This past weekend, Christopher McQuarrie’s Mission: Impossible – Fallout scored a massive box office opening — this franchise’s best to date. McQuarrie has made one of the best action movies of the last few years with a litany of practical effects and stunts, including a couple that has Tom Cruise performing a HALO jump (high altitude skydiving) and another in which Cruise flies a helicopter by himself.
Fallout also marks some changes for the franchise. With McQuarrie returning to direct after directing Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation, it’s the first time a Mission: Impossible movie hasn’t changed directors. Also, it’s the most direct sequel from a previous entry with almost all the major players returning from the previous film, including the villain. And it’s a movie in which we learn the most about its main character, Cruise’s Ethan Hunt, who for so long just kind of existed in these movies as a running, jumping vehicle of “good” who we didn’t know too much about. Well, in Fallout, that changes.
Interestingly, McQuarrie was wary that audiences wouldn’t accept this new approach to Mission: Impossible movies. As he puts it, “In my attempt to grow the brand, I was expecting to lose some people,” which sounds a little like what Rian Johnson encountered with The Last Jedi (which McQuarrie addresses). He also address the increased propensity for online harassment of filmmakers and actors by “fans” who didn’t like how the story went, and what that means going forward.
McQuarrie is one of the smartest and one of the most candid filmmakers working today. He’s always interesting and has a knack for explaining things in pragmatic terms. But he also has a tendency to drift into spoilerish material, so if you haven’t seen Mission: Impossible – Fallout yet, consider yourself warned.
You were a trivia question at bar trivia a couple of months ago.
It was to name the directors of the only franchise with three or more installments that all made over $100 million and all directed by different directors. They’ll have to scrap that one now.
Oh, wow. Well, you know you’ve arrived when you’re a trivia question.
Last time we spoke you said, “Watching Tom Cruise on the side of that A400, I feel sorry for the next director.”
[Laughs] And the joke was on me.
When we spoke I get the impression you knew you might come back.
No, what I knew was that my returning was convenient. It was only at the end when Tom started to talk about it. I said, “I can’t come back.” He said, “Why not?” I said, “Because these are all directed by different directors. That’s the precedent.” And he said, “Precedents are made to be broken.”