There's never been any reason to doubt that Paramount will eventually make Mission: Impossible 5, not after director Brad Bird's fourth installment (subtitled Ghost Protocol) grossed $695 million worldwide in theaters and put the franchise back on good terms with critics and casual moviegoers alike; rather, it's always been a question of when, not if, for that reason.
While there were previously plans for Cruise to headline Top Gun 2 before taking on a fifth Mission, the tragic death of director Tony Scott has led the former sequel to be scrapped (at least, for the foreseeable future). Hence, the Mission franchise star/producer has begun considering landmarks that could serve as set pieces in the fifth installment; not to mention, initiated the process for nailing down both a screenwriter (or more) and director.
Deadline is reporting that Cruise and J.J. Abrams (who became a series producer after directing Mission: Impossible III) have their eye on Oscar-winning filmmaker Christopher McQuarrie to helm the fifth Mission flick. McQuarrie, in case you hadn't noticed, has now become one of Cruise's most trusted collaborators, after scripting the star's WWII thriller Valkyrie and doing some uncredited revisions on the Ghost Protocol screenplay. Moreover, McQuarrie (who won his Academy Award for writing The Usual Suspects) had done work on the Top Gun sequel and did some polishing on the script for the currently-shooting Cruise vehicle All You Need Is Kill.
Of course, McQuarrie also directed Cruise in the potential franchise-starter Jack Reacher (which arrives next month). It's that collaboration between the pair that has generated interest in having McQuarrie onboard to helm Mission: Impossible 5 amongst executives over at Paramount and Skydance Productions - which, as it were, are not only behind both Jack Reacher and the Mission movies, but also set McQuarrie to oversee the Tom Clancy novel adaptation Without Remorse at some point in the future (small world, isn't it?).
We're still waiting to find out whether or not your average moviegoer goes for Cruise's interpretation of the Reacher character, as complaints from fans of Lee Child's books are well-documented at this point; still, based on the trailer footage, McQuarrie seems positioned to deliver a worthy (if somewhat derivative) investigative thriller on its own terms. While it's true that his directorial debut, The Way of the Gun, earned a mixed reception overall, McQuarrie had more than ten years of additional experience to draw from for Jack Reacher - and, in turn, would have even more for Mission: Impossible 5.
That's all to say, McQuarrie directing the fifth Mission: Impossible film seems like a reasonable proposition for now. However, we reserve the right to change that tune after Jack Reacher releases - whether for better or worse - since, at that time, it should be easier to gauge how he would approach the movie visually (or, rather, in comparison to what other filmmakers with better-established styles have brought to this franchise in the past).
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