Who says that Tom Cruise is damaged goods at the domestic box office? Taking $56 million at home, and another $65 million abroad, “Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation” is not just a hit, but there’s already talk of a sequel. Cruise recently said “Mission: Impossible 6” could shoot as soon as next summer, and Paramount confirmed a follow up is in the works. “We’re very happy to be developing this movie with Tom,” studio honcho Rob Moore told Variety. “There’s no question that Ethan Hunt deserves another film.” But, for all this good cheer, it’s almost a miracle the movie landed without a hitch.
Drew Pearce (“Iron Man 3“) penned the initial draft of ‘Rogue Nation’ before moving to work on other projects, leaving writer/director Christopher McQuarrie to re-draft as the movie was gearing up. “Once you start making small changes, it sets off a chain reaction that rearranges everything until you’re almost reinventing the script from scratch. At that point, we were in pre-production, moving down the road. The process of writing the screenplay was one of constant discovery and reinvention,” he told Deadline.
These shifts in direction caused more than a few changes, and were responsible for the close focus on the ending of the movie, and a discussion between Cruise, McQuarrie and the studio about whether or not it made sense to go out with a big bang.
“We kept thinking we need something like the parking garage [scene in ‘Ghost Protocol’], or maybe the the [big plane sequence] should be at the end of the movie, because doesn’t the movie need to be constantly getting bigger and bigger and bigger? We let all that go and stopped comparing ourselves to other movies,” McQuarrie told us, as everyone involved agreed on the film’s lower key resolution.
However, all these changes along the way meant that some scenes had to be snipped. For example, whatever happened to the scene in the still above, which was one of the first images officially released for the movie? What’s more, is that McQuarrie says a pretty big sequence for the villain, played by Sean Harris (who isn’t keen on blockbuster roles), also didn’t make the movie.
“My one regret is there is one real showcase scene with Sean and it didn’t make it into the finished film,” the director told Deadline. “Ironically, it was the scene that enticed Sean to do the movie in the first place. For a lot of reasons we ended up cutting it from the film. To his credit, Sean saw the finished film and was very understanding of it. Sean is a real pro, someone who came in with an apprehension of what kind of movie it was, the tone, and what the film was asking him to do. He tackled the role despite it being more or less against his religion.”
Whether or not we’ll get a peek at these deleted scenes remains to be seen, but I’d wager the likelihood is slim, given they seem to be from an approach to the story that was discarded along the way. But they’ll remain fascinating trivia for sure, and with even bigger stunts to top next time out, the next “Mission: Impossible” has a mighty task on its hands.
Below check out an McQuarrie’s breakdown of the opera sequence of the film and take a listen at the director and Tom Cruise in a lengthy, informative, two-hour talk with Jeff Goldsmith on the Q&A podcast — click here.