Pathaan’s action director, who worked on Mission: Impossible, says SRK and Cruise have similar drive to entertain fans
Pathaan (right) A still from Mission: Impossible Fallout
Shah Rukh Khan’s fans will tell you that seeing their cine idol back on the big screen after four years was the high point of Pathaan. But one can’t deny that the action set-pieces played a big role in making the Deepika Padukone and John Abraham-starrer a visual spectacle. Emmy Award-nominated Casey O’Neill was the mind behind the action stunts, be it Khan and Abraham’s combat scene atop a moving vehicle, or their chase sequence on the frozen Lake Baikal in Siberia.
O’Neill has frequently collaborated with Tom Cruise, designing his stunts in Jack Reacher (2012), the Mission Impossible franchise, and Top Gun: Maverick (2022). The action director finds similarities between the Hollywood superstar and Khan, beginning with their dedication to their craft. He shares, “Tom Cruise is a fearless actor who wants to push the envelope when it comes to his body and cinema. SRK is the same. He has unlearnt and learnt action to make Pathaan an entertainer. Both are committed lovers of cinema who will do whatever it takes to make the audience happy.”
O’Neill observes that Khan is an “exceptional athlete”, which helped him pick up the stunts easily. He states, “After Tom Cruise, it was a pleasure working with another global movie star, and seeing him transform into an action [hero].”