Tom Cruise is on the run in new New Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One images

Writer-director Christopher McQuarrie teases the IMF leader’s seventh big-screen adventure: ‘We lean into the chaos.’

Many filmmakers faced a seemingly impossible mission of making movies during the pandemic but perhaps no one more so than Christopher McQuarrie.

The writer-director was about to start principal photography on Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One, the seventh entry in the Tom Cruise-starring stunt-heavy action franchise, when the world shut down.

“We were in Venice, Italy, two days away from shooting in February of 2020,” recalls McQuarrie, who also directed 2015’s Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation and 2018’s Mission: Impossible – Fallout. “We were at ground zero for the pandemic. Now I’m here talking to you!”

During the intervening three years, McQuarrie and Cruise, who also produced the film together, somehow managed to film the movie in an array of international locales, including England, Abu Dhabi, and Norway. The pair persevered despite COVID-caused shutdowns and delays — but in the process, they had to replace Nicholas Hoult, whose Hulu series The Great was going back into production, with Esai Morales as the baddie. The repeatedly-interrupted shoot lasted so long that McQuarrie recalls another new franchise cast member, Hayley Atwell, “might have been on this movie for well over 100 days before she had her first dialog scene, owing to the chaotic nature of the production.”

Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One will finally arrive in theaters on July 14, almost two years after its originally announced release date. But despite the production’s many trials and tribulations, McQuarrie always believed he would complete his mission. When chatting with EW for this early preview of the movie, the filmmaker admits there was never a moment he thought the movie wouldn’t get finished. “When you’re making a movie with Tom, that’s not really a factor,” he says. “And on these movies, we like to say, ‘Disaster is an opportunity to excel.’ We lean into the chaos. We don’t invite it, but we accept it as part of the process.”

Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One finds the IMF team of Cruise’s Ethan Hunt, Ving Rhames’ Luther Stickell, Simon Pegg‘s Benji Dunn, and Rebecca Ferguson‘s Ilsa Faust’s going up against both Morales’ antagonist and a character played by Guardians of Galaxy franchise star Pom Klementieff.

“She is somebody who, at the start of our story, is partnered with Esai and represents this malevolent force that Ethan is opposed to,” teases McQuarrie.

Mission: Impossible – Fallout actress Vanessa Kirby once again portrays arms dealer Alanna Mitsopolis (a.k.a. The White Widow), while Henry Czerny reprises his role of government agent Eugene Kittridge, which he played way back in the very first film in the franchise, 1996’s Brian De Palma-directed Mission: Impossible. This time, Kittridge partners with characters played by Shea Whigham and Cruise’s Top Gun: Maverick costar Greg Tarzan Davis.

“Shea and Tarzan represent the government,” says McQuarrie. “They’re allies with Henry Czerny in the story and are the opposition to Tom and to the IMF.”

McQuarrie is cagey about describing the character played by Atwell but reveals that he has been wanting to work with the British actress for over a decade.

“She read for us for Jack Reacher,” says the filmmaker, who also directed that Cruise-starring action-thriller. “She was somebody we were interested in for Rogue Nation. It took us a while to find just the right character, just the right opportunity, for Hayley to really play to her strengths.”

McQuarrie promises that the film will be packed with the action sequences that have become among the franchise’s signature elements. One will feature an already well-publicized stunt in which Cruise rides a motorbike off a cliff in Norway and then base-jumps to the ground.

What exactly is it like for a filmmaker to see his star disappear into the wild blue yonder like that?

“It’s par for the course,” says McQuarrie. “It’s what you learn to accept. It’s what keeps the lights on!”

Speaking to EW from his office in London, the director is overseeing post-production on the film while also preparing the ongoing shoot for Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part Two (set for release June 28, 2024). McQuarrie, who also co-wrote Top Gun: Maverick, admits he might find it odd working on just one mega-action movie.

“This has been the most unbelievable adventure and the most unbelievable continuum between, in some state or another, working on Top GunMission 7, and Mission 8, all simultaneously,” he says. “Top Gun is now behind us, and we’re in a place where Mission 7 is almost out in theaters, and it’s so surreal to think that, in July, I will be working [on] one movie at a time. I don’t know what I’m going to do with myself!”

Mission: Rest sounds like a good plan.

Source: Entertainment Weekly