For the filmmakers of Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One, the latest installment is a love letter to the whole Mission series.
“It’s absolutely that,” says Tom Cruise, who reprises his now iconic role of Ethan Hunt in the film, which he also produces. “People who haven’t seen the other Missions are going to enjoy this one as a standalone experience. And the people who have seen all the other Missions will have a whole other insight into it. The story we have is very special.”
Watch the Rome car chase behind-the-scenes featurette:
According to director-producer-writer Christopher McQuarrie, back at the helm to direct his fourth Mission: Impossible movie, the key to crafting that story is the emotion. “Everything that you are seeing in this movie is Tom and I focused on two things simultaneously. There is the action that we owe you because you’re coming to see a Mission: Impossible movie, and there’s the emotion that makes that action worth doing,” he says.
Dead Reckoning Part One sees Cruise’s Ethan Hunt and his IMF (Impossible Missions Force) team on their most dangerous mission yet—trying to save the world from a mysterious, all-powerful enemy with the power to control the way humanity perceives reality. “The stakes in this story are as global as global stakes get,” notes McQuarrie.
It takes as its title an old maritime term. “In navigation, ‘dead reckoning’ is the process by which you calculate your course based solely on your last known position,” McQuarrie says. “You’re essentially flying blind. And that becomes quite the metaphor, not only for Ethan, but for several key characters.”
“This is the first time we’ve ever split a Mission: Impossible story over two movies,” says Cruise of Dead Reckoning, Part One of which opens in cinemas July 12, while Part Two is scheduled for release next year. “It’s something we’ve never attempted before because of the complexity of these stories. The scale of these two movies is epic in every sense.”
Cruise remembers the moment the idea first started forming while he and McQuarrie were shooting another ground-breaking Cruise sequel scripted by McQuarrie, which the two also produced: “We were shooting Top Gun: Maverick and we started to talk about Mission. McQ said, ‘We have to make a back-to-back.’ And that really got me,” Cruise says, “because I’ve never done a back-to-back and I like learning new things. So when he said that it was very much like, ‘Yes, okay…’”
They knew it would be challenging. “But we also knew it would be interesting,” Cruise counters. “I’d wanted to build up this franchise to the stage where we are today, where it’s like, ‘Now I feel that we’ve earned this moment, to be able to blow it out on this scale.’”
“We often like to say we’re not competing with anybody but ourselves. We’re looking at the last film and figuring how can we outdo that?,” McQuarrie adds. “The sense of scale becomes bigger with each movie and the sense of limitations becomes that much smaller. You just become a little bit more adventurous every time.”
Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One also stars Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Vanessa Kirby, Hayley Atwell, Shea Whigham, Pom Klementieff, Esai Morales, Henry Czerny, Rob Delaney, Cary Elwes, Indira Varma, Mark Gatiss, Charles Parnell, Greg Tarzan Davis, and Frederick Schmidt.
Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One, distributed in the Philippines by Paramount Pictures through Columbia Pictures, opens in cinemas July 12.