Mission: Impossible 7 set to return to Italy

The country has already started local productions again

By Chris Evans 2 Jun 2020

Mission: Impossible 7 set to return to Italy

Paramount’s Mission: Impossible 7, starring Tom Cruise, is set to restart shooting in September, including in Venice, having been put on hold back in February due to the coronavirus crisis.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Mission: Impossible 7 first assistant director Tommy Gormley said: “We hope to restart in September. We hope to visit all the countries we planned to. We hope to do a big chunk of it back in the UK on the backlot and in the studio.

“If we have the protocols in place and we break down all the procedures very carefully…we will get it going again. Some things are very challenging such as stunt scenes, crowd scenes etcetera but we can’t do a ‘Mission Impossible’ movie and not have a fight scene or car scenes in it.”

These plans to restart a major tentpole will be a huge boost for the global film production industry. Gormley is even convinced that the Paramount production can meet its target of shooting from September through to April/May.

The film was halted in late February just days before it was due to start shooting scenes in Venice. At the time, Italy was emerging as the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak in Europe.

Since then Italy has reported more than 230,000 cases and 33,000 deaths, but the country is slowly emerging out the other end with a phased approach to easing restrictions, and has even now opened its borders to most countries without the need for quarantining.

Local filming has already started up again, and international productions are expected to be able to return to the country in the coming months (albeit under strict health and safety guidelines), building on the success of recent high-profile productions to hit the country’s shores.

The most high-profile of these international projects was Eon Productions’ new James Bond film No Time to Die. The project was filmed in the historical town of Matera in southern Itay, including a high-speed car chase involving two Aston Martins around the winding streets. “People said that the historical architecture and bureaucracy would rule out a James Bond car chase, but this proves we can do anything,” says Ivan Moliterni, head of the Matera film board.

Sky’s historical drama series Romulus, produced by Cattleya, recently filmed in Rome, with two cities built as sets for the shoot involving thousands of extras and 700 stunt professionals.

The BBC’s four-part drama series Us, adapted by David Nicholls from his hugely popular book of the same name, also partly filmed in Italy last year.

“We filmed for a few days in Venice, which was great,” says co-producer Pat Lees. “We shot on location with a mixture of our crew and local crew who were also very good. We used boats to move the kit around the city, which was very efficient. 

 “We used local production service company, 360 Degrees Film, who were excellent and obtained permits and achieved our shooting requirements very well and at times with short notice. I would definitely use them again if I have another project in Italy.”   

Paramount Television and Hulu’s six-part adaptation of Joseph Heller’s satirical 1961 novel Catch-22 also filmed in Italy. The country’s 30% tax credit was crucial to securing the shoot and, aside from key heads of department, the crew was almost entirely local.

Stage production on the project took in the iconic Cinecitta Studios just outside Rome, where sets were built for scenes set on board the B-52 bombers that are a central element of the screen story.

The Italian government is investing $42.7m (€37m) in an expansion of the Cinecitta facility over the next couple of years. A pair of new soundstages is to be built, one of which will be the facility’s largest, and a new water tank is planned. The studio’s existing 24 stages and backlot will be refurbished and a new centre dedicated to tech development for videogame production will be created.

Looking ahead, Netflix is also hoping to return to Italy with its heist caper film, Red Notice, starring Dwayne Johnson, Ryan Reynolds and Gal Gadot, after production plans were put in hold due to the coronavirus crisis.

Locations and permits

Italy has a stunning variety of landscapes, from the amazing sandy beaches in Sardinia to the glaciers of the Alps. There is also the beauty of the architecture of the cities - Rome, Venice Florence etc, the rolling hills of Tuscany, the countryside, and the islands off-shore. The entire country is a great backlot for filming.

Italy can also easily double for other countries. “The south can double for Greece, while Rome can be shot for Paris and New York, Naples and Matera for Jerusalem, and there are desert settings in the quarries around Rome,” enthuses Ute Leonhardt, vice president of local outfit Panorama Films.

Italy is not a difficult place to get permits, but procedures and regulations vary from one city/province to another, so it is advisable to give authorities plenty of notice. Local know how is paramount in Italy and foreign productions are advised to use qualified native companies to manage bureaucratic matters.



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