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July 2015

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Page 19 of 51 18 POST JULY 2015 riter/director/producer Chris McQuarrie got his start with his acclaimed script for The Usual Suspects, directed by Bryan Singer, which won him an Oscar. In 2000 he made his directorial debut with The Way of the Gun, and in 2008 he reteamed with Singer, co-writ- ing the WWII thriller Valkyrie starring Tom Cruise. He followed that up with his script for the global hit The Tourist. In 2012 he reteamed with Cruise on Jack Reacher, which he wrote and directed, and now the pair are back with Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation. In the latest MI installment, which stars Cruise opposite newcomer Rebecca Fer- guson and regulars Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames, Sean Harris and Alec Baldwin, the IMF has disbanded, and with Ethan Hunt out in the cold, the team now faces off against a network of highly skilled special agents, the Syndicate. These highly trained operatives are hellbent on creating a new world order through an escalating series of terrorist attacks. Ethan gathers his team and joins forces with disavowed British agent Ilsa Faust (Ferguson), who may or may not be a member of this rogue nation, as the group faces their most impossible mission yet. The movie was shot by cinematogra- pher Robert Elswit, who won the Oscar for There Will Be Blood, and whose cred- its include Inherent Vice, Nightcrawler, Michael Clayton and the previous Mission: Impossible movie, Ghost Protocol. It was cut by editor Eddie Hamilton (Kingsman: The Secret Service) and extensive VFX were done by Double Negative. Here, in an exclusive interview with Post, the director, whose credits also in- clude Jack the Giant Slayer and Edge of Tomorrow, talks about making the film, the visual effects, and his love of post. What sort of film did you set out to make, and how did you put your own stamp on a famous franchise like this? "We started out wanting to make a continuation of Ghost Protocol. We loved its tone and felt [director] Brad Bird had found a unique voice, one the franchise had always been looking for. So our first draft was very much in that vein, but once we began to arrange all the action sequences in such a way that they all es- calated, the story took on a tone and life of its own, and we just followed it where it went. I tried to do something very different and get out of my comfort zone in terms of the storytelling, and I thought I was going in one direction but the story wanted to go in another." What were the main technical challenges of pulling all this together? "In every instance we were up against the clock. We never had enough time. The movie was big and getting bigger, and it was very difficult to budget the schedule of a film where your narrative is sprawl- ing out ahead of you. It was like laying railroad tracks as you rode the train out of the station. The other big challenge was safety on all the stunts we did that had never been attempted before. And we were constantly trying to show that it really was Tom doing them all, and trying to maintain the high energy without rely- ing on cutting, as you're aiming to insert the audience into a reality where Tom is actually hanging off a plane and so on." How tough was the prep and shoot? "The prep was especially tough as the script kept changing daily, and the shoot was tough because of all the logistics and locations, but it was actually pretty straightforward. We knew what we want- ed to do every day. I'm pretty specific, but I also tend to be very open-minded, especially with the DP, who was really good at breaking me out of my comfort zone. For instance, we had one scene with Sean Harris, the villain, and [DP Elswit] walked around the set and found a really comfortable, elegant way of blocking the scene, but also a way that was very complex to shoot. And I was thinking, 'I've got to get bits of coverage over here, and way back there and so on, with all these different set ups.' And Robert solved it by simply laying 10-feet of tracks with a crane on it so we could shoot the whole thing in one master set up... Generally, it's a miracle that the crew managed to pull the whole shoot off. They were so flexible and responsive to constant change." How early did you have to integrate post into the shoot? "Right from prep, as we had a couple of big set pieces that are very complex with a lot of visual effects. Probably the biggest technical challenge on the shoot was the underwater sequence with Tom, which we shot in the tank at Pinewood. You could only get a few set ups a day — maybe six, and each one was really tricky. So I decided to do each movement in the sequence as a single shot — a series of masters. And that was tough for Tom as he had to do all these takes, holding his breath and doing all the action stuff. We shot it with BY IAIN BLAIR W KEEPING UP A FRANCHISE TRADITION CHRIS MCQUARRIE: MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE — ROGUE NATION DIRECTOR'S CHAIR Director McQuarrie integrated post early on.

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