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…

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Contents -

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.

fly­ing high

“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!”

Ac­tion Man

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.

You can wear any colour you want, as long as it’s black.

He couldn’t shake the feel­ing he was be­ing watched.

Tak­ing in the sights.

Alec Bald­win re­ally wasn’t a fan of the Star Trek re­boot.

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.

Ving Rhames is back as hacker Luther Stick­ell.

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