Update: Paramount has confirmed that Christopher McQuarrie will direct Mission: Impossible 5. Producer/star Tom Cruise said, “Chris is an extraordinary filmmaker who will deliver the heart-pounding action and thrills that audiences around the world have come to expect from the Mission: Impossible franchise.”
It took 12 years for director Christopher McQuarrie to follow up his divisive 2000 debut, The Way of the Gun, with a sophomore effort, but it’s looking like we’re not going to have to wait nearly as long between his second film and his third. That second film, Jack Reacher, didn’t look like a sure thing by any means. It had a generic title that wasn’t likely to capture the imaginations of casual audiences, it defied fans of its source material by casting minuscule pretty boy Tom Cruise in the role of the protagonist, who was traditionally viewed as being a hulking lump of a man, and it was being brought to us by a director who had only made one small action film that only managed to amass a small, cult fandom.
Despite any unease audiences had going in, however, Jack Reacher proved to be a really entertaining action movie, and an entertaining Tom Cruise-starring action movie to boot. So as soon as it came out and didn’t get savaged by audiences and critics, rumors started flying around that Paramount was looking to put him on the next installment of their most valuable Cruise-led franchise, the Mission: Impossible series. Well, it’s looking like those rumors weren’t just rumors, because today McQuarrie went straight to his fans and confirmed his involvement.
Okay, so maybe “confirmed his involvement” is overstating things a bit. It’s more like McQuarrie went straight to his fans to give them a cryptic message. But, honestly, what was said wasn’t exactly subtle. McQuarrie’s message was cheekily cryptic, but painfully transparent. It’s not hard to connect the dots and figure out what it means when a filmmaker who’s rumored to be directing the fifth Mission: Impossible movie gets on his Twitter account [via Coming Soon] and tweets the following:
This, of course, marks the biggest challenge/opportunity McQuarrie has seen as a director yet. The Mission: Impossible series has developed over time into being a style showcase for a series of big name auteurs who are each allowed to helm one installment. Even if Brad Bird hadn’t just shown everyone up by making by far the best M:I movie yet with Ghost Protocol—a film that got a declining franchise back up over the $200m mark domestically—people would still likely be debating if a guy sitting behind the camera of only his third film as a director was really worthy of following in the footsteps of an established auteur like Brian De Palma or an industry titan like J.J. Abrams.
Will McQuarrie be up to the challenge at hand? Given the way he was able to surprise everyone with Jack Reacher, there’s probably a good chance he is. And that experience he has working with Cruise already certainly isn’t hurting him any either. Given the assumption that this wasn’t just one of McQuarrie’s drunk friends grabbing his phone and sending out a tweet to goof on us, what do you think about the decision to make him the next Mission: Impossible director? Will he ensure that this remains a franchise that could go on well into Cruise’s 60s and 70s?