Christopher McQuarrie

Paramount

At the start of Doug Liman’s Edge of Tomorrow our hero, Major Bill Cage (Tom Cruise), is a coward. He’s more than ready to run from a fight he knows he’s not equipped for. That’s not the kind of hero we expect from a blockbuster, but it’s the type of subversive choice we should expect from screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie, who had a hand in bringing Hiroshi Sakurazak’s graphic novel, All You Need Is Kill, to the big screen. A protagonist unwilling to help save the world isn’t the only fresh idea in Edge of Tomorrow. Even when Cage becomes a fierce soldier, he’s still no match for the bad-ass helicopter-blade-wielding Rita Vrastaski (Emily Blunt). She is the hero of this movie. Vrastaski drives the story. Cruise, once again playing a role a lot of movie stars would pass on, consistently pushed for his co-star to be this film’s true hero. Cruise and McQuarrie’s creative partnership is built on risky choices. Valkyrie, a one-eyed Nazi movie about killing Hitler, was released on Christmas day in 2008. They took a crack at Lee Child’s Jack Reacher, the kind of character that doesn’t think twice about putting a bullet in the head of his unarmed enemy even after they’ve surrendered. And now, with Edge of Tomorrow, they’ve championed a project that follows an unlikely hero in a story not based on a well-known property. The two men are now hard at work on the next Mission: Impossible, but Christopher McQuarrie was kind enough to speak with us weeks after Edge of Tomorrow‘s release. The very candid Mr. McQuarrie openly discussed his […]

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Tom Cruise Dumbfounded in Edge of Tomorrow

Doug Liman‘s Edge of Tomorrow is easily one of the most beloved films of the year. It’s a hit with critics and has garnered passionate reactions from its fans. The only problem people seem to have is with its ending. Before we go any further: beware of spoilers if you haven’t seen Edge of Tomorrow yet. If you haven’t, shame on you.

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Jack Reacher

Once Lee Child fans got over Tom Cruise not having the exact physicality of Jack Reacher, they realized Cruise nailed the most important part of the character: his spirit. By the end of writer/director Christopher McQuarrie‘s adaptation you wanted more adventures with the tiny brawler. The 2012 film managed to do that without any loose threads or blatant sequel flags, but instead ended on a note that says everything about the titular character. Reacher is a rare blockbuster protagonist: he knows who he is, there’s no self-doubt, and, best of all, he has a good sense of humor. Make no mistake, the character spawned a blockbuster hit. The film only cost $60m to make and earned over $218m worldwide, before going on to make a killing on home video. The character doesn’t face costly world-ending scenarios, so this is a series that could continue without an astronomically advancing price tag. On paper this reads as a no-brainer franchise, so why haven’t we heard much about a potential sequel? We asked Edge of Tomorrow co-writer Christopher McQuarrie that very question.

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Edge of Tomorrow

Too many blockbusters mistake moroseness for seriousness, often forgetting the key ingredient for a great summer movie: actual fun. Until now, this summer has been no different with its self-serious tentpole releases. Fortunately, director Doug Liman hasn’t forgotten how to craft real escapist entertainment, despite his last popcorn film Jumper suggesting otherwise. His latest, Edge of Tomorrow, is maybe his most accomplished work to date, a massive blockbuster with scale, heart, plenty of humor, and no shortage of coolness. This, ladies and gentleman, is what we call a summer blockbuster. In the not too distant future, non-Earthlings invade Earth. After a series of devastating blows, new forms of weaponry like the mecha suits in the film are employed. The poster child for the war and the mecha suits is Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt), a great soldier who has earned the title “full metal bitch.” While she’s out there fighting the war in Europe, the wimpy Major William Cage (Tom Cruise) is back home promoting it. Cage has never seen a day in combat, but that changes when a higher up played by Brendan Gleeson sees Cage for what he is. Gleeson’s character sends Cage to the front lines of an attack, which, of course, does not sit well with the Major. His first few minutes on the battlefield don’t go so well: he dies. But as he does, a rare alien’s blood gets in his system, causing him to keep waking up before the slaughter has even happened. He lives again, dies again, lives again, dies again, and so on in a way that would make Phil Connors happy. Cage also […]

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MGM Home Entertainment

There’s something about screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie‘s writing that brings out the best in director Bryan Singer as evidenced by the inarguable fact that The Usual Suspects and Valkryie are easily his finest films. They have a real efficiency to them, both on the page and on the screen. The cleaner the story, the more proficient Singer is behind the camera. (McQuarrie and Singer also collaborated on Jack the Giant Slayer, but let’s just forget about that misstep.) In the next month they both have films coming out, neither of which they collaborated on. Singer returns to the comic book genre with X-Men: Days of Future Past, while McQuarrie worked on the script for Edge of Tomorrow, which, of course, you should all be excited for. It’s been nearly 20 years since The Usual Suspects, and the film holds up incredibly well. What makes the film stand the test of time isn’t its famous twist, but its appealing group of skillful misfits. This is a great ensemble of characters: they’re all distinct, have their own moments to shine and are exceptionally good at their jobs. McQuarrie is a real pro when it comes to writing characters who operate at the top of their game.

