While 2018 has seen some incredible movies, I’d argue one of the top films is writer-director Christopher McQuarrie’s Mission: Impossible – Fallout. Not only does the film feature some of the most incredible action set pieces I’ve ever seen, the movie shows off unbelievable work from every department, an incredible score by Lorne Balfe, and a script that keeps you on the edge of your seat until the final frame. It’s one of those rare films where everything just works.
As most of you know, Collider has a long-running screening series with IMAX and we recently screened Mission: Impossible – Fallout for some of our lucky readers. After the screening ended, I sat down with McQuarrie for an almost 90-minute conversation where we went in-depth on a myriad of subjects. Since the interview ended up being over 15,000 words, I decided to break it up into two parts.
In today’s installment, McQuarrie starts off by answering some fun questions like what TV show he’d like to direct, what film scared him as a kid, if he collects anything, which films he’s watched dozens of times, what got him into the entertainment industry, and more. He then talks about working with Tom Cruise, the incredible box office on Fallout, if the Mission: Impossible series could ever go to space, if he’s going to come back for Mission: Impossible 7, deleted scenes, future projects, why he can’t get certain projects made even after his recent success, why a break in filming helps the production, the jaw-dropping bathroom fight scene, and a lot more.
Check out what Christopher McQuarrie had to say below and look for part two soon.
Mission: Impossible – Fallout stars Tom Cruise, Henry Cavill, Angela Bassett, Rebecca Ferguson, Michelle Monaghan, Ving Rhames, Vanessa Kirby, Sean Harris, Alec Baldwin, Wes Bentley, Liang Yang, and Frederick Schmidt.
Collider: I say this with all sincerity, Fallout is easily one of the best films of the year, and the action is just absolutely stunning. Does Tom ever say no?
CHRISTOPHER MCQUARRIE: No. Here’s what Tom says, he says “Booooo.” Pitch him something, he’ll say, “Booo. Boring,” there’s no bones about it. But no, he never says no.
Now, does the studio, or insurance companies, ever say no?
MCQUARRIE: No. The studio winces. I’ve never personally heard from the insurance company, that’s Jake Myers’ job, the producer. Extraordinary producer Jake Myers, who produced not only this, but also Rogue Nation. He produced the the the last few Chris Nolan films, came in on The Revenant. He’s an incredible, incredible producer, who manages to wrangle all those people so I don’t have to.
I have a million questions, and normally I save some of the fun questions for the end, but I’m gonna mix it up with you, and do some of the fun questions at the beginning.
MCQUARRIE: Let’s do that.
This has nothing to do with your movie, so I’m just gonna start with that. What TV show would you love to guest write and direct?
MCQUARRIE: Ozark. Excellent, excellent show. Has anybody here not seen Ozark? You’re doing yourself a horrible disservice. Go home, now in the middle of my sentence, and begin binging on Ozark. It’s excellent. Jason Bateman’s direction is incredible. His performance is amazing. Laura Linney, everybody on that show is great. Love that show.
Haven’t seen season two yet, personally.
MCQUARRIE: Like I said. I will handle it from here, just go. Go.
Do you have a favorite sci-fi or fantasy film?
MCQUARRIE: I hate saying the word favorite.
Is there a film that you just absolutely love?
MCQUARRIE: People are asking all the time, “What’s your favorite?” And I’m like, “I’m gonna name a movie and by doing so condemn every other movie.” Like they’re saying, “What’s your favorite film this year?” And it’s like, I have three or four friends who’ve made films this year, which one do I like more than my other friends? So, I will give you like a short list of movies that come to mind, which I think are great. John Carpenter’s The Thing is the top of my list for sci-fi.
You didn’t think the remake was all that?
MCQUARRIE: Didn’t catch it, busy watching Ozark. Other great science fiction films. Them!. You guys ever seen Them!? When I was a little kid, Them! was one of the first horror films I can remember, it also has great sound design, but it’s really well directed. Like Jaws, it’s hiding the monster from you for a lot of the movie. If you’ve never seen Them!, it’s about giant irradiated ants, and it’s absurd, but the performances, and the construction of the film are really great. Let’s see, another great science fiction film.
MCQUARRIE: Or a fantasy. Fantasy. Have you ever seen The Quiet Earth?
I don’t know if I actually have.
MCQUARRIE: Has anybody here ever seen The Quiet Earth? I got ‘em all. I stumped all of you. It’s a New Zealand film, it’s a last man on earth movie. And it’s not—it’s a flawed movie, but it’s got some really interesting stuff in it, really great score. It’s like those are the things that appeal to me, it’s kind of the ones where I go, “Oh, that’s kind of an interesting thing in there.” I’m trying to think of fantasy, like something that really grabs me. Other than kind of the usual stuff. I’ll think of one, it’ll come to me. Horror? Burnt Offerings. Have you ever seen Burnt Offerings, anybody? There’s other better stuff to be doing than listening to me answer questions about this movie. Check out Burnt Offerings. Really effing scary movie when you were seven years old. It might not be scary now, but I was scarred by it.
Speaking of scary movies, what films scared you as a kid?
MCQUARRIE: Burnt Offerings. Burnt Offerings was one I remember what really scared me. Okay, so the scariest ones were … I went to see the original Fun With Dick & Jane at a drive in movie theater in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and the trailer for Race with the Devil came on, and I was so young that my brothers were ordered to cover my eyes, and I could only hear the trailer to Race with the Devil, scariest thing I’ve ever seen in my life. And I remember my brother and I had one of those radios that you could pick up TV, back in the days before cable television, and at night we would listen to TV, ’cause we weren’t allowed to watch it, and the trailer for The Shining came on, and I was lying in the dark, and I could only hear it, it’s that scary music. The other scariest thing I’ve ever seen is the trailer for The Shining, which I could not see. And Jaws fucked me up pretty good. Very effective movie. Oh, and Nightmare on Elm Street.
The first one?
MCQUARRIE: Yeah, the first one, but I saw it in a completely unique situation. I saw it, as many of you did, at a double feature with The Breakfast Club. One of them was a sneak preview, and I can’t remember which, and we went to see The Breakfast Club, and the thing about going to see a horror movie, is there is kind of a contract you have. You’re set to see a horror movie, you’re preparing yourself to go see it, you’ve been anticipating it, and you are, in some way or another, buffered for a horror movie. Now imagine going and watching The Breakfast Club, when you’re 16 years old, it’s right in your wheelhouse, you have a mad crush on the girl next to you, who’s never, ever, ever going to be involved with you, and we’re watching The Breakfast Club, and it ends with Judd Nelson pumping his fist in the air, and it’s great, and then Freddy Krueger comes on.