[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Monday, 8 May 2006, 14:25 GMT 15:25 UK
Lost creator's shock at Cruise request
JJ Abrams
Abrams wrote previous blockbusters Forever Young and Armageddon
Director JJ Abrams - best known as the creator of US TV series Lost - has said he thought actor Tom Cruise was "insane" when he first approached him to make Mission: Impossible 3.

The third instalment in the popular franchise is Abrams's first as a director, although he has worked as a producer as far back as 1991's Regarding Henry, starring Harrison Ford. He has since announced he will make Star Trek XI.

Abrams told the BBC that he had been asked by Cruise "from the beginning" to make the film - but was advised by friends not to do so.

"Tom said, 'I want you to direct it, I want you to write it - I want this to be JJ's Mission: Impossible,'" Abrams recalled.

"I thought, 'What the hell's going on here?' It was insane he was asking this to do this movie, and then he was saying it was going to be my film.

"I had friends warn me, 'He's the star, he's the producer. This is a disaster. Get out.'

"But Tom never wavered from his commitment - he never mandated anything, he never demanded story, character, shots, actors, be a certain way."

Lightening the script

The latest film comes ten years after the first Mission: Impossible film was released, itself based on the popular TV series.

Abrams - known for the trickiness of Lost - went on to co-write the version of the script that has been filmed.

Mission: Impossible 3
While we're making this movie, why not be a little subversive?
JJ Abrams
The plot of the latest instalment of the franchise centres on Cruise's Ethan Hunt coming out of retirement to track down arms dealer Owen Davian, played by Oscar-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman.

Abrams said that when he came to the project, the original script had what he saw as big and serious problems with its tone.

"The original script didn't have that passion, thrill, roller-coaster ride that, at least, I wanted to see in Mission: Impossible," he said.

"It was too dark."

However, there remain some dark shadows . One early scene depicts a character talking about an "anti-God," followed by a long sequence set around the Vatican City in Rome.

Abrams said that the film was shot to deliberately obscure the object which drives the plot forward.

"In fact, in the one scene where they're discussing what it is, they're walking past an airplane, and the propeller is so loud you - deliberately - can't hear what they're saying," he said.

"But the discussion of that thing is intended to give you what it does - a sense of doom."


Meanwhile, he also included some satirical humour - including a line where an American character says that his country "cleans up and installs democracy."

JJ Abrams and Tom Cruise
Abrams and Cruise enjoyed a warm relationship on set
"It's ludicrous," Abrams said.

"I hope that the movie says very early on we have a sense of humour, and we're not trying to take ourselves too seriously."

But he also stressed that it was not his aim to make a "deep, political film."

"This is Mission: Impossible 3, it's supposed to be entertainment," he said.

"Having said that, I didn't want to be vapid - so I felt it was crucial that the bad guy had a point of view and an argument to make.

"While we're making this movie, why not be a little subversive?"

Star Trek movie turns back time
24 Apr 06 |  Entertainment
Actor Cruise on New York mission
04 May 06 |  Entertainment
Cruise on four-hour fans mission
25 Apr 06 |  Entertainment
Mission stuntman sues film-makers
30 Mar 06 |  Entertainment

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific