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Mission Impossible 7's Flashback Mystery Woman Was Almost Played By A De-Aged Major Star
2023/07/27

Warning! Spoilers ahead for Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One.

Summary

Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One director Christopher McQuarrie considered de-aging Julia Roberts for flashback scenes in the film. De-aging technology was ultimately deemed far too expensive and distracting. The focus should be on the story, not the technology. Flashback scenes may still be included in future films to provide context, but practical action and exciting stunts should continue to take precedence over de-aging effects.

Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One director Christopher McQuarrie reveals that the film's flashback scenes almost featured a de-aged version of one major female Hollywood star.

Tom Cruise returns as superspy Ethan Hunt in the latest installment of the long-running action franchise, this time facing off against an AI threat known as The Entity and its human emissary Gabriel (Esai Morales). To establish Gabriel's past with Ethan, the film features several flashback sequences of the villain shooting a mystery woman named Marie (Mariela Garriga) and seemingly framing Ethan for her death in 1989.

Now, in a new interview on part one of the Empire Spoiler Specials podcast (via SlashFilm), McQuarrie reveals that plans for the Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One flashback scenes were originally much more involved.

In addition to de-aging Cruise, the director reveals that he was interested in casting Julia Roberts and de-aging her for the scene. Check out McQuarrie's full comment below:

"If you hire Esai Morales and Tom Cruise and de-age them, and then hire some 23-year-old woman to be their confidant in Berlin in 1989, that's bull---t. So now we started looking at it and saying, 'Who's Marie going to be? Who from that era would Marie have been? I said, 'OK, if I were doing this sequence, it would be Tom in, say, 1989. It would be Tony Scott's 'Mission: Impossible.' That's who would have been directing the movie before Brian De Palma, you know, in that era.

"We looked at 'Days of Thunder' and we looked at the style of it, and we started thinking what would it look like if Tony Scott had shot this, and who would it have been? I looked back at who was the ingénue, who was the breakout star in 1989? And right around then was 'Mystic Pizza.' And I was like, 'Oh my God. Julia Roberts, a then-pre-"Pretty Woman" Julia Roberts, as this young woman.'

"The only way I could have seen doing the sequence justice [using de-aging] was to somehow convince Julia Roberts to come in and be this small role at the beginning of this story. And of course, 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.

'

"And then I got the bill for de-aging those people before their salaries were even factored into it. 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 train by the time we were done.

"It was so ... the force multiplier of — and the way we shoot scenes, and the fluidity, and the camera movement. And of course, that wouldn't be the style of the movie in 1989. That wouldn't make sense if you were shooting an '89 'Mission' like a 2023 'Mission.'"

Mission: Impossible Doesn't Need De-Aging

Speaking previously about the decision not to de-age Cruise for Mission: Impossible 7's flashbacks, McQuarrie stresses that the effect ultimately was deemed too much of a distraction. The de-aging is either distracting because it's very good or distracting because it doesn't work, but either way it takes the audience out of the scene – they're focusing on the technology at work instead of on the story.

This element of taking audiences out of the story is in combination with the prohibitive cost of doing the effect. With the Mission: Impossible franchise and Cruise now firmly interested in pulling off the most dangerous and exciting stunts in action movie history, this money is evidently better spent on bringing these types of practical elements to life.

The Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One flashback scene, as it is, conveys what is important to the story – the fact that Gabriel wronged Ethan and forever changed the course of his life – without even showing Cruise's face.

With Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part Two's story to be closely connected to the most recent sequel, it's very possible that additional flashbacks will further flesh out Ethan's past and his connection to Gabriel. Ultimately, though, these scenes are only needed to add flavor and context to the action taking place in the present, which is much more exciting. While it certainly would've been fun to see de-aged versions of Roberts and Cruise on-screen together in Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One, it's evidently for the best that McQuarrie decided to go in another direction.

Source: Empire Spoiler Specials (via SlashFilm)

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