Saturday, August 4, 2018

Deep Diving Into the Mind of Christopher McQuarrie

This summer, I have seen every major film. But there is only one I want to see again. This time, in IMAX. Yeah, I’m talking about Mission Impossible: Fallout again.

Last week I wrote about sixth film in the Mission Impossible franchise. In the week since, I read every article I could find and watched every video featurette (discussions of the heists, that HALO jump, English slang, and the oh-so-charming one where Tom Cruise gets James Corden to jump out of a plane) but the crown jewel was the deep dive into the mind of director Christopher McQuarrie. Specifically I’m talking about his interview with the Empire Film Podcast. Host Chris Hewitt and McQuarrie talk. And talk. And talk. In fact, their interview is longer than MI: Fallout, which is the longest film of the entire series. But you will never be bored. You’ll want them to keep on going.

You might’ve already heard about some of the tidbits from this interview. Yeah, I’m talking about MustacheGate. Henry Cavill, deep into the filming of Fallout, was called back for reshoots on Justice League. But he had grown a mustache. Superman doesn’t have a mustache. What to do. McQuarrie relates the honest tale.

He also discusses the conspicuous absence of Jeremy Renner. His character, Brandt, starred in the two previous films, so why wasn’t he in Fallout? Again, the answer is as basic as it gets.

Those are likely the headline-grabbing pieces that might get someone to invest nearly three hours of listening. But that’s not the best. Not even close. The real gems of this interview is getting into the head of McQuarrie as he discusses, in intricate detail, aspects of the film. He talks about movie making in general, but most of his points can easily be applied to art of writing fiction. It was a master class in storytelling and making choices. More than once McQuarrie faced a deadline while shooting this film, and in nearly every time, he had to improvise. We writers talk about pantsing vs. plotting. The creation of Fallout is as close to pantsing as I’ve ever heard.

Best thing about the end of this episode? It’s only part 1. Part 2 arrives next week.

Do yourself a favor and listen to this interview. I bet you’ll come away not only with a greater appreciation of the film, but you’ll get a spark of creativity to boot. And sometimes, we all need a little spark.

You can find the interview here or via your favorite podcast app (I use and love Overcast).

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