As far as this writer is concerned, and as far as critical and audience consensus seems to agree, the “Mission: Impossible” movie series is the rare blockbuster franchise that gets better with every new installment. Even though the first couple of films got the job done as generic action flicks, they focused almost entirely on Tom Cruise’s star power while mostly ignoring the ensemble-driven nature that made the ’60s TV show so endearing.
However, this year’s ‘Rogue Nation‘ was a near-perfect spy actioner that continued with the new ensemble-focused approach of ‘Ghost Protocol.’ It contained stunning set pieces put together mostly by insane practical stunts, a fresh new take on the mandatory intelligence heist shenanigans, all brought to life by a strong cast that smartly added the badass Rebecca Ferguson to the M:I roster. One of the main reasons ‘Rogue Nation’ worked so well, as opposed to the lumbering snoozefest that was “Spectre,” was writer/director Christopher McQuarrie’s extremely well-paced screenplay and tight direction.
For film buffs, McQuarrie is mostly known as the screenwriter of the 1995 classic “The Usual Suspects.” Yet recently, McQuarrie has been making a name for himself as a highly sought-after action maestro. After proving that he had the chops to handle a big budget genre flick with 2012’s taut and thoroughly satisfying “Jack Reacher,” McQuarrie moved on to ‘Rogue Nation’ and is now on his way to becoming the first director to helm two installments of the “Mission: Impossible” franchise, as he’s signed on to write and direct the sixth film.
Fans of ‘Rogue Nation’ and McQuarrie are in luck, since Empire recently spent almost three hours talking to the hard working writer-director about pretty much every aspect of the film’s production. The episode is long, but flows really well, and contains no shortage of great anecdotes. McQuarrie starts off with having to still work on the film a mere five days before the premiere, how he had to convince the studio that the plane stunt belonged at the beginning of the movie instead of the end, and moves onto the many challenges of the production.
Some of these stories will make you realize how much of a miracle it is for any big budget movie to be finished at all. McQuarrie’s description of his working relationship with Cruise, Simon Pegg, and the rest of the cast is essential in understanding why ‘Rogue Nation’ worked so well. We also get some information about scenes that could have been included in the film, including a hilarious idea where Cruise’s Ethan Hunt contacts Pegg’s Benji Dunn while Benji’s playing an FPS game. Make sure to check out the podcast below.