Mission: Impossible 6 director Christopher McQuarrie has revealed some new details about his approach to the upcoming action sequel. Whenever a director takes on the task of perpetuating a popular franchise, he/she has to grapple with how to keep the material fresh while still preserving the core elements that made the movies popular in the first place. All franchise films follow a formula, but the key is finding ways of tweaking that formula so it doesn’t become too stale and boring. And when a series has been going as long as Mission: Impossible, such problems can become even more vexing.
For Mission: Impossible 6, Paramount has turned once again to writer-director McQuarrie to solve the puzzle of keeping things moving forward while still making sure the film bears all the series’ signature hallmarks. To make this happen, McQuarrie has decided to reach back into the series’ past for inspiration while making certain other changes that steer it away from Ghost Protocol and Rogue Nation.
McQuarrie discussed his approach to Mission: Impossible 6 in an interview with Collider and made a couple of interesting observations that indicate this entry in the series will not be like the last two. First, McQuarrie talked about moving away from the series’ globe-trotting ways and settling down in a single setting, in this case Paris:
I was determined, unlike the last movie, to spend more time in one location. I went back and I looked at the first movie, which started in Prague, and realized that they’re in Prague for the first half of the movie. So, I sort of pulled back a little bit on the globe-trotting. I think in Rogue Nation I think we might have been in six countries in the first ten minutes of the movie.
McQuarrie discussed how settling down in one place might help the story do a better job at delivering drama as opposed to mere action. McQuarrie then talked at length about how he wants the new film to deviate from the somewhat over-the-top tone established by the previous two movies, one of which he himself directed:
You know, you worry all the time. Am I taking this in a way that it can’t go? And we had a big conversation about tone. Because [Ghost Protocol director] Brad Bird really changed the tone of the franchise and Rogue Nation embraced that tone completely. At the beginning of this I said to Tom, “I don’t think we can do that three in a row. I think now it’s going to become cute. I think we need to take it another direction still.” And we did. But now we find ourselves going, you know, are we going where Bond went where Bond became–serious. It’s another kind of tone. Which, by the way, has not hurt their bottom line at all. They’ve really found their place. But we can’t go there. We were sort of laughing because we were looking at Rogue Nation and saying, “Well thanks, Bond, for not doing that anymore, so we’ll do it.” Now we’re looking at it and going, “But we can’t keep doing that.” We suddenly hit that same wall and understood why Bond went the way they did. And we’re at this kind of emotional crossroads with the franchise saying well how dramatic can you take Mission? It’s not going to a dark place. It’s going to a more emotionally dramatic place.
It sounds as though the new Mission: Impossible will have a little more character drama than we’ve seen in recent entries in the series, but that doesn’t mean the film is veering entirely away from delivering those classic Mission: Impossible thrills. Any time Tom Cruise is involved in an action film, there are bound to be some insane and dangerous stunts, and Mission: Impossible 6 is no exception. It just happens that Cruise will get a new love interest in the film, and that no doubt will lead to some of the more serious character drama alluded to by McQuarrie in his remarks.
In addition to Cruise’s love interest played by Vanessa Kirby, Mission: Impossible 6 has also added Angela Bassett and a mustache-wearing Henry Cavill to the ensemble. Rebecca Ferguson is back for her second appearance in the series, and some “unexpected familiar faces” will also be showing up.