Tom Cruise denied access to Svalbard for filming with helicopters because of the polar bears

Svalbard polar bear capital of the world which Tome Cruise wants to exploit
Svalbard polar bear capital of the world which Tome Cruise wants to exploit. Image: MikeB.

Svalbard, Norway, is an Arctic Archipelago. It is said to be the polar bear capital of the world with a polar bear population of 3000 and the human population of 2700.

Tom Cruise is filming the eighth instalment of Mission Impossible. It is called Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part Two.

He wants to use helicopters in the filming. Specifically, he wants permission for 30 helicopter landings.

Kristin Heggelund, head of the environment department of the Norwegian government, has denied helicopter landings. She wants to preserve a virtually untouched environment and added:

“Passage in Svalbard shall take place in a way that does not result in unnecessary disturbance to humans or animals.”

The Norwegian government has also denied the usual subsidies to production companies when filming in Norway because of the worry about disruption to Svalbard’s landscape.

PolarX is the local production company coordinating the shoot. They’ve appealed the decision and, in the past, were successful in obtaining licences to land helicopters in remote parts of these islands during previous projects. The problem, it seems, that this is on a greater scale.

Mark Wolff, a helicopter pilot who has worked with Tom Cruise on previous projects and who has also filmed in Svalbard sees the problem. He said:

“Tom likes to go places in helicopters rather than a skimobile. But it’s something we have to take into consideration. It’s the polar bear capital of the world.”

This is a great problem to Paramount and Tom Cruise because there is a window opportunity in the location during which there is near constant light but the ice from the winter freeze has yet to break up.

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Post Category: Bears