Global locations inspire Mission: Impossible – Fallout

Spectacular filming locations were a production priority for Tom Cruise and writer/director Christopher McQuarrie for action sequel Mission: Impossible – Fallout.

Spectacular filming locations were a production priority for Tom Cruise and writer/director Christopher McQuarrie for action sequel Mission: Impossible – Fallout.

Fallout is the sixth in the action franchise’s history and follows Cruise’s superspy Ethan Hunt and his dedicated team of operatives as they tackle a global nuclear threat.

Global locations inspire Mission: Impossible – Fallout
Mission Impossible Fallout

The Mission: Impossible franchise has become a location-led operation since its launch in 1996. Past movies have started with an experienced supervising location manager travelling the world and creating mood boards by taking photos of cities and regions that have grabbed their attention. These have then been presented to Cruise – who as producer has become the franchise’s ‘gatekeeper’ – and the rest of the senior production team.

Fallout began in a similar way. Ben Piltz was the film’s supervising location manager, building on a CV that includes Bond movie Spectre, Jason Bourne and Christopher Nolan’s war film Dunkirk.

“[McQuarrie’s] take on it was ‘Find me a cool location and I will write the scenes for it’,” says Piltz of his initial experiences on Fallout.

Mission Impossible Fallout

France, New Zealand and the UK became the movie’s key locations, all of which are production hubs with generous filming incentive support.

Stunt location work began in France, which has become a more popular production location since boosting its filming incentive support to 30% of eligible local spending.

McQuarrie and his team took to the streets of Paris to stage a complex vehicular street chase involving an armoured truck and Cruise alternately riding a motorcycle and driving a BMW.

The production team secured assistance from the French military to capture unique aerial visuals of the city and shut down key central Parisian landmarks early on a Sunday morning.

Mission Impossible Fallout

“The city of Paris was fantastic,” says McQuarrie. “They gave us control of the Arc de Triomphe, with the understanding that we could have it for two hours on a Sunday morning starting at 6am.

“By the time the sun came up, that gave us about an hour and 15 minutes to do everything, so all the camera crews had to be perfectly timed so that one camera could take over where the other camera left off.”

The Fallout team relocated to New Zealand to film ambitious aerial stunt sequences that focussed on the Queenstown region of South Island.

New Zealand’s Southern Alps mountain range offered rugged visuals serviced by a well-developed helicopter touring infrastructure and skilled pilots that were crucial to the shots planned for the shoot.

Here Cruise executed a so-called “long-line” stunt involving a bungee jump from a helicopter onto a payload hanging on a rope beneath.

“It’s very technical,” says Cruise. “You have to figure out what the helicopter can hold, the payload, where you can put the cameras, what the angles can be. All the rigs have to check out – any little particle that comes off and hits the rotor blades is a real problem. It required great flying from the pilot and rigging from the stunt guys, who all did an incredible job.”

The team remained in New Zealand for a centrepiece helicopter chase featuring Hunt and Henry Cavill’s CIA assassin August Walker. Cruise in fact flew one of the helicopters himself, acting as performer, pilot and camera operator all at once.

In the context of the story, the aftermath of the helicopter chase ends with a physical fight between Hunt and Walker on a remote rocky outcrop. For this, the production team filmed on Norway’s Preikestolen – or Pulpit Rock – a national landmark in the south-west of the Scandinavian country that features a 2,000-foot sheer drop into a fjord.

Mission Impossible Fallout

As with previous Mission movie Rogue Nation, much of Fallout was filmed on location in London, which was where Cruise ended up seriously injuring himself with a heavy landing on his ankle during a rooftop chase sequence.

St Paul’s Cathedral and Blackfriars Station were key filming locations. The iconic chimney of the Tate Modern art museum, rising 325 feet above London’s Bankside, was also used for a day of production, for which a tall temporary scaffold was erected to support the crew.

The final sequence shot was an historic High Altitude Low Opening (HALO) parachute jump, a covert military aerial manoeuvre that was the first of its kind ever to be shot for a major film production. McQuarrie and his team originally planned to film the stunt from an RAF base in the UK, but had to relocate to Abu Dhabi when their production plan was disrupted by Cruise’s rooftop injury in London.

Mission Impossible Fallout

Cruise trained for the HALO jump at a vertical wind tunnel that was specially built at Leavesden Studios near London. He then had to complete at least 100 sky dives over Abu Dhabi before taking on the jump itself, which is usually only undertaken by military Special Forces personnel as a way of infiltrating hostile territories undetected.

McQuarrie and Cruise gave themselves the added challenge of setting the HALO sequence at dusk, giving themselves only a couple of minutes each day to get the shots they wanted. Veteran aerial photographer Craig O’Brien filmed Cruise in freefall using equipment specially designed for the job that featured an IMAX lens.

The Mission: Impossible franchise has filmed in the United Arab Emirates before, having shot memorable stunt work on world’s-tallest-building the Burj Khalifa for the franchise’s fourth movie Ghost Protocol. However, Abu Dhabi is the Persian Gulf’s principal production hub and the only city in the region to offer formal filming incentive support.

