Aug 29, 2013

Tradecraft: Christopher McQuarrie Confirmed to Direct Mission: Impossible 5

This is old news, but still important to catch up on around here since I've been eagerly following the progress of the next Mission: Impossible movie. Christopher McQuarrie, the prolific screenwriter who often does polishes on Tom Cruise movies and has previously directed Way of the Gun and Jack Reacher, has been rumored as the frontrunner to direct Mission: Impossible 5 (or whatever they end up calling it; MI5 certainly doesn't work as an abbreviation!) since last November. Earlier this month, according to Deadline, this was officially confirmed when he tweeted, "Mission: Accepted." What, if anything, this means for McQuarrie's remake of Ice Station Zebra is unknown. (McQuarrie has also been rumored at times to be attached to the Tom Clancy adaptation Without Remorse and to the feature adaptation of the Sixties ITC spy series The Champions, which he told Dark Horizons last December might still happen.) As previously reported, Drew Pearce (Iron Man 3) is writing the script for Mission: Impossible 5, and Cruise will once again star. J.J. Abrams is again producing.

It will be interesting to see how McQuarrie follows up on Brad Bird's series-best installment Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol. Personally, I really, really hope that he continues the journey Bird started towards making the films more like huge budget versions of the TV show. I loved that Ghost Protocol was finally a team movie, like the show, as opposed to a one-man operation focusing on Cruise's super-agent Ethan Hunt. I also loved all the little references to the series that Bird packed into his entry, and I was thrilled by the mission briefing we hear at the film's end about a new terrorist organization calling itself "The Syndicate." I really hope McQuarrie and Pearce use the Syndicate! (As a terrorist organization; not as the Mafia, which it was on the show.) I also hope that they retain the same IMF team from Ghost Protocol of Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg and Paula Patton. They established a good dynamic last time out, and it would be great to see them build on it. (And while you're at it, guys, please restore Ving Rhames to fully-functioning co-star status!) But above all, what I hope for most from the next Mission: Impossible installment is what I hope for from all of them: I hope that they do something to rehabilitate Jim Phelps' good name. At one point, producer J.J. Abrams had teased the idea of a Peter Graves cameo in Ghost Protocol, but the actor sadly passed away before that could happen. But they could still bring in Leonard Nimoy or Peter Lupus or even Sam Elliott to do a quick cameo and explain that the Phelps they worked with was a national hero, and that jerkwad who assumed his name after he retired turned out to be a real loser. Or something along those lines! (But, you know... better.)


teeritz said...

That was always the hardest thing to swallow about the first "MI" film. I just couldn't buy Jim Phelps as the bad guy. And I wasn't an avid watcher of the original TV show, but I knew enough about the classic stature of the series to know that you don't make the main character the baddie when you re-boot/remake the show.
Should be interesting with McQuarrie at the helm.

Bob said...

Are you confusing Peter Graves with John Voight?

Bob said...

Rereading your comments, I see you were referring to the character, Jim Phelps. Sorry about that. My bad.

Tanner said...

That was my experience almost exactly, Teeritz. I hadn't seen much of the show at all at that point, just some of the revival series (which I quite liked). But I was also aware of its classic stature, and I HATED that they made Phelps the villain! It ruined the movie for me in high school, following weeks of anticipation during which I played the cassingle of Mullen and Clayton's version of the M:I theme and its various ultra-90s remixes near non-stop! Almost two decades later, I've FINALLY managed to be able to look past that and appreciate some of the good things about DePalma's M:I, but the movie will always be marred for me by that awful choice... at least until a future film manages to undo it! What I want, Bob, is some sort of in-film explanation acknowledging that Graves and Voight were two different Phelpses! Just say that operationally it made sense for Jim's protege to use his mentor's name for some reason, and it stuck. Once they say that, maybe I'll finally be able to enjoy the first M:I film! As of now, the only entry in the film series I truly love is the fourth one. (I do LIKE 3, just don't love it. I don't like 2 at all.)