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Tom Cruise, Jude Law compare on-set underwater breath-holding stories

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In a battle over who could hold his breath the longest, even Jude Law admits Tom Cruise beats all. 

This week’s episode of The Graham Norton Show pitted the two actors against one another in a friendly on-set stunt comparison. Cruise, who reportedly trained to hold his breath for six and a half minutes underwater in Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation, shared the process of filming the extreme stunt. “You get rid of the regulator, get rid of the bubbles, get on the side and we wanted to do it one shot, so they were very, very long shots,” said Cruise. “I’d have to hold it consistently, you know safely, up to four minutes almost for every take.”

Despite hours of training and even learning to slow his heart rate down, Cruise explained performing the actual stunt was “not pleasant.” “I trained for a long time to the point that when I finished the sequence, there’d be times I’d be sitting there talking in meetings and I wouldn’t breathe,” he said. “I realized I am not breathing and I had to turn my autonomic system back on to breathe again.”

“That’s bad. That’s bad!” Norton quickly interjected, before passing the focus to Law’s recent underwater stunt.

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During filming for the HBO series The Young Pope, Law had to hold his breath underwater in an opening shot. “It was only 40 seconds,” joked Law, admitting defeat over the stark difference in time from Cruise’s story. “It was no six and a half minutes, thank you.” Cruise tried to jump in to support his fellow actor, asking how the training was for it. “I didn’t actually because it really isn’t that long,” said Law. He then described the scene in which his character is praying at the bottom of a pool, with the camera beginning behind him and slowly moving his body around to end on a shot of his face. “Learning that kind of stuff is honestly, I think — no six and a half minutes — it’s a perk. You learn to do these weird things and wonderful things, and they challenge you,” said Law. 

Watch the clip above.