Mar 11, 2011

Tradecraft: Tom Sizemore Joins Exit Strategy

Deadline reports that Tom Sizemore will round out the five-person IMF-like team in Fox's Mission: Impossible-like Exit Strategy, joining Ethan Hawke as team leader Eric Shaw, MI-5's Megan Dodds as medic/sniper Hannah Burke, and Elyes Gabel and Lina Esco as driver Tarik Fayad and hacker Mia Hendricks, respectively.  Additionally, the same trade blog reports that Lily Rabe (All Good Things) has been cast in a recurring role, but doesn't specify what role that is. Sizemore will play Jonathan Marks, described as the team's LOGPAC (support officer) a longtime CIA veteran "who can get you anything, anywhere, anytime." 

In David Guggenheim's script for the pilot, Marks speaks like a reporter or a PR rep, always referring to people as his "contacts."  "I'll reach out to my contact in the [Chinese] Central Committee, he'll keep us a step ahead of them," he says.  If the CIA has a contact on the Central Committee, wouldn't that be an asset or an agent, and not merely a contact?  And a pretty valuable asset at that?  That's some deep penetration!  (And would seem kind of tough to just "reach out to" at a moment's notice, but that's the kind of show it is.)  It's just a pet peeve, but I do hope they change that.  I'd pictured someone more a little more urbane in the Marks role (like a younger Ron Rifkin), and can't quite reconcile Sizemore with the character in the script. However, he's a good actor, so I'm sure he can handle it. Sizemore's last starring gig on television was Robbery Homicide Division in 2002. 

As previously reported, Antoine Fuqua directs the pilot. Exit Strategy is produced by the prolific team of Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci (Alias, Mission: Impossible 3), and created by Guggenheim (Safe House). The pilot script feels a lot like Kurtzman and Orci's hit Hawaii Five-O remake, and pretty much enjoys the same relationship with the Sixties and Seventies incarnation of Mission: Impossible as the new Five-O does with the original: the basic premise is intact, but it's all superficial and glossy with the addition of soap opera relationships between the characters.  Of course, any brand-specific moments from M:I have been duly altered as this is not an official remake.  Instead of Shaw getting his mission each week from a tape recording, he gets a phone call from a mysterious operator whose face we never see, etcetera.

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