EUFCN Location Award 2023 Finalist: Helsetkopen

Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One,
directed by Christopher McQuarrieshowcased ‘the biggest stunt in cinema history’: a daring motorcycle jump off the towering 1246-meter Helsetkopen mountain in Norway, executed by none other than Tom Cruise himself.

Helsetkopen is among the finalists of the EUFCN Location Award 2023, the annual prize for European filming locations organized by the European Film Commissions Network (EUFCN). The location was submitted by the Norwegian Film Commission.

The monumental production involved hundreds of Norwegian suppliers and professionals and is widely regarded as the biggest production ever filmed on Norwegian soil. “Located within the Sunnmøre Alps, a steep, jagged, and magnificent mountain range, Helsetkopen offered everything we needed,” says Jonas Fylling Christiansen, Supervising Location Manager. “Its dramatic landscape, featuring a flat mountaintop, allowed us to build the ramp necessary to pull off the stunt. Additionally, the mountain provided the necessary altitude and a sheer drop to complete the stunt safely.”

For the motorcycle jump everything from scaffolding, platforms, generators, toilets and concrete elements for securing equipment were transported up to the mountain plateau. “From the 1200-meter mountaintop we experienced rapidly changing weather conditions, including strong winds and heavy snowfall, which affected the ramp,” recalls Jonas Fylling Christiansen. “Setting up the required facilities for the crew on the mountaintop also posed a challenge, but our experience from the previous film on Pulpit Rock, with the same team, provided us with a solid foundation for this production.”

Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One

Norwegian locations, including Åndalsnes, Hellesylt, Helsetkopen, and Trollveggen in the Northwest region, provided the awe-inspiring backdrop for the film. Notably, Rauma Railway, acclaimed as Europe’s most beautiful railway line, played host to a dramatic key sequence within the film.

“My biggest action sequence in this movie was chasing Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) on top of a moving train in Norway,” says Actor Greg Tarzan Davies. “I had never been on a train before and McQ (Cristopher McQuarrie) decided to put me on top of the thing! After you get over the idea of falling off the top of the train, you get a chance to look up and see these massive mountains on either side of you as you blow past them, going fast.”

Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One

“The tourism industry in the county of Møre og Romsdal is delighted that so many film productions take place in the region,” says Helen Siverstøl, Manager press relations, Destination Ålesund & Sunnmøre and Visit Northwest. “This has significant implications for the marketing of the destination. The fact that Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One  was filmed in our region, and Tom Cruise performed the most daring stunt in cinema history, has led to an increased interest in active tours in the region.”

“The local community was incredibly positive and excited, and the local municipality provided tremendous support,” adds Jonas Fylling Christiansen. “The farmer who owns the field where Tom Cruise landed has even erected a sign declaring it ‘Tom Cruise’s Place’!”

The Northwest region of Norway is both visually stunning and perfect for adventurous travellers keen for one-in-a-lifetime experience. Close to Helsetkopen is the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Geirangerfjord, one of the world’s longest and deepest fjords, with steep crystalline rock walls towering 1,400m from the Norwegian Sea and extending 500m below sea level.

UNESCO World Heritage Site of Geirangerfjord

“That the Mission: Impossible franchise has chosen to return to Norway for three films of this scale fills me with immense pride,” says Meghan Beaton, Norwegian Film Commissioner. “We’ve been able to showcase our dramatic landscapes for the most daring cinematic stunts while simultaneously highlighting Norway’s versatility as a filming destination. Working closely with the same team of Norwegian professionals repeatedly is a true testament that they provide world-class production services.”

Renowned filmmaker Christopher McQuarrie reflected on the experience, stating “Norway’s scale and beauty have left an indelible and defining imprint on our film and reminded us that anything is possible.”

The European Film Commissions Network is a non-profit association that supports and promotes the European film industry and culture. It currently represents 100 European film commissions and film institutions from 31 different countries.