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Julia Roberts Could Have Been Tom Cruise's Love Interest In Mission: Impossible, But It Was Too Expensive


Julia Roberts was the first choice to play a small flashback role in "Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One" to tell more of a backstory for Tom Cruise's character, Ethan Hunt.The idea was to show Ethan and his arch-nemesis Gabriel in the late 1980s to early 1990s, with Roberts playing the younger version of Ethan's girlfriend, Marie.However, the use of de-aging software on Roberts, Cruise, and another actor would have been too expensive and would have distracted audiences from the story, leading to the idea being scrapped due to budget constraints.

When it comes to films, fans know that there are going to be incredible stunts performed and A-list actors sprinkled throughout. As if , who has , was not enough of a draw to bring fans into theaters to watch the action on the big screen, names like , Laurence Fishburne, Vanessa Redgrave, Esai Morales, and more have been a part of the cast over the years to the delight of moviegoers.

Had director and co-writer of , Christopher McQuarrie had his way, there would have been yet another name still added to this list. That name is Julia Roberts.

Roberts, , would not have been a main character in the film, but she would have been an important one that would have told more of a backstory for Cruise's character, Ethan Hunt. That, coupled with the fact that fans would have clamored to theaters to see Cruise and Roberts, , on the silver screen together for the first time would have likely increased the already massive grossed total the film has made. But, alas, the dream was never meant to be of Roberts being Cruise's love interest in because working with her was too expensive.

Julia Roberts Was The First Choice To Play A Small Flashback Role In 'Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One'

In order to show the relationship between Ethan and his arch-nemesis, Gabriel, the . This sequence would show Ethan and Gabriel in the late 1980s to early 1990s.

During this time, Ethan's girlfriend, Marie is still alive as Gabriel has yet to put his plan into effect to kill her and frame Ethan for it. The person that McQuarrie had to play the younger Marie was Roberts.

"We started looking at it and saying, 'Who's Marie going to be? Who from that era would Marie have been?'" McQuarrie explained.

"It would be Tom in, say, 1989, it would be Tony Scott's — that's who would have been directing the movie before Brian De Palma in that era... I looked back at who was the ingénue, who was the breakout star in 1989? And right around then was , and I was like, 'Oh my God. Julia Roberts. A then-pre- Julia Roberts as this young woman."

In order to do the film "justice," McQuarrie wanted to "convince Julia Roberts to come in and be this small role at the beginning of this story." If she were to agree to be in , the role would have been expanded beyond how it was originally written to give Roberts more screen time.

However, in order to do this, Roberts, Cruise, and Morales would have had to be "de-aged," a process that eventually did not make sense for McQuarrie.

Julia Roberts Would Have Had To Be "De-Aged" To Make The Role Believable

Initially, Cruise and Morales were the only two being considered to use the de-aging software in the flashback scene and a younger actress was going to be used in the scene with them.

However, . This is why Roberts' name was thrown into the hat for consideration when the use of de-aging software was being discussed.

"The best de-aging I've ever looked at, all I kept thinking is, 'Wow, this de-aging is really good.' I'm in no way, shape, or form connecting to the story," McQuarrie explained.

"As you're conceptually going through it, you're like, 'Now all anybody's going to be doing is thinking about the de-aging of Julia Roberts, and Esai, and Tom, and Henry Czerny.'"

Recognizing that as amazing as it would be to get these massive stars in a film sequence together, audiences would be too distracted by the magic they were seeing to get anything out of the storyline.

In conjunction with the fact that the sheer cost of using the de-aging software was massive, McQuarrie's idea was dead in the water before it ever truly got any momentum behind it.

Budget Constraints Were Ultimately Why Julia Roberts Did Not Appear On-Screen With Tom Cruise

There is no secret that the budget for the movies is quite large. For , that budget was $291 million. While it may seem like that much money would go a long way, between salaries, stunts, locations, and more, the money goes quickly.

When , the idea was scrapped.

"I got the bill for de-aging those people before their salaries were even factored into it," McQuarrie explained. "And if you put two of them in a shot together, or three of them in a shot together, it would have been as expensive as the [massive third act action scene set on the] train by the time we were done."

Unfortunately, creativity in filmmaking is not always possible when there is not a budget large enough to make incredible ideas happen.

While McQuarrie did make a great flashback sequence using Mariela Garriga as Marie, there is no doubt that if the de-aging software had been just a bit better and the budget larger, the flashbacks that the audiences would have experienced would have been one-of-a-kind.

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