Tom Cruise is known for performing his own stunts in his acclaimed Mission: Impossible movie series.

But the look of shock on the A-list star's face during a helicopter flying action scene filmed in Queenstown seems to say it all.

Cruise spent about five weeks in the South Island filming scenes for the sixth film in the franchise, Fallout, due for release on August 2.

Behind-the-scenes footage released by the film's movie studio Paramount Pictures today shows Cruise gasping in awe as he flies around the picturesque region.


To nail those shots, a voiceover in the video says Cruise trained to become a helicopter pilot and worked "around the clock to reach the level of skill the sequence needs".

In the clip, aerial coordinator Marc Wolff says: "Flying a helicopter takes a lot of skill. To put someone like Tom in a situation like this is almost impossible to imagine."

While filming, Cruise acted while also piloting the helicopter and operating a camera.

"You make a mistake, somebody's going to die from it," the voiceover says.

At the time of filming, a photographer told the Herald Cruise had been "in a helicopter since 9 o'clock this morning, just flying around the whole of the Wakatipu".

"He looked happy, definitely curious about the helicopter . . . he's curious about checking out the parts on it, you could see him checking out the rotor blades and the detail of it."

While there were no reports of injuries when the film shot in New Zealand, filming was held up after a stunt went awry in London when Cruise fell short while jumping across a building while rigged to a harness.

The film's other stars include Rebecca Ferguson, Alec Baldwin, Henry Cavill, Angela Bassett, Vanessa Kirby, and Sian Brooke. It is directed by Christopher McQuarrie.