The Mission: Impossible franchise has always been known for its groundbreaking and daring action sequences, and yet, even the most brilliant minds draw inspiration from various sources. Christopher McQuarrie, the director and screenwriter behind the franchise, has a rich career that includes remarkable works like Edge of Tomorrow and The Usual Suspects. In a recent interview with FilmSweep, McQuarrie discussed his influences and how they manifest in Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One.
In the interview, McQuarrie shared with Steve Weintraub that Dead Reckoning draws inspiration from a multitude of movies while also being distinct in its own right. Like many directors, McQuarrie combines elements from different films he admires to create his unique vision. Although he didn’t explicitly list all his inspirations, he did mention a few titles that have left an impact on him:
“I find inspiration in films that I admire, films that I compete with in a friendly, sportsman-like manner. Some movies resonate deeply with me and linger in my mind. I have a fondness for movies set in the Arctic and ones featuring submarines. Submarines are undeniably cool, and the Arctic exudes a sense of fascination. I love ‘The Thing,’ although I can’t say it directly influenced ‘Dead Reckoning.’ ‘Das Boot’ and ‘Crimson Tide’ are also films I adore, and while they don’t serve as direct influences, they offer an incredible high-pressure environment. They act as gauntlets, showing me intriguing spaces that I aspire to explore.”
Image via Paramount Pictures
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McQuarrie Expresses Surprise Over References in Mission: Impossible Films
McQuarrie went on to mention that, unlike in Rogue Nation, where deliberate references were made to films like The Parallax View and Three Days of the Condor, he no longer feels the need to include obvious references. He believes that fans will seek them out regardless. He cited the example of a yellow Fiat 500 used in Dead Reckoning, which many viewers interpreted as a direct homage to the Japanese animated spy series Lupin the Third. However, McQuarrie clarified that he had never actually seen Lupin the Third, and the yellow color of the Fiat was chosen simply because it was distinct and fun. He stated, “I didn’t really know about ‘Lupin the Third.'”
Furthermore, McQuarrie revealed that sometimes he himself is surprised to find echoes of the things he enjoys in his own movies. As a filmmaker, it is difficult to create Mission: Impossible films on such a grand scale without referencing the techniques and approaches used by other directors:
“I see elements of John Ford and Steven Spielberg in my work. There are moments where I unintentionally capture something akin to what I’ve seen in their films. It’s like glimpsing the ghosts of their creations.”
Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One continues the story of Ethan Hunt (portrayed by Tom Cruise) as he races against time to locate a deadly weapon that poses a threat to humanity. The film features a returning cast that includes Rebecca Ferguson, Vanessa Kirby, Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames, and Henry Czerny. Joining the ensemble are Pom Klementieff (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3), Indira Varma (Obi-Wan Kenobi), Hayley Atwell (Marvel’s Agent Carter), Cary Elwes (BlackBerry), Shea Wingham (Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse), and Esai Morales (Titans).
Mission: Impossible– Dead Reckoning Part One will hit theaters on July 12. Stay tuned for our full interview with McQuarrie, and in the meantime, check out our conversation with Tom Cruise.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Film influences
What are some of the influences behind “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning”?
Christopher McQuarrie, the director and screenwriter, draws inspiration from various films throughout his career. While he doesn’t provide an exhaustive list, he mentions being influenced by movies set in the Arctic and those featuring submarines. Although specific titles like “The Thing,” “Das Boot,” and “Crimson Tide” are admired by McQuarrie, he clarifies that they are not direct influences on “Dead Reckoning.” Instead, they present intriguing environments that fuel his creativity.
Does “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning” contain explicit references to other films?
Unlike previous installments, where deliberate references were made, McQuarrie decided against including obvious nods in “Dead Reckoning.” He believes that fans will naturally search for references regardless. For instance, the presence of a yellow Fiat 500 in the film led some to speculate about it being a reference to “Lupin the Third.” However, McQuarrie states that he hadn’t watched the series and the color choice was simply based on its distinctiveness and fun factor.
What surprises does Christopher McQuarrie encounter in his own movies?
McQuarrie admits that he sometimes discovers echoes of things he enjoys in his own films. He mentions seeing elements reminiscent of John Ford and Steven Spielberg’s works, where unintentional captures evoke their cinematic styles. These surprises demonstrate the influence of filmmakers who have left an indelible mark on McQuarrie’s creative sensibilities.
Who is returning for “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One”?
The film features a returning cast that includes Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt, along with Rebecca Ferguson, Vanessa Kirby, Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames, and Henry Czerny. Additionally, new cast members include Pom Klementieff, Indira Varma, Hayley Atwell, Cary Elwes, Shea Wingham, and Esai Morales.