Every one of the Mission: Impossible movies released to date has been directed by a different filmmaker. This has allowed the Tom Cruise-headlined franchise to continually evolve its style, moving from the technical precision of Brian De Palma to the slow-motion artistry of John Woo; then came J.J. Abrams' more emotional take, followed by the live-action Saturday morning cartoon fun of the fourth installment, Brad Bird's Ghost Protocol. Now it's Oscar-winning screenwriter/director Christopher McQuarrie's (Jack Reacher) turn to put his spin on the world of IMF agent Ethan Hunt.
The tentatively-titled Mission: Impossible 5 is scheduled to arrive in theaters on Christmas 2015, which means that production ought to be getting going in the months ahead (it may be partly underway already); besides Cruise and his Mission: Impossible III and Ghost Protocol costar Simon Pegg, however, no other cast members have been confirmed at this time. Now there is a rumor making the rounds, claiming that two-time Oscar-nominee Jessica Chastain is being sought to star opposite Cruise as one of the action film's leads.
Schmoes Know cites "a very trusted source of ours" with its report that Chastain has been offered a Mission: Impossible 5 role, one that would see her play "Tom Cruise’s right hand woman" in the film. Schmoes recently got the jump on the news about writer/director Jeff Wadlow (Kick-Ass 2) having been recruited to work on the developing Masters of the Universe live-action movie reboot. The site's report wasn't entirely accurate, as Wadlow is only rewriting the project right now (though directing remains a possibility), but it was enough to bolster their credibility - suggesting there may, in fact, be something real behind this Chastain rumor.
If nothing else, the idea of Chastain having been offered a Mission: Impossible role is perfectly reasonable. She's an accomplished, hard-working, in-demand talent, who was eyed to play Jane in David Yates' upcoming Tarzan over this past year; more relevant, perhaps, is the fact that Chastain very nearly starred opposite Cruise in his 2013 sci-fi film Oblivion, before scheduling issues forced her to drop out. Which is to say, the duo have seemingly been looking to work together for a while now; as such, an established tentpole like M:I 5 provides yet another good opportunity for them to do so.
However, it's possible a full work-load will again force Chastain to pass on the chance to share the screen with Cruise, as earlier this week (via The Wrap) she was reported to be "nearing a deal" to play Marilyn Monroe in the biopic Blonde by director Andrew Dominik (Killing Them Softly) - one which could prevent her from choosing to accept this (fifth) impossible mission. Chastain is currently appearing in Guillermo del Toro's haunted house film Crimson Peak; she reportedly needs to figure out if Blonde can fit into her schedule, which also include the upcoming Zookeeper's Wife, before she can commit to playing Monroe in Dominik's project (which the director anticipates will begin filming in August).
The popular star has shown great range in her roles over the past few years, so an action-hero turn in the next Mission: Impossible film is something one imagines she could settle into with ease; it might also feel like a refreshing change of pace from Chastain's dramatic performances of late, for her and moviegoers alike. Monroe, by comparison, remains a pop culture icon, but as far as onscreen portrayals go, the role feels a bit played out right now - though Chastain would surely do it justice, regardless.
As for Mission: Impossible 5 in general: the script is by Drew Pearce (Iron Man 3), though it was Cruise - who's also producing the film - who researched landmarks and locations that could make for nail-biting set pieces to match and/or exceed those in past installments (see: Ghost Protocol's Burj Khalifa sequence). It remains to be seen what McQuarrie brings to the table, though his work on Jack Reacher (starring Cruise) may point to the fifth Mission: Impossible having a similar pastiche feel; it might even feature callbacks to vintage European capers like the original Italian Job, since it's partly filming in London.
Mission: Impossible 5 is scheduled to open in U.S. theaters on December 25th, 2015.