Mission: Impossible - Fallout director on return to the franchise: Was unsure, till Tom Cruise convinced me
Christopher McQuarrie, has earned both critical acclaim and fan acceptance with Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation
Paris: With audiences familiar with character nuances and knowing exactly what they want, franchise films are tricky beasts to tackle. Director Christopher McQuarrie thought so too and said he was hesitant to return to helm another Mission: Impossible but superstar Tom Cruise convinced him otherwise.
Directors face the maximum brunt when a film in a beloved franchise falls short of expectations and McQuarrie, having earned both critical acclaim and fan acceptance with Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation, wanted to keep it at that.
"When Tom asked me to do it, I hesitated at first because it has always been a different director for every one of the movies and that's what real fans of the franchise have come to expect.
"I told Tom there was no precedent (of a director coming back) and he said precedents are made to be broken. I said, 'Okay, I'll come back, but on the condition that we don't do another Rogue Nation. I want it to feel like a different movie with a different director'," McQuarrie told Press Trust of India in an interview.
McQuarrie, who won the best screenplay Oscar for Usual Suspects, said the temptation to follow what has worked in the past is hard to resist but Cruise understood his desire to go in a different direction. And the fun part was that they did not even have a complete script.
"Rogue Nation had worked very well and the tendency is, if it's not broken, you don't fix it. But Tom was very accepting of it, so we went in a very different direction, emotionally, in terms of tone, in terms of the scope and the scale of the movie."
The director can now relax as Mission: Impossible- Fallout, the sixth film in the series, opened to good reviews today. Cruise has fronted all the films, from the first film Mission: Impossible 22 years ago in 1996 to Fallout now.
"In this movie, we were just looking for one stunt that could live up to those other ones, and we ended up finding one after another after another. It was a real blessing," McQuarrie said.
The director wanted Man of Steel star Henry Cavill for August Walker, a CIA agent with dubious motives, even though he did not have a clear outline about the character in the beginning.
"I was really interested in seeing Henry play a darker, more complicated character. We didn't really know what the character was at the beginning of the story or how it was going to go, and I said to Henry, 'If you trust me, we'll find it along the way' and he was more than game.
"I have to give him credit because there were days when he came to work and his character was not what he signed up to play, and there were other days where it changed the other way. But Henry never complained. He was just there to learn and have a good time and to work on a movie he was really passionate about."
The director, who attended the world premiere of the film in Paris along with the cast recently, said he loved setting elaborate action sequences around some iconic places in the City of Love.
There were obvious obstacles about shutting down streets in the tourist-heavy city but he was more than willing to work around them.
"Paris was extraordinary. The help that the French government gave us, that the city of Paris gave us, was really amazing. We really wanted to celebrate Paris and show the city in all of its beauty and they supported us incredibly. And we were as sensitive as we could be.
"There were certain locations, the Arc de Triomphe, when you see Tom driving around the Arc de Triomphe, we only had it for 90 minutes. They said this was the best they could do. Most filmmakers would probably say, 'No, thank you,' but we said, 'We'll take it'."
India was also part of the director's wish-list and he even scouted for locations but the kind of permission they needed could not be acquired.
McQuarrie settled for the snowy mountains of New Zealand to recreate a Kashmir village, which is crucial to the film's climax.
"I had wanted to shoot in India and went and scouted there extensively. The helicopter sequence that we ended up shooting, the only country they would allow us to do was New Zealand. It was a pretty crazy sequence. We liked the flavour of India so we managed to put it in," McQuarrie said.
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