Tom Cruise may have stopped aging for the better part of the last decade, but that didn’t stop the filmmakers behind Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One from almost de-aging him for the film’s opening sequence.
The director of the latest Mission: Impossible film, Christopher McQuarrie, recently revealed in an interview with Total Film that they considered a cold open set over three decades in the past. If they had done that, they would’ve needed to de-age their lead protagonist, Ethan Hunt (Cruise).
“Originally, there had been a whole sequence at the beginning of the movie that was going to take place in 1989,” McQuarrie revealed. “We talked about it as a cold open, we talked about it as flashbacks in the movie, we looked at de-aging.”
This may sound somewhat crazy for the Mission: Impossible franchise considering their prioritization of practical effects over digital. But McQuarrie and Co. ultimately decided against it for a simple reason: It’s not a perfect science yet, and there are good and bad examples of de-aging.
“One of the big things about [the de-aging] I was looking at while researching, I kept saying, ‘Boy, this de-aging is really good’ or ‘This de-aging is not so good.’ Never did I find myself actually following the story,” he admitted.
Speaking about Cruise and his look in the scrapped scene, McQuarrie said, “I was so distracted by an actor that I had known for however long was now suddenly this young person.”
This de-aging technique was recently seen in Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny. The film opens with a 25-minute sequence that features a de-aged Harrison Ford circa the original trilogy. But as McQuarrie pointed out, for as impressive as it looks at times, there are plenty of shots where it’s jarring to see Ford at a younger age. And some shots are better than others.
Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One is the seventh installment in the franchise. Tom Cruise return as Ethan Hunt in a battle over AI and a foe from his past, Gabriel (Esai Morales). It’s likely that if the de-aging sequence would’ve happened in the film, it would have involved Ethan and Gabriel given the flashback that’s in the film.
Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One is in theaters now.
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