A P.A.-born free diving trainer, Kirk Krack, trained Tom Cruise to hold his breath as part of filming for the summer’s Mission: Impossible-Rogue Nation.
Cruise was required to be able to hold his breath for six minutes as part of an underwater heist sequence.
“He’s an amazing athlete,” Krack said. “He’s dedicated to the process of learning, and regardless of his fame, he was definitely one of the easiest people to work with.”
Krack and Cruise trained for two-and-a-half months, working around Cruise’s busy shooting schedule.
“We started off with academic lessons, learning the safety and psychology of it,” Krack said. “You gotta be comfortable with the process of it. Being stressed will take away from your total time.”
They then worked in dry breath hold sessions before moving on to water hold sessions. As the shoot got closer and closer, Krack dramatically increased the intensity of their training.
The action sequence required Cruise to hold his breath for two minutes, but for safety he had to be able to hold his breath for six.
Krack said it’s a safety precaution.
“You’ve got to be able to do it for 12 hours a day, for 100 takes, to be in the water in a high energy scene with a lot of movement. So you have to train for that.”
Tom Cruise has famously done his own stunts for most of his career.
When the time came for Cruise to shoot his scenes on a soundstage in London, England, Krack was behind the camera mimicking Cruise’s actions.
If Krack began to feel exhausted, then he knew Cruise would be feeling it as well.
Krack grew up in Prince Albert, swimming and boating with family in Waskesiu and Lac La Ronge. He considered himself “a water baby” growing up.
After stints as a life guard and scuba teacher he became a professional free diver in the mid-1990’s. He’s been training free divers since 2000.
Freediving is an advanced form of snorkeling that involves just one breath of air from the surface.
Krack’s record is diving 80 metres unassisted. He’s dived to 105 metres with a self-powered scooter.
Over the years he’s trained seven divers to 23 world records.
“It’s a very energizing, positive thing when you help someone achieve what they first thought was impossible, let alone then doing it. Their lives are changed.”
Krack has worked with several other high-profile actors. He trained both Margot Robbie and Jared Leto for next summer’s superhero film Suicide Squad. He also has an exclusive contract to train Red Bull athletes. Navy SEALS and Canadian Special Operations Forces have also trained with Krack.