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Unique Brutality- The Stunts That Never Go Back
"Never Go Back is unique in that it's not primarily a stunt movie; it's a character piece," muses Tom Cruise. "Even so, Reacher as a character has his own very unique brutality."

To bring this very 'unique brutality' to the screen, Zwick and Cruise enlisted Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation's Stunt Coordinator, Wade Eastwood.

When it came to designing the action for this film, Eastwood reveals, "It starts with the director. Ed has a vision and he gave me a sort of scope to work in. I try to find ways to build tension, and most importantly, keep it within the story."

"Wade is a storyteller," commends Zwick. "When you sit down to write a fight scene, you can visualize the beats, but it's a whole different experience when you're on set. Wade and Tom are so experienced and they know what exactly what they're capable of, what they've done before, and what movement they'd like to try. You write these scenes with bodies in space. Like any scene, there's a beginning, middle and end, but instead of telling your story in words and dialogue, you're telling your story in movement, punches and counterpunches."

Though Never Go Back boasts the same stunt coordinator and star as the Mission Impossible series, Zwick makes a clear delineation. "Jack Reacher is less charismatic and much more direct than Ethan Hunt, and our stunts reflect that. There's a showiness inherent to the spy genre that's absent here. What we're going for owes a bit more to character based crime stories of the seventies, like Bullet and The French Connection. Tom's doing some very difficult stunts. He's jumping from a car to a rooftop, climbing a drain pipe, and driving a car that goes down steps, but everything is within the realm of physics."

Zwick continues, "When you see these stunts, you'll really feel it, because this cast is really doing it themselves. Tom, Cobie and Patrick trained together for weeks and weeks before we started filming."

"I'm pretty fortunate to have landed this role," Smulders recalls, "because the first time I met with Ed, I had a broken leg. I hobbled in on crutches and tried to convince him to give me a role in his action movie."

"Cobie was incredibly professional and willing to train in a pretty physically demanding way," says Zwick. "Cobie worked hard to sell the combat, despite her injury. It was important to her to make her character look like a plausible badass, not a damsel in distress."

"I had broken my leg about six weeks previous to starting any of the training, so I was the weakest state I could've been in my entire adult life. Wade and his team basically trained me like they would a boxer. Lots of repetition, just getting specific moves, how to hold yourself, how to connect your body to your hips, and then slowly adding more. The thing that Wade and his team emphasized was always having intent with what you're doing; not just doing the moves because this is how you do it. It was thinking about your character throughout the training, thinking about where you character would be emotionally and mentally while you are training. And that was really helpful." Smulders laughs, "Now, I'm probably in the best shape of my life. It's only downhill from here."

Working with Eastwood drew the envy of other members of the cast. "I had to fight to get a fight scene," McCallany offers. "Colonel Morgan didn't fight anyone in the original script, but I lobbied with Ed and asked Wade if he would be willing to choreograph something for Patrick and me." Zwick and Eastwood agreed. "I'm really happy it worked out, because Wade is always so inventive. I've been beaten up or killed in about forty to fifty movies, but this might be the most memorable."


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