At age 53, Tom Cruise shows no signs of slowing down, still doing his own stunts in the latest instalment of the Mission: Impossible franchise, which he has also been producing since the first film in 1996.

This summer's Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation is written and directed by Oscar-winner Christopher McQuarrie, who also worked with Cruise on Valkyrie, Jack Reacher and Edge of Tomorrow. He brings a more grounded touch to the series, including stunts that feel almost frighteningly realistic.

Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation

"I knew I wanted to have an airplane sequence. I've been thinking about it for a long time," says Cruise. "As a kid I remember flying on an airplane and thinking, 'What would it be like out on the wing?'"

So he and McQuarrie set about to create the scene that opens the film. "The things we had to figure out were the engineering of putting a camera outside the airplane and where I could go outside the airplane to get the images that we had in mind," Cruise explains. "Then it was physically getting the shot, because we wanted to climb at a steep angle so you could see the ground rush away from below me."

More: Read our review of Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation

In the end, they had to shoot the scene eight times. "It was pretty damn exciting and exhilarating," Cruise says. "The adrenaline was flowing! It's the most dangerous thing I've ever done, to be honest."

The film also features a high-speed motorbike chase. "Motorcycle scenes are dangerous because I can't wear pads and I don't wear a helmet," Cruise admits. "I'm going at high speeds and anything can happen. But I'm in control on a motorcycle. I can put the breaks on!"

More: Tom Cruise Lays Down Conditions For 'Top Gun 2'

Another stunt made Cruise much more nervous: a long underwater sequence that starts with a 120-foot leap into a rushing water cauldron. He trained with a freediving record holder for two months before production began, and then the sequence took two weeks to shoot. At one point, he was underwater for six minutes, holding his breath as he acted out the scene in a water-filled chamber with a circling crane inside it.

And he's ready for more. This week, Cruise announced that he's already started work on the sixth episode in the Mission: Impossible franchise, adding, "We'll probably start shooting it next summer."

Watch the trailer for Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation: