mission: i mpossible 5
Mission: Impossible – Rogue nation sends ethan hunt into the stratosphere in his Most action- filled adventure yet. the producers tell Jayne nelson how they’ve upped the ante yet again…
What is possible is that this sequel will thrill.
WhAT’s nd Tom cruise going to do this time?” There’s a good chance that this was the first thing that crossed your mind upon hearing that a new Mission: Impossible film was on the way. This is a franchise famous for its huge, jawdropping stunts, after all, and when it comes to sheer wow- factor, it’s hard to beat the image of Cruise scaling the exterior of Dubai’s Burj Khalifa skyscraper in 2011’ s Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. When you’ve already dangled your leading man 154 storeys above the ground and given everybody watching a sickening bout of vertigo, where on earth do you go next? You leave the earth entirely, of course, propelling your leading man into the air clinging to the side of a plane.
“The Burj sequence is obviously the most talked- about spectacle that Tom did in Ghost Protocol, and now you’re making the next movie, you think: ‘ What are we gonna do to top that?’” laughs producer Don Granger. “But then [ co- writer/ director] Chris Mcquarrie came up with an idea: ‘ Well, what if a plane took off and ethan hunt was stuck on it, and we shot it for real?’”
We’ve already seen a taster of the spectacular plane sequence in the trailer for Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, which reunites Cruise with cast- mates simon Pegg, Ving rhames and Jeremy renner for the franchise’s fifth outing. Within moments of the trailer’s debut, everybody was talking about the shot – just the reaction the filmmakers were going for, and a reward for all their hard work. And we mean hard. Just finding a plane for Cruise to hug was tricky enough.
“An Airbus A400, a new military transport, was brought to our attention,” says Granger. “We approached them with the idea of using their plane to do this, and they looked at us very sceptically... ‘ You wanna do what with our airplane?’ And the planning that went into this was just mind- boggling. We sat down with engineers, their best pilots and the manufacturer of the door on the wing, figuring out aerodynamically whether this was possible, and one by one the boxes were ticked. I must say, it went incredibly well every time that Tom did it.” Wait. Cruise did this more than once? “I lost count!” nods Granger, as SFX wonders how much sleep was lost by the film’s insurers. “It was supposed to be once, and then
it was again, and then it was again, and then he and Chris looked at the shot and decided to change the lens and go a little bit closer, so we kept doing it. Tom was having a great time!”
only after the sequence was shot, however, did Cruise let on that actually it hadn’t been quite as much fun as he was making out, thanks to the combined perils of the plane’s exhaust fumes and facefuls of dust and debris kicked up from the runway. “That was something that nobody else but Tom would’ve put up with, or put himself through, to get that shot,” says Granger. “But that’s really him!”
As you’ve probably gathered by now, when you talk to anybody involved in this movie the one thing they’re all adamant to get across is that Cruise is the real deal. Check your cynicism at the door, folks: Tom did every single stunt on screen.
“Tom and Chris wanted to do everything practically, everything for real,” explains producer Bryan Burk. “In the driving scenes, even if you can’t see that it’s him, it’s him doing it.”
This sounds like the kind of thing that would give filmmakers grey hairs: one mistake and you’ve lost your leading man. “I think producers are always mildly terrified no matter what’s going on,” agrees Granger, with a chuckle. “every fight has to be incredibly well- choreographed. For example, there’s a scene in the movie where Tom is fighting someone up on a scaffolding in the back of an opera house. We didn’t shoot this two feet off the ground with greenscreen; we shot this 40- 50ft up in the air in the back of an opera house. so one slip of a punch while someone’s off balance – it can put your movie down for a month!”
“Tom has been doing this for years; he’s more confident than the stunt co- ordinators and he really knows what he’s doing,” Burk points out. “But it doesn’t make it any less hair- raising, to know that he’s doing things like that.”
The emphasis on “real” stunts in Rogue Nation is heartening in an era that sees CGI playing a bigger and bigger part in moviemaking. “I love CGI when it’s done well and when it’s used properly,” agrees Burk. “But when you’re watching this movie, you really feel like you’re watching a film; you’re not feeling like it’s all crafted after the fact.”
