Welcome to Breaking Geek, a column where uber-geek Nick “Dollface” Doll offers commentary and reactions to the most interesting news of the week (or whatever he feels like), using his expansive knowledge of all things geek!
Wait! The image is slightly misleading! Hear me out before lambasting me in the comment section. Once you’ve read everything, feel free to mock me. Because you’ll still want to.
This week saw 007 in crisis. Bond 25 lost its director Danny Boyle, a fairly solid choice, either over creative differences in the script with the studio, or Daniel Craig’s dislike of Boyle’s villain casting choice, depending what source you believe. The film may be delayed a year to 2020 – again, depending who you believe – and the studio is possibly looking for a new writer/director to start from scratch with a new screenplay. Or they’re just looking for a director… there’s a lot in flux right now…
The studio is said to be looking at several directors including Edgar Wright, who I love but still seems more right for Kingsman than 007, and David Mackenzie who does feel very right for a Craig Bond due to Hell or High Water.
I like an earlier rumor from the week, and I like it a lot; Christopher McQuarrie, writer/director of Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation and Mission: Impossible – Fallout, as well as writer of Edge of Tomorrow and The Usual Suspects, may be under consideration for the job. Probably not at this point, but maybe, just maybe. The man’s talent in the genre cannot be denied, especially after Fallout, a film which I would not only rank as my favorite film in the spy genre (sorry, Skyfall), but my favorite overall action film.
If you’ve seen M:I – Fallout, then I can’t see why you wouldn’t understand what he could bring to the project as an action director auteur; the director to best understand the marriage of stunt work and CGI, leading to Fallout not contain not just one or two of my favorite stunts and action set pieces, but four or five. The pace of the Mission: Impossible franchise as we understand it today, set by Brad Bird in Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol and continued in McQuarrie’s movies, seems just what the MI6 ordered after the incredibly inconstant SPECTRE. McQuarrie may not be your first choice to direct Bond 25, especially seeing as how he is American, but we can agree he’s a pretty good fit for 007, Right? I mean, it was his time in the chair at the Mission: Impossible franchise that finally allowed M:I to become better than the OG king of the spy franchises, 007.
This is going to be where I lose everyone, but I think the real key to a great McQuarrie movie, as well as a great reason to attract his talent to the franchise, is Tom Cruise.
No, we aren’t making Cruise into 007, 008, or some American ally. This is not Tom Cruise’s movie, it is Daniel Craig’s. You know a really fun way to use a talented A-list action actor that is willing to do almost any stunt for entertainment? Make him the villain.
Even people I know who dislike Cruise enough to not even see such well-reviewed films as Rogue Nation and Fallout, often admit he is great in Collateral, which is one of the most effective Cruise roles of all time. In Collateral, Cruise plays a ruthless hitman who has a cab driver played by Jamie Foxx chauffeur him around the city for different jobs. There’s a little bit of the Cruise you know in there, the calm expert, mashed up with a side we don’t see very often, a colder side, lacking morals carried by other Cruise characters like Ethan Hunt.
You can even lean into Cruise’s history or America’s current state to utilize his very American action-hero, but “out there” in real-life, reputation.
Neal Purvis and Robert Wade — writers of way more 007 films than you realize, wrote the first draft of the script to Bond 25 before Danny Boyle brought in his own writer — said in 2016 that Trump winning the US election had them at a loss. To paraphrase, one wondered where there was to go in the 007 films when a real Bond villain was in the White House. Their sentiment, not mine. The object of this post is to avoid getting political.
It wouldn’t make sense to have Bond take on the President of the United States, besides, Rick and Morty did it, so Cruise could play a top aid? A US Senator, formally in the military, who is actually a Russian Mole or is forwarding a WWIII agenda?
Or, how about a cult leader/politician. You know, someone who is crazy about a more fringe religion, like Cruise himself?
You want to bring in Cruise, not just to be a delicious villain, but also for stunts. If Craig is willing, imagine the action sequences between these two. Cruise can run and drive away really fast, but can he chase down a hero?
Now, one of the reason’s I think a Cruise v Craig matchup could be so great, could also be a reason not to do the film with McQuarrie and Cruise. Fallout was already about a hero who was a “scalpel” – Cruise as IMF Agent Ethan Hunt – taking on a “hammer” – Henry Cavill as CIA Agent August Walker. What was it that M called Bond in Casino Royale? A “blunt instrument.” Yes, we’ve seen McQuarrie do it, but how much cooler would it be with the real James Bond!
Do I think this will ever actually happen? Hell, no. McQuarrie won’t actually get Bond 25, if he even wants it, and there is no way Tom Cruise will play the villain in a 007 franchise, probably to Craig’s relief. Should I still dream the impossible dream? Absolutely.
After all, there is a government agency that deals with those sorts of dreams…
That being said, I’d rather see Mission: Impossible 7 with these two talents than a 007 movie, so maybe you and I will both be better off keeping the talent from the different the franchises separate.