When it comes to stunts and the Mission: Impossible franchise, the motto is “go big or go home.” The ante was upped considerably in Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, which saw Tom Cruise literally hang from the tallest building in the world. Somehow, Cruise and writer/director Christopher McQuarrie topped that in Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation by hanging Cruise outside of a plane while it took off from the runway. Again, insane. So what in the world do they have planned for Mission: Impossible 6, which McQuarrie is again writing and directing? Apparently the biggest stunt Cruise has ever done in his career.
Collider’s Steve Weintraub recently spoke with Skydance Media CEO David Ellison at SXSW for the premiere of the upcoming sci-fi thriller Life, and during their interview Ellison also offered an update on Mission: Impossible 6, which he’s producing. He revealed that filming on the sequel begins on April 10th and will be shooting in Paris, London, and New Zealand, and when asked what kind of stunt they have planned as the centerpiece this time around, Ellison said Cruise has already been training since Rogue Nation came out:
“We’re thrilled. Chris is back, obviously, writing and directing after Rogue Nation. We could not be more excited about the character Henry Cavill’s going to play. And I will say after the Burj [Khalifa] we thought it was going to be impossible to top that stunt, and then Tom did the A400M for the plane. What Tom is doing in this movie I believe will top anything that’s come before. It is absolutely unbelievable—he’s been training for a year. It is going to be, I believe, the most impressive and unbelievable thing that Tom Cruise has done in a movie, and he has been working on it since right after Rogue Nation came out. It’s gonna be mind-blowing.”
Cavill’s casting was already exciting given the spy/comedic chops he showed in The Man from U.N.C.L.E. but Ellison’s comments here are even more encouraging. And as for that new sequence, the fact that Cruise has already been training for a year is ridiculous. Ellison went on to explain Cruise’s philosophy behind doing so many practical stunts himself:
“It all comes from the best place. It is all about entertaining an audience. Tom’s entire mantra for hanging on the side of the Burj Khalifa or the A380 or literally holding your breath for six minutes underwater to do the Taurus sequence is, in a world of massive [visual] effects, he said the audience can tell when it’s you on a green screen or when you’re actually doing it live. And the tension, because the stunt is real, actually puts the audience where Ethan Hunt is where they are in the movie. He said that’s why he does it; it’s all about entertaining an audience and it makes the movie better.”
Rogue Nation shook up the franchise formula by putting the film’s biggest set piece at the beginning of the movie, and while Ellison couldn’t say where this Mission: Impossible 6 sequence would come into play, he did says there was debate over where to put the Burj Khalifa sequence in Ghost Protocol:
“I cannot say for M:I 6, but on Rogue Nation it was a conversation that was ongoing about whether or not it was in the opening or the middle of the movie. Obviously in Ghost Protocol there was a lot of conversation about should the Burj be at the end of the movie? Because it was obviously the biggest stunt in the film, and it really was just story drives everything. That’s the amazing thing about working with somebody who’s talented as Chris McQuarrie, who is a brilliant, brilliant screenwriter as well as a director, is story drives every single decision.”
Ellison said the production schedule for Mission: Impossible 6 will be similar to the other movies—90-100 days, filming in three countries—so it’ll be interesting to see if news breaks of this sequence during filming or if they’re able to keep it under wraps. Either way, it sounds like we’re in for a treat when the sequel hits theaters on July 27, 2018.
Update: Writer/director Christopher McQuarrie responded to Ellison’s comments with the following statement. We’ve updated the story to reflect the correct verbiage:
To be clear: it’s a SEQUENCE Cruise has spent a year training for. Not a stunt.
The stunts are a hobby.
— ChristopherMcQuarrie (@chrismcquarrie) March 20, 2017