"It was intense," he admitted to PEOPLE Monday at the film's premiere in New York City. "I'm not going to lie."
So what did Cruise's mother say when she saw footage of one of the most over-the-top movie stunts in history?
"The first time I showed her the plane stunt – I had cut footage and we went away for a weekend," he said. "I took it [with me] and she was like, 'Oh, Lordy. Oh, Lord, Tom, is that you? Oh, sweet Jesus! Oh, Lord Tom? Is that you?' "
Laughing, he said, "She knows it's me."
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But with this stunt, he says, "I didn't tell the family beforehand. Like some things I don't tell them about beforehand. When it's done, then I kind of go, 'Okay. Here we go.' "
Joining Cruise at the premiere, which temporarily shut down Times Square, were his costars Jeremy Renner, Rebecca Ferguson, Simon Pegg and Alec Baldwin, as well as director-writer Christopher McQuarrie and producer J.J. Abrams.
Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation opens July 31.
For more on the premiere of Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation , pick up this week's issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday