Exclusive: Christopher McQuarrie on the ‘Fallout’ Score, Action Sequences, Superhero Movies and More

     October 12, 2018

mission-impossible-6-tom-cruise-henry-cavill-christopher-mcquarrie-sliceWhile 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 talks about whether he would helm a Man of Steel sequel with Henry Cavill, Green Lantern, the superhero genre, if he thinks an Edge of Tomorrow sequel ever gets made, why he didn’t include any music in the car chase, the challenges of filming the helicopter chase, and more. In addition, a number of the fans in attendance were able to ask questions that included his work on The Mummy, why Jeremy Renner wasn’t in Fallout, filming in IMAX, some of the scenes from the trailer that weren’t in the finished film, Lorne Balfe’s music, the chances of a Rebecca Ferguson spinoff movie, his thoughts on what’s happening on TV and streaming services, future projects, and literally so many other subjects it would be impossible to list them all here.


Image via Paramount Pictures

Check out what Christopher McQuarrie had to say below and here’s part one if you missed it..

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.

What kind of movie would you like to do with Henry Cavill in the future, and can it be called Man of Steel 2? I can’t be the only one to have asked this.

MCQUARRIE: You have not. Many, many people have asked, many, many, many times. I had an awesome conversation with Henry Cavill about an awesome version of Superman while we were on set. You’re sitting around of hours, waiting for stuff to be built so I can put Henry in it, and throw him off a cliff, or freeze him to death. And we talked about a really awesome version of Superman, and it wouldn’t— now, I’ll address the other one, which is Green Lantern. Every couple of months it’s “Tom Cruise is in Green Lantern, which means McQuarrie must be directing,” or “McQuarrie is directing Green Lantern, which means Tom Cruise must be in it.” I had a conversation with the previous regime about Green Lantern. I’m not a comic book guy. I’m a story guy. So I don’t care if it’s Superman, or Green Lantern, or some superhero you’ve never heard of, to me it always comes down to, is there a good story? And can we make a good movie out of it? I don’t really have that kind of… that comic book fan, thing. Which, I think, and I’ll get myself into trouble, I think that’s one of the things that’s kind of crippling those movies, is everybody’s got these moments in a comic book that they want to see put into a movie. That’s not always necessarily the most cinematic thing, or the movie has to jump through hoops to get it. And I watched as other franchise movies try really hard to keep stuff that’s canon, and strangles the movie to death, and I’ve been in meetings where I’m like, “Can we just move this?” “No, no, no, don’t move that! Don’t! Seven people saw that in a comic book ten years ago! It’s established! It’s canon!” And I was like, “But the movie sucks. Can we just do it?” “No you can’t!”

That’s kind of the world that it’s in, and when I came in on Green Lantern I was like, “Here’s how I would do Green Lantern,” and they were like, “Ah, but you know,” and I said, “Well, that’s what I would do,” and they said, “Well, will you direct it?” And I said, “No, ’cause there’s no script.” And they said, “Well you write the script,” and I said, “But I may not be the guy to direct,” like don’t make it a McQuarrie movie, make it the greatest Green Lantern you can make it. We don’t know what that is tonally. We don’t know what any of that stuff is until we get under the hood, and I may be the worst guy in the world. You may end up with Tim Burton’s Green Lantern, and I don’t have that pride of authorship. I’m not the guy who comes in and goes, “It’s mine, from the visionary director.” Bullshit fuckin’ words. You’re a director! You’re a visionary, that’s your job.  [It’s like saying] From the postal delivery mailman. Sorry, I’m on a tear tonight. This is why I didn’t want to film this…

I’m just gonna say, that as far as Superman. I just want to see Superman, but the heroic, optimistic, like a beacon of hope in this universe, that’s the Superman movie I want.


Image via Paramount Pictures

MCQUARRIE: Yes. And is the movie Henry wants. There’s a really, really beautiful version of that, and I honestly can’t speak for the people who are responsible for making those decisions, except to say it’s part of a giant corporate mechanism. I’m one guy. I can stand up and turn around, turn my back to you instantly, a giant corporation that’s in the middle of a merger with another giant corporation, is an aircraft carrier in a broom closet being asked to turn around. Part of my job, and what’s made my being a director so much more easy in this business, was ultimately coming to terms with the fact that the people that I’m sitting across from have much bigger problems than I do. They just do. And I sympathize with those problems, ’cause before I used to just view them as incredibly obtuse, and they don’t know what movies are about. Of course they do. They all love movies. But this movie. This movie’s a great example. This movie is simply an amalgam of limitations.

I start with a clean slate, I can do whatever I want. As soon as I decide that there’s a helicopter chase at the end of the movie, it sets in motion a chain of events that creates a series of limitations that make the movie so impossible to figure out, because Tom Cruise has to fly a helicopter. Well, that’s a problem, ’cause now Tom’s got to learn how to fly a helicopter. And he can’t just buy a helicopter and fly it, you need the support of Airbus, and Airbus says, “Tom’s not flying a helicopter.” And you have to convince Airbus that Tom can fly a helicopter. Then, you have to have a country in which to fly it, and every country on the planet goes, “Tom’s not flying a helicopter. Not in our country. Go to the next country.” And New Zealand says, “Sure, mate, c’mon, we’ll let you fly. C’mon in, just go to the south island, where nobody lives, and that way you won’t crash into anyone. Have fun.”

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