Mission: Impossible 6 director Christopher McQuarrie is already setting his sights on his next project with the recently announced Netflix movie, The Chameleon. McQuarrie has also enlisted the aid of some considerable writing talent with the likes of Oscar-nominated screenwriter Terrence Winter (The Wolf of Wall Street) and Carl Capotorto (Vinyl) on board for scripting duties on the film.
Though the highly anticipated Mission: Impossible 6 is still filming and not set for release until next summer, McQuarrie appears to have his hands full with the high octane sequel, which is said to have multiple large scale Tom Cruise stunts. Known for action packed directorial efforts such as Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation and Jack Reacher, The Chameleon will see McQuarrie venture into the psychological thriller genre.
Thanks to Deadline, we have our first bit of information on The Chameleon, which is based on the true story of Frédéric Bourdin – a French conman who assumed the identities of hundreds of missing teenagers. Nicknamed “The Chameleon”, Bourdin's exploits were written about in 2008 for The New Yorker and it was this article from which the story rights were secured.
As Bourdin had impersonated so many teens, the exact storyline of McQuarrie’s film is yet to be made clear. However, Bourdin lived with a family in Texas for almost five months in 1997, after convincing them that he was their missing son – despite having a different eye color and a French accent. He was eventually discovered and spent six years in a U.S. prison before being sent back to France. After returning to Europe, Bourdin continued to impersonate missing teens and although he was repeatedly caught out, it was the U.S. where he received his longest and most severe punishment. For this reason, Bourdin’s time in Texas is perhaps the most abundant in terms of story for the film.
Whatever angle McQuarrie and his team choose to focus upon, there’s no denying that The Chameleon sounds enticing. Though Bourdin didn’t ever kill anyone, there’s still a very creepy element to the story and it will be interesting to see McQuarrie flex his directorial muscles with a new genre. While not the easiest genre to pull off, a well made psychological thriller has a resonance to it that leaves viewers unsettled long after the final credits roll.
As the aim of the film is to craft something tonally similar to The Silence of the Lambs and Making A Murderer, McQuarrie has a considerable amount of work ahead of him. And while taking on two Mission: Impossible films is no small feat, a well-crafted psychological thriller that’s based on a true story could very well prove to be one of the director’s greatest challenges - and achievements - to date.