Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt live and die, again and again, as time-traveling soldiers.
Normally when Tom Cruise dies in a movie, it’s a very big deal.
But in Edge of Tomorrow, Cruise’s character dies again and again and again. #LiveDieRepeat is even the Twitter hashtag for the film, directed by Doug Liman.
“It’s storytelling. You’re going to get the audience used to the experience of it,” says Cruise. “And then you get to have them laugh with it.”
It’s not all laughs in the time-traveling sci-fi adventure due out June 6, 2014 (with a trailer dropping online Wednesday). In the not-distant future killer aliens start a sustained, seemingly unbeatable invasion of Earth.
Novice fighter William Cage (Cruise) is thrown into a major alien assault, before finding himself in a time loop that forces him to live out the same ill-fated, brutal combat over and over.
But with each battle, Cage gains increasing skill alongside his comrade, Special Forces warrior Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt).
Blunt, 30, the British actress who starred in 2006’s The Devil Wears Prada and as Queen Victoria in 2009’s The Young Victoria, says her role is a dramatic change.
“I’ve discarded the bonnet and corset for an exosuit and a huge sword, it seems,” says Blunt. “I was looking for something very different from anything I have done before. This was definitely that.”
Blunt trained six days a week for three months to get herself into alien-battling shape, focusing on everything from weights to sprints to yoga, aerial wire work and gymnastics.
“I even learned Krav Maga, a lethal martial arts using pretty much everything including your teeth to destroy,” says Blunt. “That was pretty fun.”
The action veteran Cruise says he wanted to play alongside the “natural athlete” Blunt after seeing her perform as a ballet dancer in The Adjustment Bureau. He was not disappointed.
“She showed up and that girl was ready to roll, she was so fit,” says Cruise. “She is a badass and she totally crushes it here.”
Even Cruise needed to train extensively to deal with the visually impressive metal exosuit that allowed for full movement but weighed 85 pounds on average.
“One of the suits with the angel wings had a sniper rifle and missile launcher on my back and weighed about 130 pounds. I’m having to sprint in it,” says Cruise, who helped develop the suits. “It’s physically grueling.”
In early days, the suit took as much as 20 minutes to even get into before the film team fine-tuned the design (“in the end we timed it and to get me into the suit took 30 seconds,” says Cruise). And actors even had specially made rigs on set to take the weight off their shoulders between takes.
Despite the physical demands, the futuristic apparel was striking enough to set the fights and stunts around “what worked and what looked cool with the suits,” says Cruise.
The 51-year-old actor, whose last film Oblivion was set in Earth’s future, insists he didn’t mean to go on a sci-fi action bender.
“Look, I make all different kinds of movies,” he says. “When Doug (Liman) came to me and said what the story was and the design, I thought, ‘This is going to be cool. It’s going to be very different than anything I’ve done before.'”
Blunt, who is married to actor John Krasinski and is now seven months pregnant, says the effort has made her want to return to action films in the future — with one caveat.
“I just don’t know if I want to be wearing the exosuit again,” she says. “I think I’d like to try one metal-free to see what that would be like.”