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news star blazers

This just in from the Department of Unfortunate Developments, Christopher McQuarrie has been announced as writer, director, and producer of a big-budget, Hollywood remake of Star Blazers. “But Rob,” you’re thinking or possibly saying aloud to yourself while sitting in your workplace cubicle or restroom stall, “aren’t you a big fan of both McQuarrie and the seminal animated series from Japan that first showed you what it was to become emotionally invested in human cartoon characters?” Okay office weirdo, I’ll bite.

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christophermcquarrie

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 […]

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world_war_z_ver14_xlg

Now that Marc Forster’s World War Z has hit theaters (earning both a respectable-enough $66M since its Friday release and a newly-revitalized sequel plan), it’s finally appropriate to really dig deeply into what the troubled production’s many changes meant to the final product. Well-publicized delays, a bloated budget, and questions about the relationship between its director and the rest of its team have all plagued the film, but the most enduring question about World War Z has long centered on late-breaking script edits that chopped off an entire act and reimagined not only how the film ended, but how the emotional aspects of the film worked to make that new ending work. Of course, there are spoilers ahead if you have not yet seen the film. Last week, we finally got some insight into the long-buzzed-about scripting changes made to the film by Damon Lindelof, Drew Goddard, and (to a lesser extent) Christopher McQuarrie. While it was no secret that the final act of the film had been wildly altered by the three’s post-original-filming contributions (millions of dollars of physical reshoots will remove the secrecy from just about anything), the finer details of those contributions were not readily available until Mike Ryan at The Huffington Post got word from a source about what exactly was changed, edited, and added by the scribes. In short, the entirety of the third act was added (and the original, “Battle of Russia”-centric act was removed) and a related set of smaller scenes that pepper […]

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World War Z Movie

The problems involved with getting Max Brooks’ “World War Z” to translate fluidly to the big screen in the Marc Forster-directed and Brad Pitt-starring film of the same name have been documented seemingly since the film was first announced, with a significant emphasis placed on scripting troubles that eventually turned into final product troubles that necessitated massive reshoots. Even in its early stages, the script for World War Z seemed plagued; as far back as April of 2010, a long-promised final script by Matthew Michael Carnahan (as originally written by J. Michael Straczynski) was continually dangled over both fans and the production itself. Even when that incarnation of the script was (finally) finished, World War Z still wasn’t ready for the big screen – though it was eventually filmed as such. After filming was completed last year, the scripting problems of the film made themselves so obvious to the Paramount brass that the studio brought in not one, not two, but three well-known scribes to “crack” the ending of the film – a rescripted final act that led to weeks of reshoots, millions of dollars spent, and the complete scrapping of a reportedly epic battle set in Russia. A banger of an article written by Laura M. Holson in the June issue of Vanity Fair has so far presented the most wide and researched look at the troubles that ate away at the zombie film, but even that piece wasn’t able to answer the big question – who wrote what? […]

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cc jack reacher

I’m usually not all that interested in a film’s box-office haul because it has no bearing on the quality of the movie, but I make exceptions when it’s a film in need of a sequel. Jack Reacher deserves a sequel. American audiences weren’t much help here as they failed to turn out in big numbers for what is essentially a mid-budget action throwback. Thankfully though the addition of overseas earnings was enough to nudge Paramount in the right direction. The film is only the second with Christopher McQuarrie in the director’s chair (with his first coming twelve years prior), and it stars Tom Cruise in the title role as a drifter seemingly unable to avoid trouble. It’s a damn fine movie and hopefully not the last adaptation we see of Lee Child‘s bestselling novels. Keep reading to see what I learned from the commentary track for Jack Reacher.

