Hopefully, 20 facts you might not know about ‘Mission: Impossible’ Movie
Facts you might not know about ‘Mission: Impossible’ Movie: It started a massive film franchise, Cast members from the TV show weren’t fans, The movie was a big success (and filled Cruise’s pockets), The opening credits don’t care about spoiler alerts and more
Your mission, should you decide to take it on, is to take a popular but old TV series and turn it into a movie franchise. He helps having the world’s biggest movie star on board. Mission: Impossible spawned a series that is ongoing, which is pretty incredible for a movie that was released in 1996. It’s been a long journey and it all started here.
Enjoy these 20 facts about Mission: Impossible. If you want to read them while dangling from a wire, go right ahead.
It started a massive film franchise
Who would have thought, over 20 years later, the Mission: Impossible series would still be going strong? We’ve already seen six movies from the series, with two more already scheduled for release. Cruise’s stunts have gotten more and more epic. Some argue that the Mission: Impossible series has effectively become the American answer to the James Bond series, rendering the latter less relevant. We’ve seen Cruise scale buildings and hang from planes. It all began here.
Cast members from the TV show weren’t fans
Jim Phelps was one of the characters from the Mission: Impossible TV show. Played by Jon Voight in the movie, he’s revealed to be a traitor and the movie’s villain. This did not sit well with a few cast members from the show, including Graves, who had played Phelps. Martin Landau also expressed dislike for the film, being sure to point out he also thought the script wasn’t good. Greg Morris went the furthest of the original show crew, walking out of the movie when it was revealed Phelps was a traitor.
The movie was a big success (and filled Cruise’s pockets)
The uptick in action set pieces may have raised the budget for Mission: Impossible up to $80 million, but in the long run, it didn’t matter. The film ended up making a robust $457.6 million worldwide. This was great for Paramount but also great for Cruise. Instead of taking his go-to rate at the time, $20 million, Cruise accepted a big chunk of the movie’s box office instead of a flat payment. The gamble paid off for him in a major way.
The opening credits don’t care about spoiler alerts
Have you ever watched an old episode of Columbo or a show like that where they give you a quick preview of the upcoming episode that you are literally just about to watch? Maybe Mission: Impossible was inspired by that. Seven plot points from the film are given away in the opening credits of this movie.
Apple went in heavy with the paid promotion
Apple is now well-entrenched in the world, but around the time of Mission: Impossible, it had suffered a huge loss — fiscally speaking. To try and bolster its image, Apple paid $15 million for promotion attached to the film. This included an Apple laptop appearing in the film that was for an upcoming model that wasn’t even functional yet.
Emilio Estevez and Cruise worked together again
While the original cast of the TV show didn’t appear, Mission: Impossible still gave us the twist of most of Ethan’s team dying on the opening mission. That included some notable actors like Emilio Estevez. This was the third time Estevez and Cruise had been in the same movie. As younger men, they had been in The Outsiders and Young Guns.
A previous Cruise movie gets a shout out
One of the codenames found on the N.O.C. list that serves as the movie’s McGuffin is Maverick. This is a name that will ring a bell for Cruise fans. It’s the nickname of his character in Top Gun.
Only one character from the show appears
Phelps, the aforementioned surprise villain, is the only character that is attached to the TV show. None of the others, even Ethan Hunt, appear in the earlier versions of Mission: Impossible. Originally, there were plans for members of the team at the beginning of the movie to largely all die. They were going to be characters, and actors, from the show. However, the actors didn’t really have any interest in showing up just to be killed off.
Some money helped Cruise with one scene
In the most famous scene in the film, Cruise hangs from wires suspended in midair while doing some hacking. While filming it, Cruise noticed he kept tilting forward and hitting his head. Then, he put British pound coins in his shoes. This helps create a counterweight that allowed him to stay balanced.
De Palma suggested one shooting location
The opening sequence in the film takes place in Prague, and it was actually shot there. This was De Palma’s idea, and he convinced Cruise to go along with it. De Palma reasoned that Prague was not just a beautiful city but one that was rarely, if ever, a location for major motion pictures.
