When it comes to action stars like Tom Cruise and Jackie Chan, the movie-going world is very aware that they go the extra mile when it comes to realism in their work. Instead of taking the option of having doubles perform their most dangerous stunts, they take pride in not only performing the fights, chases, and leaps themselves but pushing set pieces to extreme places. There is a noteworthy history of injuries (like when Cruise smashed his leg during a jump in the making of Mission: Impossible – Fallout), but the trade-off is earning special admiration from audiences around the globe.
Of course, it’s not a mode that every actor gets into – and one performer who is apparently not into the idea in any way, shape, or form is former Doctor Who star David Capaldi.
This week, Capaldi is featured as a guest on the food-centric podcast Off Menu, and it was (weirdly enough) during a discussion of his ideal starter at a “dream restaurant” that he shared his two cents regarding actors performing their own stunts. His choice of dish was fried calamari, though he noted that while he likes the taste, he doesn’t like to be reminded that he is eating squid. This segued into a conversation about Choi Min-sik eating a live octopus in Park Chan-wook’s Oldboy, and Capaldi was asked about the idea of potentially doing something like that for a role. It was then that he explained his objection to the Tom Cruise School of Performing:
Clearly Peter Capaldi has no intention of offending anyone with this sentiment, but that’s a boldly stated perspective that definitely runs against public opinion. That being said, one can appreciate his angle (even if it does ignore the extra thrill audiences get out of seeing Tom Cruise hold on for dear life to the side of a plane as it takes off). At its root, acting is an art of playing pretend, and the Thick Of It star simply doesn’t draw a line between portraying an imaginary person, faking something gross, or having a double perform a dangerous stunt. In his view, the stories and characters aren’t real, so why should he be opting to climb the exterior of the world’s tallest building or do on-camera skydiving?
Following up the mini-rant, Capaldi noted that he does have a level of appreciation for the extra efforts that Tom Cruise makes, but he ultimately returned to his original argument:
It seems that we can probably count out the idea of Peter Capaldi ever teaming up with 87Eleven for his own John Wick-style franchise. And that’s totally fine. Fans can still enjoy his excellent work on shows like Doctor Who (which is now available to stream with a Disney+ subscription), and they can also anticipate the next big mystery stunt we’ll see Tom Cruise perform when Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part 2 arrives in theaters next year.