M:I-Fallout director fields fan questions

A clapperboard from Mission: Impossible-Fallut

Christopher McQuarrie, the writer-director of Mission: Impossible-Fallout, has spent the past few days answering questions from fans on Twitter.

The movie, due out on in late July, was a difficult production, including star-producer breaking an ankle.

Still, McQuarrie often takes to social media do discuss current projects. Some of his answers are jokes (at least they appear to be jokes).

Here’s a look at some of questions with McQuarrie’s answers.

Did Tom Cruise have to use a stunt double after breaking his ankle during a stunt?

McQuarrie: “No. There is not a single shot in Fallout where Tom uses a double.

Does he do his own OTS shots?

McQuarrie: “And inserts. If you see Ethan’s foot in a brake pedal, it’s Tom.”

Who is your favorite super hero?

McQuarrie: “El Kabong.”

Will you and Tom record another audio commentary for the Blu Ray release of MI6?

McQuarrie: “Count on it.”

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Matt Helm movie project resurfaces, Deadline says

 

Illustration of Matt Helm on the back cover of the first edition of The Wrecking Crew, the second Helm novel.

The Matt Helm movie project that has been kicking around Paramount for years has resurfaced, according to Deadline: Hollywood.

The latest version of the project has Bradley Cooper attached to star, and Tom Shepherd hired to write a script, the entertainment news website reported.

“George Clooney, Grant Heslov, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci are attached as executive producers, and Steven Spielberg is involved in some capacity,” Deadline said.

Fans of Donald Hamilton’s original novels have long wanted to see a serious version of Helm. Four spoofs starring Dean Martin and loosely based on Hamilton novels were made in the 1960s. Helm was also turned into a private eye in a short-lived series with Tony Franciosa in 1975.

In the novels, Helm was a “counter assassin” and told in the first person. They were a mix of Mickey Spillane (in terms of tone) but often had plots as fanciful as Ian Fleming’s.

Hamilton penned 28 Helm novels — 27 were published from 1960 to 1993, while the Hamilton family has held on to the unpublished 28th in case a movie got made. Hamilton died in 2006.

Whether anything comes of this effort remains to be seen.

Mission: Impossible-Fallout trailer debuts

Paramount aired a Mission: Impossible-Fallout commercial during the second quarter of the Super Bowl and released a full trailer online.

The spot, among other things, includes star Tom Cruise dangling, and then falling from, a helicopter. There was also footage of high-intensity fight scenes. It also includes the stunt where Cruise broke an ankle.

The basic theme of the ad is that the past of Ethan Hunt (Cruise) is catching up with him.

You can view the trailer below. The film is due out July 27.

First Mission: Impossible – Fallout poster revealed

The official Tom Cruise account on Twitter unveiled the first Mission: Impossible – Fallout poster today.

Also today, the Cruise Twitter account had a short video teasing the movie’s trailer.

The producer-star and Paramount are ramping up publicity for the movie, the sixth installment of the M:I film series that began in 1996. The first trailer is scheduled to be shown on Sunday during the Super Bowl.

The poster’s image isn’t detailed. It shows a man (presumably Cruise’s Ethan Hunt) dangling from a helicopter.

The movie is scheduled for a July 27 release date. Cruise broke an ankle during filming last year, an event that scrambled the film’s production schedule.

Here is the Tweet that came out today:

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Here is the tweet teasing the trailer.

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Eon’s Rhythm Section Shuts Down, THR Reports

Barbara Broccoli

The Rhythm Section, Eon Productions’ non-007 spy film, has shut down production after star Blake Lively suffered a hand injury in December, The Hollywood Reporter said.

The key detail from the story:

Lively sustained the injury while doing a stunt on the Dublin (Ireland) set in December. At the time, production was temporarily suspended while she took time to heal. However, sources close to the situation now tell THR that Lively’s initial hand surgery did not go as planned and the actress must undergo a second surgery and will need more time to recover.

It is currently unclear when filming will recommence. One insider said that just under half the movie had been shot while another source said it could be five months before the production resumes.

The Rhythm Section is part of Eon boss Barbara Broccoli’s growing portfolio of non-007 projects.

The project was announced in July. It’s based on a novel by Mark Burnell. It’s currently slated for a Feb. 22, 2019 release date via Paramount, though a lengthy shutdown may change that.

Bond 25, the next James Bond film, has announced a November 2019 release date in the United States, but has no announced distributor.

Broccoli has diversified from Bond, being involved with smaller-scale dramas, such as Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool, as well as plays.

The Rhythm Section has a budget of about $50 million, financed by Global Road, formerly IM Global, THR said. That’s about 20 percent of the budget (after product placement deals) of 2015’s SPECTRE, the most recent Bond film.

“Hiatus on the production of The Rhythm Section has been extended due to an ongoing issue with Blake Lively’s hand injury sustained while filming an action sequence on the action thriller at the end of last year,” Eon said in a statement, according to THR.