Images: David James and Paramount Pictures

Global locations inspire Mission: Impossible – Fallout
Mission Impossible Fallout

Spectacular filming locations were a production priority for Tom Cruise and writer/director Christopher McQuarrie for action sequel Mission: Impossible – Fallout.

Fallout is the sixth in the action franchise’s history and follows Cruise’s superspy Ethan Hunt and his dedicated team of operatives as they tackle a global nuclear threat.

The Mission: Impossible franchise has become a location-led operation since its launch in 1996. Past movies have started with an experienced supervising location manager travelling the world and creating mood boards by taking photos of cities and regions that have grabbed their attention. These have then been presented to Cruise – who as producer has become the franchise’s ‘gatekeeper’ – and the rest of the senior production team.

Fallout began in a similar way. Ben Piltz was the film’s supervising location manager, building on a CV that includes Bond movie Spectre, Jason Bourne and Christopher Nolan’s war film Dunkirk.

“[McQuarrie’s] take on it was ‘Find me a cool location and I will write the scenes for it’,” says Piltz of his initial experiences on Fallout.

Mission Impossible Fallout

France, New Zealand and the UK became the movie’s key locations, all of which are production hubs with generous filming incentive support.

Stunt location work began in France, which has become a more popular production location since boosting its filming incentive support to 30% of eligible local spending.

McQuarrie and his team took to the streets of Paris to stage a complex vehicular street chase involving an armoured truck and Cruise alternately riding a motorcycle and driving a BMW.

The production team secured assistance from the French military to capture unique aerial visuals of the city and shut down key central Parisian landmarks early on a Sunday morning.

Mission Impossible Fallout

“The city of Paris was fantastic,” says McQuarrie. “They gave us control of the Arc de Triomphe, with the understanding that we could have it for two hours on a Sunday morning starting at 6am.

“By the time the sun came up, that gave us about an hour and 15 minutes to do everything, so all the camera crews had to be perfectly timed so that one camera could take over where the other camera left off.”

The Fallout team relocated to New Zealand to film ambitious aerial stunt sequences that focussed on the Queenstown region of South Island.

New Zealand’s Southern Alps mountain range offered rugged visuals serviced by a well-developed helicopter touring infrastructure and skilled pilots that were crucial to the shots planned for the shoot.

Here Cruise executed a so-called “long-line” stunt involving a bungee jump from a helicopter onto a payload hanging on a rope beneath.

“It’s very technical,” says Cruise. “You have to figure out what the helicopter can hold, the payload, where you can put the cameras, what the angles can be. All the rigs have to check out – any little particle that comes off and hits the rotor blades is a real problem. It required great flying from the pilot and rigging from the stunt guys, who all did an incredible job.”

The team remained in New Zealand for a centrepiece helicopter chase featuring Hunt and Henry Cavill’s CIA assassin August Walker. Cruise in fact flew one of the helicopters himself, acting as performer, pilot and camera operator all at once.

In the context of the story, the aftermath of the helicopter chase ends with a physical fight between Hunt and Walker on a remote rocky outcrop. For this, the production team filmed on Norway’s Preikestolen – or Pulpit Rock – a national landmark in the south-west of the Scandinavian country that features a 2,000-foot sheer drop into a fjord.

Mission Impossible Fallout

As with previous Mission movie Rogue Nation, much of Fallout was filmed on location in London, which was where Cruise ended up seriously injuring himself with a heavy landing on his ankle during a rooftop chase sequence.

St Paul’s Cathedral and Blackfriars Station were key filming locations. The iconic chimney of the Tate Modern art museum, rising 325 feet above London’s Bankside, was also used for a day of production, for which a tall temporary scaffold was erected to support the crew.

The final sequence shot was an historic High Altitude Low Opening (HALO) parachute jump, a covert military aerial manoeuvre that was the first of its kind ever to be shot for a major film production. McQuarrie and his team originally planned to film the stunt from an RAF base in the UK, but had to relocate to Abu Dhabi when their production plan was disrupted by Cruise’s rooftop injury in London.

Mission Impossible Fallout

Cruise trained for the HALO jump at a vertical wind tunnel that was specially built at Leavesden Studios near London. He then had to complete at least 100 sky dives over Abu Dhabi before taking on the jump itself, which is usually only undertaken by military Special Forces personnel as a way of infiltrating hostile territories undetected.

McQuarrie and Cruise gave themselves the added challenge of setting the HALO sequence at dusk, giving themselves only a couple of minutes each day to get the shots they wanted. Veteran aerial photographer Craig O’Brien filmed Cruise in freefall using equipment specially designed for the job that featured an IMAX lens.

The Mission: Impossible franchise has filmed in the United Arab Emirates before, having shot memorable stunt work on world’s-tallest-building the Burj Khalifa for the franchise’s fourth movie Ghost Protocol. However, Abu Dhabi is the Persian Gulf’s principal production hub and the only city in the region to offer formal filming incentive support.

Images: David James and Paramount Pictures

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