Christopher McQuarrie Clarifies ‘Mission: Impossible 7’ Bridge Explosion Plan Amid Backlash

The director says the controversy was fueled by an individual who was harassing crew members after not being hired on the action tentpole.
FILE - In this July 22, 2018 file photo, actor Tom Cruise, left, and director, writer, producer Christopher McQuarrie attend the premiere of "Mission: Impossible - Fallout" in Washington. McQuarrie didn’t set out to make the most action-packed “Mission” film in the franchise. It just kind of happened by accident, and it’s earning the franchise and Cruise some of the best reviews they’ve ever gotten. (Photo by Brent N. Clarke/Invision/AP, File)
Tom Cruise and Christopher McQuarrie
Brent N. Clarke/Invision/AP

Christopher McQuarrie has issued a statement to Empire magazine clarifying the relationship between his “Mission: Impossible 7” production and a historic bridge in Poland. News surfaced last week that controversy was erupting around the filming of “Mission: Impossible 7” in Poland because the Tom Cruise-starring action tentpole intended to blow up a historic bridge in the village of Pilchowice. Locals were reportedly urging the film not to blow up the bridge, despite culture minister Pawel Lewandowsk claiming the bridge has no cultural value.

“Last week, a story broke in the press alleging that the producers of ‘Mission: Impossible’ had asked for permission to demolish a 111-year-old bridge in Poland and that, in so doing, we were destroying a piece of that wonderful country’s heritage in the name of entertainment,” McQuarrie writes in his statement. “I’ve read a lot of inaccurate stories in which I’m named and I normally just ignore them, but in this case I felt it was important to personally clear up some misinterpretations of our intentions, starting with this: There was never a plan to blow up a 111-year-old protected monument.”

McQuarrie said that at the start of pre-production the “Mission: Impossible” team conceived of an action sequence “involving a bridge over a body of water, ideally one that could be partially destroyed.” According to the director, it was Poland that expressed interest in the production using the non-functioning bridge for this sequence. McQuarrie writes that Poland was looking to clean up the area to promote tourism and needed to update the bridge, meaning part of it would have to be destroyed to make way for the new upgrades.

“Local roads being what they are, their best chance to [promote tourism] rested in revitalizing an outdated rail system,” McQuarrie writes. “This included replacing the main decking of the bridge in question, which engineers had deemed structurally unsound. The bridge was not built entirely in 1906 as has been reported. That bridge was partially destroyed by the retreating Germans during the Second World War before being rebuilt (the current bridge is, in fact, one of two very similar ones in the area, neither of which is a protected monument). Bottom line: to open up the area to tourism, the bridge needed to go.”

The “Mission: Impossible” production agreed only “to destroy the already unsafe portions of the bridge that needed to be rebuilt, and not the original stone pilings.” McQuarrie adds, “We also had plans to offset any damage the very necessary demolition of the bridge might cause…The people we spoke to were excited by the prospect of our bringing a large film production to Poland and the resources it would inject into the local economy. They were also delighted that we’d be making way for a new bridge that might otherwise not be rebuilt, and might lead the government to revitalize the railroad line.”

According to McQuarrie, the controversy around the bridge was fueled by an unnamed individual who “claimed they were owed a job on the production for which we felt they were not adequately qualified.” This person allegedly harassed crew members on social media and then “misrepresented our intentions” about the bridge and “concealed their personal reasons for wanting to penalize us.”

“In short, this individual manipulated the emotional response of the people in a move that has now compromised our ambitions to bring our production to Poland,” McQuarrie writes. “We would never under any circumstances dream of intentionally causing harm to the cultural or historical landmarks we visit, and take great pains to protect those landmarks we feature. To respect and celebrate the places we film is our prime directive. No one involved in the production asked for permission to destroy a historically significant landmark in Poland.”

Paramount has “Mission: Impossible 7” on the release calendar for November 19, 2021. Head over to Empire magazine’s website to read McQuarrie’s statement in its entirety.

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