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Impossible Fallout director Christopher McQuarrie on the improvisation of the new movie.



  Tom Cruise hangs on a helicopter in Mission: Impossible Fallout.

Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible-Fallout

Paramount Pictures

It does not take much to make a mission: Impossible movie Just Tom Cruise, a couple Obstacles that he could climb or jump from, and one or two rubber masks. But an increasingly important element is Christopher McQuarrie, who returns to a second round with Fallout as the first director in the franchise's 22-year history. McQuarrie made his first foray into directing after winning an Oscar for his screenplay for The Usual Suspects in 1996, but the resulting film The Way of the Gun was a stiffer (like You) (see below, even McQuarrie is not particularly fond), and it took him 12 years to get back behind the camera.

When he did, with Jack Reacher of 2012 the result was a slender, sparse action movie and the cementing of a fruitful partnership with his star, Tom Cruise. McQuarrie went on to write the script for Edge of Tomorrow and to write and direct both Mission: Impossible-Rogue Nation and its follow-up. (He also has a screenplay credit on The Mummy but nobody beats a thousand.) McQuarrie, who also made not yet reviewed script work on Ghost Protocol was instrumental in reviving a franchise it felt like it was out of the gas, taking it to new, delirious, absurd heights, which made sense of the joke along with the obligatory action sequences. In an interview this week, which was edited and condensed for clarity, he talked to Slate about how he takes in the chaos of a modern blockbuster, why it's a director to attack a screenplay instead of protecting it, and how to get a Mission: Impossible movie is very similar to one.

You said one of the strengths of the mission: Impossible series is that there is a different director for each film and you wanted to uphold that tradition with Fallout and to call it a new director, even though it's the second one you've done. How is the director of Fallout different from the director of Rogue Nation ?

On the surface I came with another crew. I came with another group of employees, some of whom had never worked on a movie of this magnitude. Under the hood I came in this story of a more emotional, character-oriented direction than the last movie. I had noticed that Ethan was kept at a distance from the five previous films, including those I directed. You were never in Ethan's head. He is a bit of a cipher. And what we know about Ethan is based on what the people around him speculate. And I was determined to get the audience into Ethan's head right out of the film's opening film and take her to a place where they knew more about Ethan's innermost secrets than his team.

You wrote the line in Rogue Nation which describes Ethan as "the living manifestation of fate." This is not a description you can give to an actor and say, "Okay, play this." 19659010] Exactly.

In the course of three M: I films – you made unrecorded filming in the Ghost Protocol before you wrote and directed the next two – did you develop the idea the films you want reflect the experience they have made, which often means reworking large parts of the story spontaneously.

Oh yes. That started with Rogue and certainly went on in this film …

There are a few moments in Fallout when Ethan plunges into a situation without knowing exactly what he's doing, and his attitude is always, "I'll find out."

Right, and there's another moment when Benji asks Ethan, " How will you not allow that?" And Tom thinks for a minute and says, "I'm working on it." We are all in creative meetings The time my team looked at me and said, "What do we do when we come to New Zealand?" And I said, "I'm working on it, just give me the set and I'll know what to do on the set when I'm there. First show me where I'm shooting and I'll tell you what's going to happen if we arrive there. "

A movie that goes into production without a finished script is usually seen as a sign that a movie is in trouble, but the more experience you have in producing such films, the more you work.

It is, and it is never voluntary. I would much rather have a script and have this plan and not spend my weekends staring at a blank screen and figuring out what the movie is going to be. But what I've learned while working on three of these films is that with the main pieces in place, you can keep the train moving without knowing what's being said in the places before you arrive. As long as everyone knows, "OK, here we are going to shoot that day, and that's about what we're going to turn over." The information, the story that is conveyed beyond that is malleable. We will often shoot out-of-sequence scenes, and these scenes will tell us what the scenes around them need to contain in order for the scene you just shot to make sense. You start with an infinite number of possibilities and with everything you commit to filming, your options are reduced. The limits are created and the infinite possibilities where the story expires [is] become instantaneous. And your choices are made for you at the end of the movie.

When someone starts and directs as an author, you can often tell from the films he makes: they end up as dialogue-intensive and essentially feel like they've been filmed as if they were written. While in Jack Reacher and M: I the memorable moments are largely visual. You seem to be someone who interrupts the dialogue rather than trying to keep it.

Yes, and I learned it the hard way. I mean, you're watching my first movie The Way of the Weapon and that's what I did. I shot the script. The camera is always at eye level. It's not what I would call a visually compelling film. It is really based on the dialogue and the intellect of the film as opposed to the emotions. It is a lot of head and very little heart. It is a little strict.

I've learned over time that it's not a director's job to protect the script. The director's job is to challenge the script, resist the script, and know when to ignore the script. The job of a writer is simply to provide all the information you might need – but that's not a guarantee that you'll need that information. These are two very different skills, and you have to be able to move from one to the other.

  Tom Cruise and Christopher McQuarrie shake hands.

Tom Cruise and Christopher McQuarrie attend the mission: Impossible-Fallout Premiere on July 18 in Tokyo

Christopher Jue / Getty Images for Paramount Pictures

When the director's role is it To challenge the author and defy him screenplay, is it hard when these two people are you?

