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Stunts And Action
The action Spielberg planned for Minority Report encompassed ambitious stunts that harkened back to the director's work on the landmark Indiana Jones films. "For this film, we've gone further with people flying than has been ever put on film before," says stunt coordinator Brian Smrz (Mission: Impossible 2).

Tom Cruise, as he has so often, largely eschewed the use of a stunt double – sometimes to the dismay of his director, who remembers his first encounter with Cruise's stunt work. "I first visited him on the set of Mission: Impossible 2," Spielberg recalls, "where Tom was doing ninety-foot falls on a wire descender rig … without a pad underneath. And I went over to [M:I 2 director] John Woo, and asked, ‘How can you let him do this?' John looked at me and said, ‘I can't stop him.'

"So I made a deal with Tom," Spielberg continues. "I said, ‘You have to let me determine what stunts you can do, and you have to take no for an answer.' But most of the stunts he did himself."

Throughout the film, Anderton is chased by Pre-Crime cops who believe he is going to commit murder. Because they can track his every move, eluding and outrunning them requires courage and ingenuity. One of such sequences played out in a tenement alley that involves not only horizontal movement, but a vertical chase that has Anderton struggling to escape from cops in hover packs. "We've all seen flying in movies," says special effects supervisor Michael Lantieri. "Flying always has a feel like you're hanging from something. In this case, we wanted the hover pack to actually be flying and let the passenger go along for the ride. It goes up, down, drags on the ground, flies inside the tenement building, crashes through the ceiling. It just goes on and on. It's Steven taking it to the Raiders level of action, where you think you're just about to come up for air and there's more above you."

Stunt coordinator Smrz worked closely with McDowell in creating a rig that would allow multiple bodies to be flying in the air in ways that hadn't been seen before. On Hennessy Street, on the Warner Bros. lot in Burbank, the art department and construction crew began work creating a 400 ft.-long, fifty foot-high alley set, complete with real bricks and mortar, to match the physical location in Downtown L.A. "Simultaneously, the grips were building an exoskeleton outer structure thirty feet above our set that was the most incredible flying stunt rig I've ever seen," McDowell says. "For the time it was standing, we had the tallest building in Burbank."

This truss system enabled Smrz to hang pick points from which the stuntmen and actors could fly. "I had 200 cable shivs in the air and a mile and a half of cable that had to be strung just to perform these stunts at various spots in the alley," Smrz describes. "Just to give you an idea of what was going on behind the scenes, it takes two or three people to make one person travel through the air and we had six people in the air at all times. Of course, one of those guys was Tom Cruise. But because we have a history with him, Tom fit into the mix very easily. They're the same group of guys from Tom's last two films so he trusts us and was comfortable on the wires from beginning to end.

"We have a great team," Cruise adds. "They know physically what I'm capable of, and just go in and set it up. They're tricky, but they're really enjoyable. Brian always put safety first, so it's exciting but safe."

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