Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Doug Liman Explains Tom Cruise's Crazy American Made Airplane Stunt

Tom Cruise is known for doing his own stunts, and the actor's upcoming thriller American Made is no exception. In the film, Cruise will play Barry Seal, an American pilot and drug smuggler recruited by the CIA to help fight against the communist threat in Central America in the 1980s. Director Doug Liman recently revealed in an interview with Yahoo! Movies UK that Cruise is actually flying every plane you see him flying in the film, no matter what type of precarious situation they end up in.

"It can be pretty hair-rising," Liman said. "Flying extremely fast, small airplanes, low to the ground, is a dangerous environment to be in just on its own. Then, in the story, he's throwing bales of cocaine out of the airplane, loading them up with guns, so every once in a while in this scene he's got to climb out of the cockpit and go to the back of the airplane to dump the cocaine out."

Liman said that, during that scene, he was flying alongside Cruise in a helicopter filming the dangerous feat. "That made a big impression on me– there's nobody in the cockpit of the plane," he said. "Tom has gone to the back of the aircraft, and he's alone in that airplane. It's one thing to have Tom Cruise alone in the airplane flying it– that's already outrageous– now he's alone and he's not even in the cockpit so he's gone beyond. It was already a stunt before he left the cockpit, it was already a serious stunt."

Liman was already familiar with Cruise's commitment to his roles, having worked with him on Edge of Tomorrow. This was part of what let him know that the actor was right to lead a story so personal to the director, whose father, Arthur L. Liman, was the chief counsel for the U.S. Senate's investigation into the Iran-Contra Affair, in which Seal played a big role. 

"It's a comedic look at the 'War on Drugs' because at the same time the White House had a 'War on Drugs' they also had a 'War on Communism, and the people willing to fight the communists were the drug lords, and so you had these two branches within Reagan's White House working at total cross-purposes," Liman said of the film. "And you had Barry Seal taking advantage of both, and profiting from both."

Domhnall Gleeson, Sarah Wright, Jayma Mays, Jesse Plemons, Lola Kirk, Frank Licari, Benito Martinez, Alex Quarles, Jed Rees, Caleb Landry Jones, and Connor Trinneer also star in American Made, which was directed by Liman based on a script from Stash House's Gary Spinelli. The movie is set to be released on Sept. 22; while we wait, see all of the movies that will blow you away this summer.