[Laughs.] Even when you first met with Rebecca Ferguson, was she the obvious choice?

Yeah. No, we knew the minute we saw her. We knew the minute we laid eyes on Rebecca that this was the one and that she was going to be great. When she walked in the room for that audition, for that first general meeting with Tom and I, we were just over the moon. We knew we had what we were looking for. Tom and I really have a love of sort of that classic movie star. We’re both great lovers of Ingrid Bergman. And she really spoke to that quality.

When Ilsa saves Ethan Hunt in the underwater sequence, you got feedback saying an audience needs to see her dive in to save him. On a movie of this scale, how much questioning is there over what an audience really needs to know?

Really, for us it all comes down to what they need to know when they need to know it. If you are telling the story in the audience’s point of view… and Mission: Impossible is very much doing that. Mission is a movie that relies on telling you a story that’s very much subjectively from Ethan’s point-of-view. As long as you know what Ethan knows when Ethan knows it, then you are with the story. All we were told then are those few little secrets. You know the ones I’m talking about. It’s at the point when… the things that are going to make a pleasant surprise. I believe as long as the audience knows where the character is in the story and what the character is trying to achieve and where the character is going, they’ll go with you anywhere. That’s the most important thing: where am I in the movie and what’s happening?

Looking at that underwater sequence, after Edge of Tomorrow, you knew it’d be more time time efficient to go with longer takes. Are there any other scenes where you faced restrictions, but those restrictions led to great results?

Virtually everything you are looking at is the end result of some excruciating restriction. We ran out of time in the opera house. We had four short winter days to shoot the entire A400 sequence, which essentially means I had about 24 hours of total time to shoot everything that you are seeing in that sequence. All of that stuff forces you to just be very efficient and very particular. And every decision that you made had to be very carefully thought out. Everything in the movie is like that.

Everything in the movie was all drawing on my experience making other movies, knowing, for example, that when we were getting towards the end of that final sequence and everyone was freaking out. They were like, “How are we going to shoot this entire gunfight in six hours?” I shot so many gunfights on The Way of the Gun that I knew exactly what I needed and what I didn’t. Had you given me more time, I would have shot more. I might have used some of it. But I got exactly what I needed on the day.

What’s unique about this franchise is that every film features their director’s voice, making them all different. For M:I6, do you feel the pressure or desire to change up the style? 

You know, my desire as a filmmaker is to always be a better filmmaker than I was on the previous film. I’m not interested in stasis. I really want to grow. I want to push myself. And I think if you look at the three films I’ve done, if you go from The Way of the Gun, to Jack Reacher, to Mission: Impossible, I think it’s very clear that there’s a distinct voice that runs through them. They are each sort of expanding in terms of their storytelling, in terms of their use of technology. I’m learning on each movie sort of the mysteries of this technical craft or that technical craft. And I have things that I specifically learned from this movie that I want to apply to the next. I gotta imagine it will look different. If it looks the same I’ll be disappointed.


Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation is now available on DVD and Blu-Ray.

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