intially told The Hollywood Reporter that he was so thrilled “as a kid who was raised in the ‘80s, the idea of doing an action-adventure with Tom Cruise was so great, I was like, ‘Sign me up!'” At the time, Johnson added, “I’ve read all the press about him, he’s legendary with how he does action, he’s becoming a bigger-than-life character. I just wanted to do scenes with him.” Yet things can get a little looser on a podcast than they can during a press junket, soooo yeah. Jake’s clarified take came out to The Last Laugh (via The Independent and THR):
“The reason I was hesitant on The Mummy is Tom Cruise is an intimidating figure… especially because I had to do action sequences with him. I was like, ‘Look, I’ll do action sequences with an actor who likes stunt doubles.’ That’s not him.”
Not only that, but here’s how “intense” Tom gets during these scenes: Johnson has now described how he “landed on my back and told him that something went wrong because I got hurt” after they did a collapsed-building stunt:
“And he said, ‘Injured or hurt?’ I said, ‘What’s the difference?’ And he goes, ‘Can you go again or is something broken?’ And I was like, ‘No, I mean, I can go again.’ Then he goes, ‘So you’re hurt. Of course you’re hurt. You fell off a three-story building.'”
“And I thought, he’s not faking it. When you see him on a horse and he gets thrown off and he tucks and rolls, his back is bruised. When he’s holding onto a side of the plane and it takes off and that wind is hitting his face and it looks like it’s ripping his skin open because it’s ripping his skin open.”
Yikes. I would definitely leave that wild-man act to Tom if placed into that position (which obviously isn’t happening), and it sounds rather miraculous that The Mummy stunts went well despite what sounds like a very clear danger. To each his own, and thank goodness that Jake Johnson made it through those stunts to tell the tale. Listen to more of The Daily Beast’s podcast episode (in which Johnson suggests that he wasn’t at all surprised at Tom’s COVID-protocol rant because “Yeah, he’s an intense guy”) here.