USC’s Large Format Cinema Club hosted a special screening of “Mission: Impossible – Fallout,” which was released in July, at the Michelle & Kevin Douglas IMAX Theatre Wednesday. The screening was followed by a Q&A session with director Christopher McQuarrie, producer Jake Myers and film editor Eddie Hamilton, who answered a range of questions pertaining to the mega-action movie’s production process. The film saw Tom Cruise reprise his role as Ethan Hunt, an agent in the Impossible Missions Force.
The “Mission: Impossible” franchise is known for featuring a different director for every installment, but this pattern was interrupted with McQuarrie, who also directed “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation.” Due to his role in previous films, McQuarrie wanted to channel the diversity of thought that came with a different crew. He said he only decided to take on another “Mission: Impossible” film because of the opportunity to return with a renewed sense of direction that would diversify the film’s plot.
“I want to make a more emotional movie than the last movie,” McQuarrie said. “I want it to be more about Ethan’s inner life, so we started with story instead of action.”
Myers was initially hesitant to produce a “Mission: Impossible” movie, but was convinced after thinking about the impressive helicopter scenes and the countless other action shots that have become signatures of the franchise.
To ensure a new perspective in this installment, the crew made a map of the “Mission” universe and marked all the places where the movie had previously been shot or taken place.
“It was very important to Tom [Cruise], the travel log, the feeling of exotic, non-U.S. locations, so we do a little bit of a world tour to figure out where we’re gonna set the movie,” Myers said.
Once the filmmakers decided what kind of action scenes and locations they wanted to feature, they pieced together a cohesive storyline. Both McQuarrie and Myers praised Cruise for his work ethic and vision, which helped expedite production.
However, about two-thirds through the shooting of the movie, Cruise broke his ankle and the project was halted. Although this seemed like a devastating blow to Cruise who did most of his own stunts and action scenes, there was a silver lining. Hamilton fished through hundreds of hours of footage to create a preview of the movie that allowed the team to follow through on its early release date.
“Every shot has to be a slam-dunk, almost,” Hamilton said. “It has to be alive. It has to have energy. It has to have story. There’s a lot of things that every frame of this movie has to have.”
The tireless work of the cast and crew allowed “Mission: Impossible – Fallout” to become the highest-grossing installment in the franchise, but this feat did not come easily, McQuarrie said.
“If we had known any sequence in this movie, at some point someone would say, ‘If we had known, we never would have done this,’” McQuarrie said.