How Tom Cruise saved Elisabeth Shue's life
The behind-the-scenes story has been shared by a camera operator from the 1988 film Cocktail, claiming that Tom Cruise prevented a freak accident while in his mid-twenties.
According to Bill Bennett, Cruise tackled co-star Elisabeth Shue to the ground, saving her moments before she was about to walk into a “deadly” spinning helicopter blade.
Though the incident happened 33 years ago, details of the story were revealed when the aerial camera operator shared it in a Facebook group called Crew Stories.
According to The Sun, Cruise confirmed the details as true.
Now a top TV and commercial cinematographer, Bennett said the crew were “shaken up” by the “close call” as he explained how dangerous the situation actually was.
“I witnessed Tom Cruise save Elisabeth Shue’s life, for real,” he said.
“We were filming the scene from a helicopter, where Tom and Elisabeth are riding horses along the beach. We were shooting film, but I had a video recorder in the helicopter to record the camera’s video tap images.
“After a couple takes, the pilot would land the helicopter on the beach, and Tom and Elisabeth would come over to watch the shot recordings and get notes from the director. The only monitor was at my operating position in the left front seat of the helicopter.”
In his recount of the event, Bennett explained they only intended to land for a few minutes so the pilot would leave the engine running and the blades still turning
“It was also quite loud, and you had to shout to be heard over the noise of the engine,” he added.
“You have to know, when you are working around helicopters, that the area at the back of the helicopter, where the tail rotor is spinning is deadly.
“The rotor is invisible when it is spinning, and if you walk into it, it will kill you instantly. It is a totally ‘no go’ area when working around helicopters.
“So, after we landed for the second or third time, Tom and Elisabeth came over, I opened the side door of the helicopter and they leaned in to watch the shot on the monitor.
“The director gave them a couple notes, and Elisabeth, getting quite excited, took off suddenly, running towards the back of the helicopter.”
Since Bennett was strapped in a harness, he explained that he could not reach out after her and instead leaned over and screamed “stop”.
Though his screams were drowned out by the helicopter noise, it was “just at that same moment that Tom saw where Elisabeth was going”, he said.
“He lunged after her, but was only able to grab her legs, tackling her to the ground.
“He rolled her over, dragging her at the same time, and you could see the momentary anger on her face while she was yelling ‘Why did you do that?’
“But by that time he is pointing at the tail rotor which is now a couple feet away, screaming at her that she almost died.
“At that point she turned white, and he pulled her back towards the front of the helicopter and they walked away.”
Though everyone in the helicopter was “quite shaken by the close call”, Bennett knew that Cruise had, “in that instant, truly saved her life.”
The incident occurred in 1987, meaning that “mandatory safety meetings were not commonly done”.
With the post gaining traction on social media, writer Mike Timm passed it onto Mission Impossible director Christopher McQuarrie - who is currently working with Cruise on the seventh instalment.
According to The Sun, Timm told Bennett, “[McQuarrie] loved the story and, of course, Tom confirmed it.”View this post on Instagram