Late July: The new hot spy movie release date

Atomic Blonde poster

Through a series of unrelated events, the last weekend of July has emerged as a hot release date in the U.S. for spy movies.

This year’s entry is Atomic Blonde, with Charlize Theron as Lorraine Broughton, an operative adept at both gunplay and hand-to-hand combat. It opens in the U.S. on July 28.

Atomic Blonde is the third spy film in a row to open during the final July weekend.

The streak began with Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation, the fifth installment in star-producer Tom Cruise’s film series.

Rogue Nation originally was set to open on Christmas Day 2015. However, Paramount moved up Rogue Nation’s release to get it out of the way of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which had a Dec. 18, 2015 release date.

The strategy worked. Rogue Nation ended up with a box office of $195 million in the U.S. and Canada and $682.7 million globally.

Rogue Nation also affected another spy movie, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., which came out just two weeks later. Rogue Nation was still going strong and U.N.C.L.E. was No. 3 its opening weekend.

In 2016, both star Matt Damon and director Paul Greengrass returned to the Bourne franchise with Jason Bourne. Universal slotted the movie for a July 29 release date.

Jason Bourne didn’t do quite as well as Rogue Nation, with a U.S.-Canada box office of $162.4 million and $415.5 million worldwide.

Regardless of Atomic Blonde’s box office results later this month, the July spy movie streak already is guaranteed to continue. Paramount has Mission: Impossible 6 scheduled for July 27, 2018. The movie currently is in production.

To a degree, this makes a lot of sense. The “summer” movie release in the U.S. begins in May. Many of the biggest summer films already have been in theaters and late July is a chance for spy films to find an audience.

If you haven’t seen it, here’s one of the trailers of Atomic Blonde.

Bruce Geller: M:I’s renaissance man

Bruce Geller “cameo” as an IMF operative not selected for a mission by Briggs (Steven Hill).

A sixth Mission: Impossible film is in production. There’s plenty of publicity concerning star-producer Tom Cruise, actor Henry Cavill (who has joined the cast of this installment) and writer-director Christopher McQuarrie.

What you won’t find much is mention without whom none of it would be impossible, M:I creator Bruce Geller.

Geller died almost four decades ago in a crash of a twin-engine aircraft. It was a sudden end for someone who had brought two popular series to the air (M:I and Mannix) that ran a combined 15 years on CBS. He was a renaissance man capable of writing, producing, directing and song writing.

Geller, according to The New York Times account of his death, graduated from Yale in 1952, majoring in psychology, sociology and economics. His father, Abraham Geller, was a judge. However, Geller didn’t pursue a law career. (He did end up portraying his father in a 1975 TV movie, Fear on Trial.)

Instead, Geller became a writer of various television series, including Westerns such as Have Gun-Will Travel, The Westerner and The Rifleman. Along the way, he also wrote the lyrics and book for some plays.

By the mid-1960s, Geller was also a producer at Desilu. His brainchild was M:I, whose pilot involved the theft of atomic bombs from a Caribbean dictator unfriendly to the United States.

The pilot was budget at $440,346 with a 13-day shooting schedule, according to Patrick J. White’s The Complete Mission: Impossible Dossier. It came in at $575,744, with 19 days of filming. While series episodes would be more modestly budgeted, it was a preview that M:I was not going to be an easy show to make.

CBS picked up M:I for the 1966-67 season. A year later, the network did the same for Mannix, featuring Mike Connors as a private investigator.

Geller didn’t create the character. Richard Levinson and William Link pitched the concept of a rugged, no-nonsense Joe Mannix coping with the corporate culture of investigative company Intertect.

Geller threw out a Levinson-Link story and wrote his own pilot script. Levinson and Link would be credited as creating the series, with Geller getting a “developed by” credit.

Mannix would be the last Desilu series. During its first season. Lucille Ball sold the company and it would become part of Paramount.

Eventually, that meant trouble for Geller. Paramount wanted to control costs and it eventually barred Geller from the studio lot. He’d continue to be credited as executive producer of both M:I and Mannix but without real input.

The producer moved over to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, where he made a police drama, Bronk, that only lasted one season on CBS (1975-76). Geller also produced and directed a movie with James Coburn about pickpockets, 1973’s Harry In Your Pocket.

Today, Geller is almost a footnote when it comes to the M:I film series, which began in 1996. He does get a credit (“Based on the Television Series Created by Bruce Geller”). But the films are more of a star vehicle for Tom Cruise, including spectacular stunts Cruise does himself.

There’s no way to know what Geller’s reaction would be. And, because he was only 47 when he died, there’s no way to know what Geller may have accomplished had it not been for the 1978 plane crash.

Regardless, Geller crammed a lot of living into his 47 years. At the end of the video below, you can see him collect his Emmy for the Mission: Impossible pilot script.