Tom Cruise Choppers in for Another Day Filming 'Mission: Impossible 8'
Tom Cruise Choppers in for Another Day Filming 'Mission: Impossible 8'. All Photos © Gillian Leigh Soames / SNWS

Hollywood star Tom Cruise is helping put South Africa’s Hoedspruit on the map! And delighting locals with his friendly demeanour as he choppers in daily for filming on ‘Mission: Impossible 8’, due for release in 2024. Gillian Leigh Soames, who resides at the spectacular Hoedspruit Wild Life Reserve, has a front row view of the spectacle that’s captured the attention of SA and the world. The award-winning actor’s helipad is right next to her home.

Tom Cruise South Africa Hoedspruit
All Photos © Gillian Leigh Soames / SNWS
Tom Cruise Choppers in for Another Day Filming 'Mission: Impossible 8'
All Photos © Gillian Leigh Soames / SNWS
Tom Cruise Choppers in for Another Day Filming 'Mission: Impossible 8'
All Photos © Gillian Leigh Soames / SNWS
Tom Cruise Choppers in for Another Day Filming 'Mission: Impossible 8'
All Photos © Gillian Leigh Soames / SNWS
Tom Cruise Choppers in for Another Day Filming 'Mission: Impossible 8'
All Photos © Gillian Leigh Soames / SNWS
Tom Cruise South Africa Hoedspruit
All Photos © Gillian Leigh Soames / SNWS

After capturing these fabulous photos of Tom, Gillian said yesterday: “Thank you, Mr. Tom Cruise. It was an honour and you were absolutely delightful ♥️???”

Tom Cruise South Africa Hoedspruit
All Photos © Gillian Leigh Soames / SNWS

Mr Cruise (who remains one of the highest paid actors in the world) not only waved at Gillian personally, but also grinned. Perhaps because he recognised her from the first day when his helicopter hovered just 40 metres above her deck, and she – for a joke – flashed him! (The chopper flashed back its lights!)

Tom Cruise South Africa Hoedspruit
Is this the moment Tom recognises Gillian from that first day when she flashed?! All Photos © Gillian Leigh Soames / SNWS
Tom Cruise South Africa Hoedspruit
All Photos © Gillian Leigh Soames / SNWS
Tom Cruise Choppers in for Another Day Filming 'Mission: Impossible 8'
Tom (left) is piloting the chopper himself. All Photos © Gillian Leigh Soames / SNWS

Gillian – whose leopard and wildlife photos are legendary – does point out though that she’s a fan, and not a fanatic! Several of her friends haven’t held back though in praising Tom for “looking sooooo hot” and still “having a hot bod for a Ballie”. Tom turns 60 in July.


Tom Cruise Choppers in for Another Day Filming 'Mission: Impossible 8'
“Hot bod for a ballie” says one of Gillian’s friends. All Photos © Gillian Leigh Soames / SNWS

Gillian also noticed that he appears to have a dog with him.

Tom Cruise Choppers in for Another Day Filming 'Mission: Impossible 8'
Gillian Leigh Soames – “He has a doggie ?”. All Photos © Gillian Leigh Soames / SNWS

The filming of Mission: Impossible 8 has spawned several memes with classic South African humour… claiming the movie will be about Tom trying to renew his driver’s license, charge his phone and accomplish other close-to-impossible missions in SA!

South Africans are sharing Tom Cruise M:I8 jokes. Photo: iStockPhoto
South Africans are sharing Tom Cruise M:I8 jokes. Photo: iStockPhoto

Gillian says Tom and the crew are expected to be in Hoedspruit (Limpopo) for two months where they’ll apparently be filming Mission: Impossible 8 over the Blyde River Canyon which is only an hour away, in Mpumalanga.

Blyde River Canyon. Photo: Tracy Fraser
Gillian says it’s a great time to be filming at Blyde River Canyon. “It’s perfect right now as it is SOOO lush and green and all the waterfalls are flowing,” she says. Photo: Tracy Fraser

“As I sit here, he is living exactly 2.4kms from my house!” says Gillian.

After Hoedspruit, filming is expected to move to KwaZulu-Natal and Cape Town.

Follow @GillianSoamesLeopardQueen on Instagram! Or on Facebook.

PLEASE NOTE: These are copyright photos and may not be edited or copied without express permission. All Photos © Gillian Leigh Soames / SNWS

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Filmed by Gillian Leigh Soames