There’s another bonus to not relying so heavily on CGI, too: it saves time. “We were originally releasing this movie at the end of the year, a week after Star
“tom cruise Was eventually holdin G his breath under Water for six minutes at a time”
Wars,” adds Burk, who’s working on both films. “Then the decision was made to move it up to the middle of the summer. What’s amazing is that we moved the movie up six months earlier than was planned, which, if you had heavy CGI, would be impossible! It’s testament to the fact that it’s all in- camera. There’s obviously visual FX and cleanup, but by no means did this hamper our ability to release the movie early.”
“When you see CGI or digitally enhanced effects used so well, like in Avengers or Jurassic World, they’re wonderful,” says Granger, “but it does mean that when you have someone like Tom, who will do everything practically and for real, it becomes unique. Whereas that used to be the norm.”
on top of his prowess at clinging to planes and driving cars ( there’s one frenetic chase sequence in Rogue Nation that might even make James Bond give up and go home), the filmmakers were also keen to show off Cruise’s lung capacity in a tense underwater scene that contains no cuts.
“We hired a free- diving expert from hawaii and he worked with Tom,” says Burk. “I can hold my breath underwater maybe 30 seconds to a minute on a good day, and Tom was holding it at least five minutes!”
“It eventually got up to six minutes,” confirms Granger. “We wanted to shoot the sequence so you can see Tom Cruise underwater for a rather uncomfortable amount of time…”
however, not all of the action fell on his shoulders. “rebecca Ferguson does all her own stunts as well,” explains Burk, of the swedishborn actress who plays the mysterious assassin Ilsa ( named after Ingrid Bergman’s character in Casablanca – a location actually used in the film). “she was someone who, when we started, was genuinely afraid of heights. By the end, she was on fire! It was unbelievable to watch her transition. I can’t think of anything that she didn’t step up and do herself.”
Don agrees, adding: “There’s that famous line about Ginger rogers: ‘ she had to do everything Fred Astaire did, but backwards and in high heels.’ rebecca was hired to play Ilsa because of her skill as an actress, and we were thrilled to find out was that she is a professional dancer – she teaches – so there was a basic level of balance and athleticism already for her. And she immediately started weapons and fight training. needless to say, she didn’t go to the extremes that we asked Tom to do, with his decades of training! But everything you see her do in the movie, she did.”
And what of simon Pegg, who waves the flag for Britain in the Mission: Impossible films? Will he get a larger role this time out?
“First of all, you should know that that is a fake accent – he’s from encino, California,” Burk jokes. “Actually, he has the biggest role he’s had in the three films; you see a really wide range of him. he’s not only hysterical in the movie, he also has a lot of dramatic turns.”
Spy vs Spy
Rogue Nation contains all the ingredients you’d expect from a Mission: Impossible film, with our beleaguered heroes trying to defend themselves from yet another sinister foe. The main villain is a fond throwback to the original series: a shadowy organisation known as the syndicate, who are equal in size and power to the IMF and are determined to take them down. Burk isn’t willing to divulge any secrets about their role in the plot, but he does say the television show has been homaged. “Chris Mcquarrie is a huge fan of the original series, and when he started developing the script, it was with a mind to have the sort of plot intricacy of the original series. he used the syndicate as inspiration.”
Given that there’s been a resurgence of spy movies this year – including Kingsman, Spy, The Man From UNCLE and SPECTRE – what will make Rogue Nation stand out?
“They’re completely different movies; I think there’s enough room for you to get your fill and see all of them,” says Burk.
“unlike Bourne or Bond, Mission has always been about teams,” muses Granger. “A team of operatives who work together to build these amazing mouse- traps of plot. What we have, I believe, is the perfect mixture of everything that makes an M: I movie great. Wonderful intrigue, a story that’s unexpected, twists and turns, great characters… and some of the most amazing stunts that we’ve managed to pull off.”
Which means there’s only one question left to ask: how are they going to top Tom Cruise on that plane in the next film? Gulp… Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation opens on Thursday 30 July.
Pfffft. Like handcuffs could hold him.
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He couldn’t shake the feeling he was being watched.
Taking in the sights.
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This diving competition wasn’t quite the “beginner” level promised.
Really, is there any phone that displays text at that size?
Don’t get on her bad side.
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