Sneak peek: Tom Cruise wings new 'Mission'

Bryan Alexander
Rebecca Ferguson and Tom Cruise co-star in 'Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation.'

Normal airline passenger boarding isn't good enough for Tom Cruise anymore. Cruise just wings it as he steps back into the role of superspy Ethan Hunt in Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation.

"I've often sat on airplanes, looked out and thought, 'What it would be like out there on the wing?' " says Cruise. "This is the (stuff) I think about."

Being Tom Cruise in the fifth chapter of the high-octane Mission: Impossible franchise (in theaters July 31), the situation only gets more intense. Amazingly, Cruise strapped himself to an Airbus A400 for a stunt that put the Hollywood superstar outside the plane during takeoff and landing.

As the first trailer (to be released Monday) will show, the initial ascent is so steep that Cruise's feet dangle precariously in the air.

"That's me the whole time. I was standing right over the tires when we landed," says Cruise, 52, proudly. "It's nerve-racking for everyone else, but pretty exciting for me."

The rare stunt shows the spectacular bar that Cruise must surpass each time up for the franchise, which has grossed more than $2 billion worldwide. Mission: Impossible and Cruise have produced iconic action images since the series started nearly 20 years ago — from Hunt breaking into CIA headquarters, suspended from the ceiling, in 1996's Mission: Impossible to scaling the Burj Khalifa skyscraper in Dubai for 2011's Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol.

"We knew anything we did was going to be compared with the Burj. But it's not like you could wait for someone to build an even taller building," says director Christopher McQuarrie. "We keep pushing the envelope."

The new flick finds Hunt's highly effective but destructive Impossible Mission Force (IMF) disbanded by vengeful Washington bureaucrats such as the CIA chief (played by Alec Baldwin). But Hunt pulls his team together (Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames and newcomer Rebecca Ferguson) to battle the shadowy force known as "The Syndicate" and its elusive leader (Sean Harris).

Stunts that involved speeding on motorcycles, getting airborne in cars and holding his breath underwater for a lengthy period were executed in Morocco, Vienna and London. So there's little time for rest, even after riding outside an A400 for two days.

"I was pretty exhausted, but there's always more work to be done on a Mission movie," says Cruise. "It always seems like there's not enough hours in the day making them."

The good news is that Jeremy Renner, back left in sunglasses, Tom Cruise, center, and Ving Rhames, back right are back for 'Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation.' The not-so-good news is their Impossible Mission Force has been disbanded by Washington bureaucrats.