Cruise, according to Eastwood, "maintains a very strict physical fitness and physiotherapy and preventative stuff for his body so he's always ready for everything." When an element gets added into his repertoire -- say, something like the rope climb or the much ballyhooed HALO jump earlier in the movie -- Eastwood will devise a program that his trainers can institute that will cater to the parts of the body the stunt requires. (For the rope, it was upper body, shoulder, and finger strength -- yes, finger strength!) But all the training could not prep for the freezing cold of the Southern Alps of New Zealand. They did at least a half dozen takes of the rope stunt.
"It was exhausting," Eastwood says. "At a couple of stages we'd have to put the chopper down in the field in the middle of nowhere in the mountains and just shut down and take a rest. And also warm up."
At one point, the crew was rushing to finishing shooting the moment where Ethan dangles from the netting on the helicopter's cargo. They had just done a take -- but one camera didn't quite get the shot. Eastwood signaled to Cruise to see if he was ready to go again. "To me it looked like he said, 'Yes, let's go again,'" Eastwood says. "To him, he was like, 'I'm absolutely bloody freezing, I'm not sure I can hang on for another one.' So we did two back to back. We landed and he was so cold he was shivering, chattering. He was like, 'Wait, what the hell? Couldn't you see my signal?' I was like, 'Yeah, you were saying yes.' He was like, 'No, I was saying no.' We laugh about it now, but at the time he was like, 'You bastard."