By the time the nineties came around, the United States thinks it high time to have their own version of super spy James Bond on the big screen. Smart, charismatic, and a ladies’ man, some would argue that M:I spy Ethan Hunt is better than his British counterpart (although you have to admit, Bond’s accent is divine).
However, this is not pitting both spies against each other, this is about the multimillion dollar Mission: Impossible franchise that solidified Tom Cruise’s star in Hollywood. Here are some things about the films that real M:I fans should already know.
Before Tom Cruise, M:I was a TV show
Today, you probably can’t imagine Mission: Impossible without conjuring up an image of Tom Cruise as the iconic Ethan Hunt, but before him was an entire slew of characters that made up the Impossible Missions Force (IMF) in the small screen. The original television show, created by Bruce Geller, starred Steven Hill, Barbara Bain, Martin Landau, and Leonard Nimoy, among others. It ran for seven seasons from the years 1966 to 1973, with a total of 171 episodes to its name.
The original cast was almost in the movie
Because of the show’s popularity, the original cast was asked to appear in the movie—a would-have-been interesting situation with the TV and movie characters acting side by side. However, the producers of the film wanted the original cast to be killed off early in the film, which is something that Martin Landau wasn’t too keen on. It also seemed that the rest of the original cast shared the same sentiments because they all declined to appear alongside Cruise on the big screen.
They also really hated it
Mission: Impossible themes both translated the same way in film and television; however, after declining to appear in the film, the original cast did not mince words regarding the multimillion-dollar franchise that their little show has become. They all said they hated the story’s treatment in its film version. In fact, they thought it so bad that TV cast member Greg Morris walked out of the theater because he didn’t like the development and treatment of the characters. Peter Graves also expressed disappointment for the interpretation of his original character, Jim Phelps, in the film.
Director Brian De Palma made a consultant from the TV series quit
Reda Badiyi directed the most number of episodes in the original show, so he was asked by the head of Paramount to be a consultant and adviser on the film. The film’s director, Brian De Palma, approached Badiyi and told how much he enjoyed the original series, but considering the fact that the movie will be nothing like the show, De Palma told him that his presence on set will make both of them uncomfortable. Badiyi thanked De Palma for his honesty, and he left film.
Tom Cruise made a lot of money out of it, though
Today, a lot of actors make upward of $50 million per movie, most of which cost hundreds of millions to make. Back in the 90s, $50 million for an actor quite a lot—heck, even by today’s standards, that’s pretty massive. For an action film, Mission: Impossible had a pretty modest $80 million budget, and out of that amount, Tom Cruise got paid $70 million.
Kidding. Actually, Cruise didn’t get a set fee out of the film, he opted to receive a part of the box office takings—a big risk in case the movie flops, but it was a success, raking in $458 million worldwide.
That iconic scene was pulled off thanks to some change
By change, they mean coins—as in coins in the actor’s shoes.
In the scene where Hunt rappels down a ceiling to hack on a computer, the execution looked amazing, but they didn’t get that result in one take. In fact, Cruise kept hitting his face on the floor because, you know, gravity. So he got this idea to ask a stunt man for change in his pocket and put it in the shoes to weigh them down and restore balance, solving the gravity problem instantly. Who knew chump change could be so useful?
Mission: Impossible was on Betamax
Film enthusiasts these days buy DVD and Blu-Ray copies of the franchise, but the first M:I film was actually the last motion picture from a major film studio that was released on Betamax. This was in 1996, so if you’ve seen this film on anything other than a CD, then you must be feeling quite old by now.
Which of these facts did you already know, and which ones are news to you?