Not really, no, because as a writer, I just give myself all the material I need to make the story – not just emotionally but also to give it's a working internal logic. The challenge is that you compile and test these films, and viewers do not want all that information. They want to know what's going on, but they do not want the movie to stop, so you explain it to them. They get very bored, very fast. So you have to find the balance between information, confusion and boredom. If I do not have enough information, I get confused. And if I have too much, I start separating. I start to vote.

You lampshade, which, if you have Henry Cavill's character, screams at the villain of the movie, "Why do you have to make everything so complicated?"

Yes, and believe me, two things happen. The first is this scene, there is a version that is two minutes longer, and it explains everything in the movie, every question you could ever have, who he was, what happened in the back story, where the plutonium was, etc etc. And nobody wanted it, and everybody just felt that this part of the movie was sinking. Honestly, if it were a 90-minute movie, you could have that scene, but it was not. It was a two hour and 27 minute movie when we cut it to the bone.

The other thing that happens in this scene is when Walker said that line, part of me, instantly makes me read a review whose first sentence reads, "In the second act of Mission Impossible: Fallout Henry Cavill tells Sean Harris, "Why do you have to make things so damn complicated?" What exactly I thought when I saw this movie. " Editor's Note: Actually it was the end of the fourth paragraph.] I realized that I gave people a stick to beat me. And I had to be very careful if I had such a line in the movie to make sure it was not so damn complicated.

What was the best you cut out of the movie?

Nothing.

Okay.

There was nothing I cut out and I did not have to go. There were recordings that I loved. There were moments that I love. There were performances that I love. There is nothing in the story. Everything that was possible left.

What I did for the DVD, I put together … I do not like deleted scenes. For me, the editor's cut is the movie you see, but this movie came to the screen. That's what the process ultimately did. But there were recordings that we really loved. So Eddie Hamilton and I put together a deleted Shots roll, as opposed to deleted scenes. And you will see everything I would have wished for, that I had found a way to fit into the film, but they did not have to be there.

So it's all pictures and not "I wish I could find a way to tell people this or that." [No19659036] No, no. They are all pictures. And you will see it. You will see it very clearly. Yeah, that looks really cool, but no. Where that was in the movie that just slowed things down.

There is a tradition in the M: I films that create great scenery and build a story around them: OK, so Tom Cruise climbs the tallest building in the world. What is he doing there? What were the things that you knew you needed in Fallout

? We knew we would do a helicopter chase. That was Tom's baby. And I knew that I would have some kind of breakout sequence. That was the first idea we talked about when we shot Rogue – which Ethan had achieved by capturing the villain at the end of the last movie, offered the villain the opportunity to come back. And I thought, "What's better than being Ethan the one who dissects him?" – which, of course, then went into the motorbike hunt that was in the chase.

So I knew what that sequence was. And because I knew what they were, or at least about what they would be, I put them aside and focused on the character first, which we did not do in Rogue . Rogue was very, "got a motorbike hunt, got an underwater scene, got the A400, we know we need another action sequence, but we do not know what it is or where it goes in the movie. Go. "Everything that happened in this movie just tried to rationalize why the characters jumped through the rings they were.

And you wanted to tackle Fallout differently?

Yes, I did not want to live in fear of a big explanatory scene that would bring the whole plot of the movie together. Of course that is inevitable. We have this scene. We have such a scene when Alec Baldwin appears in London. So I asked myself, "How do I make this scene exciting? How do I give life to this scene?" And that's where we have the very late idea that it's a conflict rather than an information. Hunley's not coming in to help the team is not here to help Ethan. In all the previous versions I was thrilled with the idea that Hunley showed up to warn and help the team and to be a kind of father figure there. And I realized that hampers the work of the scene. Hunley must be almost like another kind of antagonist, another kind of pressure. So the scene immediately became a conflict. And this conflict, you feel it starts to break the team. He not only rubs Ethan, he sets out on Benji, he goes on Luther. And of course we know more than the characters in the scene. We know what really creates the pressure. And so we watch how the team dissolves. This suddenly took a scene, which is usually the information dump, the obligatory scene that says, "Let me explain why you've seen this movie in the last one and a half hours" [and instead] it acts as drama and not information.

Now to a very nerve-wracking question: Fallout is triggered by Ethan's refusal to sacrifice Luther's life to keep plutonium out of the hands of terrorists, although this could kill millions of people and the idea Resolving the issue of salvaging one's life and rescuing others is being addressed throughout the movie – making it a version of the car problem with exploding helicopters. They have even referred the character of Ving Rhames to the "greater good" that is the basis of utilitarianism. Is it important to turn these ideas into an action blockbuster, even if they are not so important to the plot? Or is it just a matter of your rogue to believe in something, so could it be?

First and foremost, yes, the villain must have a reason. And the stakes must be as big as possible. What we never see in a movie is the villain. These films are safe and the stakes are never felt. You will be discussed, but you can not see the catastrophic results. You will not experience Ethan & # 39; s worst nightmares. What you see in the opening sequence of the film up to the credits is that Ethan's worst nightmares are fulfilled not only personally but also professionally. So you can experience all these things in their worst way and then I start the movie again, and the movie starts again with a clean vest. Hopefully there will be a noticeable relief as you go into the credits and say, "Oh, my God, for a minute, I thought that was a terrible mission: Impossible movie, and now I understand it I look Mission Impossible . "That was the draft.


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