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Christopher McQuarrie has been trusted for quality ever since his screenwriting debut with The Usual Suspects. It’s an intriguing movie, not only because of the twist we all know, but it’s made even more interesting by the fact McQuarrie knew next to nothing about the 101 rules of screenwriting. It was unconventional, surprising, and entertaining. Most of those adjectives don’t apply to his adaptation of Lee Child‘s character Jack Reacher, but “entertaining” surely does. The lack of surprise becomes apparent from scene one in McQuarrie’s film. It is a mystery story that we already know the answer for, at least a part of it. The first act comes down to James Barr’s (Joseph Sikora), a former Army sniper, involvement in a horrific shooting. We know most of that answer in frame one, and that’s a smart choice on McQuarrie’s part. Based on conventions alone, we already know whether Barr is innocent or not, so McQuarrie doesn’t try to string the audience along for that meaningless mystery, telling us flat out from the start if he did it or not.

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Jack the Giant Killer

How many people out there in the world have Jack the Giant Slayer as their most anticipated movie of 2013? With the exception of maybe Bryan Singer‘s mother — and that’s a big maybe — probably not many. That’s most likely due to the film’s nonexistent buzz. The first trailer landed with a major thud, so major I still recall the awkward dead silence and indifference towards it at a screening. Shortly after that trailer dropped, the movie lost its summer 2012 release date. Months later the movie received even more disheartening news. After Digital Domain hit hard times, word started to spread the project was in such bad shape employees were calling it “Jack The Company Killer.” Hopefully in the time since all this news broke, some serious measures have been taken. Sadly, this new trailer would lead us to believe otherwise. Apple premiered it, since Warner Bros. wanted to show off how wonderful these CG giants appear in high-definition:

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Mission Impossible - Ghost Protocol

It must feel pretty good to be Christopher McQuarrie right now. The writer/director has Jack Reacher coming out in a month’s time, which is hopefully as cool as the footage we’ve seen, but that’s not the only reason McQuarrie must be pleased with himself. With the big promotional push for a risky Christmas Day release, Paramount is putting a lot of confidence into McQuarrie’s movie. Now, with news of the Usual Suspects writer in line to helm Mission: Impossible 5, the studio clearly wants to stay in the McQuarrie business. And good for him. Ever since The Way of the Gun, he’s been stuck in director’s jail, or at least it seemed that way. His excellent, overlooked directorial debut was critically divisive and far from a box office hit. His lack of directorial work doesn’t mean he hasn’t been keeping busy, though. Over the past few years he’s struck a good working relationship with Tom Cruise, and after Jack Reacher, it’s apparently gotten better.

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Jack Reacher Tom Cruise Robert Duvall

Lee Child has published seventeen novels with lead character Jack Reacher, and this December one of them will finally be hitting the big screen. Reacher was a military policeman once upon a time, but just because he no longer carries a badge doesn’t mean he’s forgotten wrong from right. Now he wanders the nation from one state to the next, and like Bruce Banner and Sam Beckett before him he helps those unable to help themselves. “One Shot” (renamed simply Jack Reacher for the movie) is the ninth book in the series and sees him investigating a mass shooting in Middle America and the man arrested for the crime. Reacher has some very specific characteristics, mostly focused on his size, that should have realistically precluded any actor under 6’3″ from playing him onscreen. Hollywood though is a magical place where respect for the written word isn’t always a priority, so Tom Cruise was cast in the role. Cruise, as we all know, stands 3’7″ which led to a fair amount of bitching and moaning online about his giant ego in a tiny body ruining such a kick-ass literary character. But books and movies are two different mediums, and changes big and small are inevitable when adapting between them meaning the resulting films should be judged on their own merits. We got a glimpse of those merits with the first teaser back in July, but today the full trailer has dropped offering us a look at the story, writer/director Christopher McQuarrie‘s sense […]

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While we may always wonder what a Jack Reacher film would look like with a star who actually fits the description of the character from Lee Child‘s popular book series (you know, “a giant, standing at 6′ 5″ tall with a 50-inch chest, and weighing between 210 and 250 pounds…Reacher is strong enough to break a man’s neck with one hand and kill a villain with a single punch to the head or chest”), star Tom Cruise seems pretty determined to get down to the neck-cracking, despite his smaller frame. In the film’s first teaser trailer, Cruise’s Reacher breaks approximately one bone every twenty seconds (you know, other people’s bones – it doesn’t look like Reacher can even bleed), and no matter how disgusting the necessary sound effects are, it’s a riveting little bit of marketing. See just how much Jack Reacher doesn’t care about the law (and does care about cracking skulls), after the break.

