Brad Bird Chooses to Accept the ‘Mission: Impossible’ Director’s Chair
Photo: Paramount Pictures
And he didn't just ease into it either. He jumped in headfirst with the big -- and I mean IMAX-sized -- "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol." The movie has Tom Cruise returning to the role of IMF superspy Ethan Hunt for a fourth time. He's joined by Simon Pegg, reprising his character from "M:I3," along with newcomers Paula Patton, Josh Holloway, and two-time Oscar-nominee Jeremy Renner.
As you can see by the new exclusive photo, this new "Mission" movie looks to be just as explosive as each previous installment. I recently was able to speak to Brad Bird about the film, and he told me how the shot of Cruise as Hunt walking away as the Kremlin explodes behind him kicks off the movie with a bang. Plus, he shared why he decided to make his live-action debut with this movie, and just who came up with the notion of hanging Cruise off the tallest building in the world.
Matt McDaniel: So can you give us a little background on how this photo fits in with the story?
Brad Bird: Well, it's a sort of an event that kicks everything into motion. Without going into too much detail because... the fun of this film -- and any film I supposed — is being surprised. But it forces a situation where Ethan Hunt and his team [are] cutoff from the usual resources, and they have a hell of a problem to deal with and they have to kind of do it on their own. They're a group cutoff and that's what that Ghost Protocol of the title means. Essentially, they don't have any big support from the IMF. They're out on their own.
MM: So I'm assuming it was important for everybody to mix up the way that the previous movies have worked.
BB: I think that in some ways, yes, and in other ways… if one were going to ask, "If you were wanted to do a tent-pole [movie], why did you want to do this one?" The answer would be -- Tom's initial idea with the franchise, which is consistent with this one is that each director of the franchise kind of gets to put a little more of a stamp on it. I mean, the Brian De Palma "Mission" is very different from the John Woo "Mission," which is different from the J.J. [Abrams] "Mission."
And that appealed to me because I kind of had some different things in mind for it and was given the opportunity to do many of them. One of their fun moments when I first got on -- and this thing was moving fast when I jumped aboard -- was, "Do you have anything that you want to see in this spy film?" And I was able to go, "Yeah, I'll come to think of it. There's a few things I can think of," and they embraced them.
So I'm interested to seeing how the audience response to the surprise of some of the things in the movie.
MM: There was sort of a '60s spy movie aesthetic to "The Incredibles." How important was "Mission Impossible" the TV series to you as a kid?
BB: I watched the show many times. I liked it because you're presenting them with the problem and then even though they planned some things, often times, they had to improvise, and that's always fun to see. There are some episodes where they simply came in with the plan and executed it. But in a lot of them, they plan to a point and then something doesn't go the way they want it to and they have to sort of respond to it.