Edge of Tomorrow, the new action film starring Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt, presented an entirely new challenge for the actors: how to fight while wearing an 85 pound metal exoskeleton.

Designed by Pierre Bohanna, one of the minds behind The Dark Knight batsuit, the exoskeletons were built out of 275 custom pieces with 150 pieces of hardware, ensuring the suits could move with the actors. Bohanna revealed that it took him over five months to create the first complete exoskeleton – from the design to the finished product. Once he had established a manufacturing sequence to the suits, the time table sped up considerably, but the manufacturing the nearly 100 exoskeletons made was all done by Bohanna and his team.

Bohanna revealed that he received a lot of inspiration for the look of the suits from military grade exoskeletons, but coming up with materials best suited for the film was a bit more difficult. The materials used had to be decided with much care, as the suits needed to be flexible enough for the actors to move and light enough for them to carry, while still looking realistic.

“These are meant to look like military pieces of hardware, not a refined piece of engineering. They’re brash, quickly-made pieces of equipment. So you’ve got to see the guys struggling in them,” explained Bohanna.

The finished products reportedly have shock absorbers to aide the actors or stunt people and were not tailored to each actor. Instead, every suit was fitted to work for anyone above 5’4” to 6’5”.

What’s more, the suits had to be as safe as possible for stars Blunt and Cruise, who is known for doing his own stunts.

"But it’s a massive worry when you take something like this and put someone like Tom in there. It’s a massive ask for anyone to put up with, let alone somebody that important. But the first time he put it on, it took him about ten minutes of moving around in it and then he fell in love with it. He wanted to put the suit on every day to get used to it,” Bohanna said.

Cruise admitted that he kept asking to have more time to practice moving in the suit, telling People, “I kept saying to the stunt guys, ‘I need to spin around and figure out how to maneuver that suit. The thing weighed anywhere from 85 to 125 lbs. when I had full armor on it.”

Blunt had a bit of a harder time adjusting to her exoskeleton. In an interview with Ellen DeGeneres, Blunt revealed that she cried the first time she stepped into the suit.

Cruise was equally surprised by the weight of the suit when he had his first fitting, but he was quickly told that the suit was as light as it could be without looking too weak.

“When I got it on, there was no way to get it any lighter.” Cruise told Jimmy Kimmel.

After Cruise’s first fitting, he made sure he was there when Blunt tried on her suit for moral support.

Blunt also said that Cruise helped her with the stunts, even giving her an enthusiastic high five after she received her first stunt injury. For his part, Cruise says he was impressed with how Blunt embraced the stunt work.

It’s amazing what she accomplished, obviously with the stunts and the character she created,” Cruise told USA Today.

Emily Blunt in Edge of Tomorrow

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