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The Wikipedia page for Lee Child‘s Jack Reacher character informs readers that Reacher, former Army Military Police Major, lone wolf, and total badass “is a giant, standing at 6′ 5″ tall with a 50-inch chest, and weighing between 210 and 250 pounds. He has ice-blue eyes and dirty blond hair. He has very little body fat, and his muscular physique is completely natural…He is exceptionally strong but is not a good runner. Reacher is strong enough to break a man’s neck with one hand and kill a villain with a single punch to the head or chest. In a fight against a 7 foot, 400 lb steroid-using thug, Reacher was able to lift his opponent into the air and drop him on his head.” Of course, Reacher is being played by Tom Cruise in the upcoming adaptation of the Child book “One Shot,” now just titled Reacher. Cruise, at the very least, has blue eyes. While it’s easy enough to mock the choice of Cruise for this highly psychical role (easy enough that this very article has done it at least twice already), buzz about the film has been strong, and screenwriter and director Christopher McQuarrie remains confident that Cruise is the right man for the job. So, of course, here comes the world’s first look at Cruise as Reacher, and he’s…standing in front of a car? Cool.

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After weeks of speculation, Paramount has finally fired the shot that someone, somewhere might actually care about – their adaptation of Lee Child‘s novel “One Shot” will not be called One Shot, but just Jack Reacher, after the character it chronicles. Tom Cruise stars in the film, directed by Christopher McQuarrie, which centers on a badass ex-military cop named, uh, Jack Reacher, who is the star of sixteen of Child’s thrilling and popular novels. Cruise has come under fire for his casting, particularly because Reacher’s big build is a large part of his identity – in the books, he’s described as being a hulking 6’5″ beast – but the actor has repeatedly sounded off about the role and his take onit. However, previews of some of the film’s footage have played quite well, so it’s possible that Cruise has made the role his own and will dash any misgivings when it hits screens later this year, on December 21st.

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Lee Child‘s Jack Reacher series of novels continue to hit the bestseller lists, and this December they’ll get their first crack at the box office when One Shot hits theaters. The film is about an ex-MP who gets caught up in murder investigation when a military sniper kills five seemingly random civilians. The film is written and directed by Christopher McQuarrie (The Usual Suspects, The Way of the Gun) and co-stars Richard Jenkins, Rosamund Pike, Robert Duvall, and Werner Freaking Herzog as a villain. Oh, and it stars Tom Cruise in the lead role as Jack Reacher. It’s that last bit that continues to rile fans of Child’s books as the recurring character is consistently described as a 6’5″ monster of a man whose physical presence plays a role in his every encounter. Some readers just don’t think Cruise is up to the task. But footage from the film has just screened at CinemaCon in Las Vegas, and if the report from Cinema Blend is any indication Cruise may just have a shot at winning over some non-believers.

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When we’re introduced to Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford‘s white-collar characters in the opening scene of The Cabin in the Woods, it becomes wildly apparent Drew Goddard‘s film is not your typical horror picture. They’re tasked with delivering an exceptional amount of exposition, which Goddard and Joss Whedon let them deliver with a pure sense of glee. Unlike Jenkins’s previous horror film performance, The Father in Let Me In, this is a character who is about as Average Joe as they come, and he just happens to have a not-so-Average-Joe occupation. Here’s what Jenkins had to say about comedic exposition, the brilliance of unexpected filmmaking, and why his character Ted in Burn After Reading deserved getting axed to death:

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Talks of a sequel to Top Gun have been happening for at least over a year now. It’s clear that at some level, someone from Paramount is trying to make this happen. Details on the project have been pretty lacking, though. What would this sequel be about? Would Tom Cruise star? Would he even appear? Who would be directing? Well, MTV recently sat Cruise down and threw some of these very important questions his way, and his responses we’re actually kind of helpful. When asked about the possibility of this sequel actually coming to fruition Cruise responded, “We’re working on it.” Past that he doesn’t seem to have too many details about what stage the process is in, however. He commented on an old rumor that Christopher McQuarrie was writing the script by saying, “I don’t think Chris [McQuarrie] is going to write it. Chris is directing One Shot right now, which I’m acting in. We’ve got to go back in January and finish it.” Everyone already knew this though, because it’s been widely reported that X-Men: First Class scribes Ashley Miller and Zack Stentz are currently working on the script for the Top Gun sequel. I suppose his input on how far along this project is should be taken with a grain of salt. What this new interview does confirm, however, is that Cruise is the guy firmly in mind to star in this movie, and Tony Scott is definitely the guy who intends to come back to direct. […]

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