Movies Action & Adventure
It turns out that "Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One" director Christopher McQuarrie had plans for more than one A-list star to appear as they did in their younger years as actors. Before the director scrapped a digitally de-aged Tom Cruise scene for the film, McQuarrie considered putting a digitally de-aged Julia Roberts in the seventh "Mission: Impossible" film.
In an interview with the "Empire Spoiler Specials" film podcast (via /Film), McQuarrie said he once imagined MI7's flashback scene at the beginning of the film as one that had a tone similar to Cruise's 1990 hit "Days of Thunder." While he was imagining if "Days of Thunder" filmmaker Tony Scott — who directed Cruise in the 1986 blockbuster "Top Gun" — helmed a "Mission: Impossible" film in the same era, McQuarrie started mulling over what breakout actor of the day would have starred with Cruise in the MI installment.
"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?" McQuarrie told the podcast. "I looked back at who was the ingenue, 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.'"
Ultimately, actor Mariela Garriga was hired to play the young woman in the flashback scene, but not before McQuarrie and company crunched some numbers to examine the viability of hiring and de-aging Roberts.
While the idea of working in a digitally de-aged Julia Roberts looked good in theory to Christopher McQuarrie, the filmmaker came to realize that hiring Roberts, coupled with the technology costs of de-aging other actors in the "Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One" cast, was financially untenable.
"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," McQuarrie told the Empire podcast. "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 [Morales], and Tom [Cruise], and Henry Czerny.' And then I got the bill for de-aging those people before their salaries were even factored into it."
McQuarrie noted that putting two to three digitally de-aged actors together for the scene would have been as costly as the film's elaborate train scene in the third act of the film. The expensive cost, however, wasn't the only obstacle. There was also the issue of matching the tone of the flashback scenes with the current film. "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," McQuarrie said. "That wouldn't make sense if you were shooting an '89 'Mission' like a 2023 'Mission.'"
Also starring Hayley Atwell, Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames, Rebecca Ferguson, Vanessa Kirby, and Pom Klementieff, "Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One" is playing in theaters.
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