A remix of the theme song became a hit
Lalo Schifrin’s “Theme from Mission: Impossible” is one of the most iconic TV theme songs ever. For the movie, Larry Mullen Jr. and Adam Clayton — a.k.a. the guys from U2 who aren’t Bono or The Edge — did a remix of the theme song. It proved quite successful. In addition to becoming a top-10 hit, it was nominated for a Grammy for Best Pop Instrumental Performance.
The score was done quickly
Alan Silvestri was originally hired to do the score of Mission: Impossible, but ultimately, he did not do it. His work was rejected, and he was replaced by Danny Elfman. There are some rumors that Silvestri completed 20 minutes of the score before Cruise gave him the boot during post-production. Elfman, in turn, only had a few weeks to do the complete score for the movie.
The star and director maybe didn’t get along
De Palma and Cruise are certainly strong personalities. There have long been rumors that the two clashed while filming the movie. These rumors began surfacing when De Palma backed out of promotional interviews for the film. De Palma hasn’t directed a movie in the series since, so it’s possible.
George Lucas helped shaped the film
Originally, there was a love triangle sequence early in the movie between Ethan Hunt, Jim Phelps, and Claire, Phelps’ wife. However, it was removed at the suggestion of De Palma’s friend George Lucas. Lucas said it took the audiences out of the movie because it was “out of the genre.” De Palma agreed and nixed it.
Cruise was also hit with a ton of wind
To make the climax on top of the train looking convincing, Cruise wanted a wind machine so powerful it could potentially knock him off the train. He found the one machine in Europe capable of doing it (the perks of superstardom). Winds up to 140 miles per hour were used in that scene because that was how powerful it needed to be to distort Cruise’s face.
Cruise gave his all to one set piece
It was Cruise’s idea to do the scene in the restaurant with all the glass and the giant fish and lobster tanks. Originally, a stuntman was used, but De Palma didn’t like the way it looked. He asked Cruise to do it, even though the scene involved 16 tons of water and there was risk of drowning. Cruise, who has become synonymous with doing his own stunts, agreed.
Not that this made the screenwriting process that much easier
When Mission: Impossible went into preproduction, it didn’t yet have a script that De Palma was happy with. Even on set, De Palma was working on crafting action set pieces while Towne was coming up with hooks for the story they could hang the plot on, while Koepp was working on crafting that plot.
The movie churned through screenwriters
Cruise was working on a story for the movie with director Sydney Pollack when De Palma signed on the project to direct. He and Cruise then went over a couple drafts of a screenplay, but nobody was happy with it. At this point, De Palma decided to bring in a few big names to work on the script. Steven Zallian, Robert Towne, and David Koepp all worked on it. Koepp has ties to both Spielberg and De Palma, having written Jurassic Park and Carlito’s Way.
Cruise also chose the director
Brian De Palma seems like an unusual choice for an action film series, as the guy who directed movies like Blow Out and Scarface. However, Cruise and De Palma had a chance meeting one day when Cruise was having dinner with Steven Spielberg. Cruise then went home, watched all of De Palma’s movies, and went to work convincing De Palma to direct his Mission: Impossible movie.
It all came down to Tom Cruise
Paramount had the rights to Mission: Impossible but had never done anything with it. Enter Tom Cruise, one of the biggest stars in the world. He had loved the TV show Mission: Impossible growing up, and he wanted to make an adaptation of it the first project for his new production company. He met with Paramount, and got them to agree to greenlight the movie.
20 facts you might not know about ‘Mission: Impossible’ Movie
Your mission, should you decide to take it on, is to take a popular but old TV series and turn it into a movie franchise. He helps having the world’s biggest movie star on board. Mission: Impossible spawned a series that is ongoing, which is pretty incredible for a movie that was released in 1996. It’s been a long journey and it all started here. Enjoy these 20 facts about Mission: Impossible. If you want to read them while hanging from a wire, go ahead.
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