Tom Cruise reportedly saved his co-star Elisabeth Shue from being killed by spinning helicopter blades

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Tom Cruise reportedly saved his co-star Elisabeth Shue from being killed by spinning helicopter blades
Tom Cruise loves doing his own stunts.Paramount Pictures
  • Tom Cruise and Elisabeth Shue were shooting a helicopter scene for the 1988 film "Cocktail."
  • During the shoot, Shue walked towards the helicopter's tail rotor, which can kill instantly.
  • Cruise lunged at Shue to stop her from walking into the spinning blades.

A camera operator who worked on the 1988 film "Cocktail" shared a dramatic behind-the-scenes story from the film's set where Tom Cruise saved his co-star Elisabeth Shue's life by stopping her from walking into a spinning helicopter blade.

Bill Bennett, who is now a TV and commercial cinematographer, first shared the story on a private Facebook group dedicated to stories from film and TV sets called Crew Stories, The Sun newspaper reports. In the post, Bennett says that the crew was shooting an aerial scene from a helicopter. And after each take, they would briefly land the helicopter, and Cruise and Shue would approach to watch playback recordings and receive notes from the director.

As the helicopter would only be grounded for a few moments, Bennett said that the pilot would keep the tail rotor at the back of the helicopter running, but it was a no-go area because the blades appear invisible as they spin but "if you walk into it," he said, "it will kill you instantly." But one time after Cruise and Shue watched playback footage of a scene, Shue "took off suddenly, running towards the back of the helicopter."

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"Tom is a pilot, rated in both airplanes and helicopters, and instantly saw the danger. He lunged after her, but only was able to grab her legs, tackling her to the ground," Bennett said. "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?'

Tom Cruise reportedly saved his co-star Elisabeth Shue from being killed by spinning helicopter blades
Elisabeth Shue and Tom Cruise in "Cocktail."Buena Vista Pictures

Bennett continued: "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. All of us in the helicopter were quite shaken up by the close call, but there was nothing to be said. Tom had, in that instant, truly saved her life."

Insider has reached out to representatives for Shue for comment.

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Bennett said that in 1987 when the incident took place, "mandatory safety meetings were not commonly done."

"If it were the current day, there would've been a very formal safety meeting that would take place before the helicopter ever arrived, discussing all the dangers of working around helicopters," he said.

The Sun also reports that this story was spotted by writer Mike Timm, who sent it onto "Mission Impossible" director Christopher McQuarrie who confirmed the story with Cruise.

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This isn't the first time Cruise has saved a life on a film set. Last week, it was reported that the "Top Gun" actor rescued a cameraman who slipped from the carriage of a moving train while filming "Mission: Impossible 7" in the UK.

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