Christopher McQuarrie Interview - Mission: Impossible - Fallout

Christopher McQuarrie has written some of Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters and is the first director to be brought back for the Mission: Impossible.  His latest film, Mission: Impossible - Fallout is now in U.S. theaters. Chris sat down and talked about his work with both Tom Cruise and Henry Cavill, writing an action movie, and the possibility of making a superhero film.

Screen Rant: You're the first director to ever come back for a Mission: Impossible movie. What brought you back?

Christopher McQuarrie: Tom. Tom asked me to come back. I said, no, I can't do that. There’s a different director every time. That's what the fans have come to expect. And he said, well, precedents are made to be broken. I want you to come back and I feel like we've got more story to tell. So, I said, okay, I'll do it. But I'm not going to continue in the direction we're going. Rogue Nation really tipped its hat to Ghost Protocol. And I said, I think a third time it's going to be cute. And we need to change direction. I want to make a darker movie. I want to make a more personal movie, a longer movie, a bigger movie. And Tom said, okay.

Screen Rant: We were just talking about this, the helicopter scene. Wow. Crazy. Crazy. The whole third act of this movie is just so brilliant. I love it so much.

Christopher McQuarrie: Thank you.

Screen Rant: Talk to me. What gave you the idea for that scene?

Christopher McQuarrie: Well, Tom and I had talked about a helicopter sequence for a long time. And he shot American Made, so he was flying airplanes in that. And we talked to Doug Liman and everything he had learned on that movie. And that gave us the idea that we were ready. That we could do it.  So, Tom went off to learn how to fly a 125 and I had to then come up with things for him to do. I had to come up with a reason for the sequence happening. So, it all came organically from that. With Tom saying, I'm going to go learn how to fly, have a sequence ready when I get back.

Screen Rant: Well, I think this is so impressive because I was just going to ask you about some of these sequences. Because they're just, eye dropping amazing in this film. Like amazing. And I-- you know what I appreciate too? It's not a green screen film. This is a movie. You know what I mean? When you were writing this film, as you were the helicopter scene, where you dictating it with action pieces in mind and then kind of going around that?

Christopher McQuarrie: It sort of came together, they met in the middle. On the last movie, on Rogue Nation, we definitely came up with the action scenes first and then found a story that made them work. On this one, we started with the story of Julia. And Ethan's emotional journey through the story. Knowing that we had a helicopter chase, knowing that we had a car chase, and that the story was going to find its way through those things. But most of this story was dictated by the character's journey.

Screen Rant: Which is amazing. Because you're a great writer. The Usual Suspects is amazing. And you have a certain way of orchestrating a great ensemble cast. Now this is an all-star cast. How difficult was it trying to-- Because there's a lot of characters. Juggling all that. How difficult was that part of this?

Christopher McQuarrie: That's really tricky. You want to make sure that every character in the movie belongs in the story and has their day. And that's one of the reasons why the third act is so crazy. Because there's so many characters that had to have something to do. And I designed that whole complication, of the two bombs at the end of the movie, to give everybody their due. It had to feel like it needed every single person to be working perfectly in order for things to turn out okay. Which they may not.

Screen Rant: Henry Cavill. This is a whole new side to him that I hadn't seen before. And you got a great performance out of him. How did you know that he was going to be the right, I don't want say… the right, not adversary, kind of adversary towards, for Tom?

Christopher McQuarrie: When I met Henry in person. He's such a charming guy. He's such, I think such a talented guy and very underused. But he also had a great sense of humor. And I knew anybody who had a great sense of humor, has a good dark streak. And I wanted to find that dark streak in Henry. And he loved playing it.

Screen Rant: And he was great in this film.

Christopher McQuarrie: He’s really wonderful. I'm very proud of him.

Screen Rant: This is your third outing with Tom Cruise. What have you guys learned from each other, going on into the future. But now from this film and from the past, what have you guys learned from each other?

Christopher McQuarrie: We're learning things every time we go out there. We both come to filmmaking with a real certain attitude of what it is we want and what the basics are. And we're constantly surprised. We're always thinking, this is how it's going to be and this is going to work. And the audience says, no, it's not. This is not what we want. And what we've learned over time is to just trust the audience to tell us what they want, and they do.

Screen Rant: Speaking of audiences, I've been following your Twitter for a while, and you had said that with the Star Wars franchise, superhero franchises, sometimes the fans might be pushing directors away from that. However, your name's been coming up a lot with Man of Steel 2 and the Green Lantern, possibly. Any interest in either of those properties?

Christopher McQuarrie: To me, I'm interested in a good story. That's really what it is. I mean, when Man of Steel came up, it was because somebody had asked me, did I want to work with Henry again? Which I would in a second. I go through the door that opens.

Screen Rant: It's so interesting, because I would love to see you do one of these movies. Because some of the action scenes in this are like mind blowing to me. Mind blowing. And I was like, man, just blew me away.

Christopher McQuarrie: Oh, thank you. Thank you.

Screen Rant: And with Tom Cruise, possibly. Do you think Tom Cruise as the Green Lantern would be a good choice?

Christopher McQuarrie: You know, I got to say, Tom and I have never talked about it. We always kind of talk about what we're working on or what we're talking about working on next. I think, again, I think if you show them a good story, I think if you showed him a really emotional story, I don't think, you know, it's, I can never predict. I can never predict what it is he's going to be drawn to.

MORE: Angela Bassett Interview for Mission: Impossible - Fallout

Key Release Dates
  • Mission: Impossible - Fallout (2018) release date: Jul 27, 2018
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