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Domino is
a "disarmingly
work that "pushes
us to reexamine our
relationship to images
and their consumption,
not only ethically
but metaphysically"
-Collin Brinkman

De Palma on Domino
"It was not recut.
I was not involved
in the ADR, the
musical recording
sessions, the final
mix or the color
timing of the
final print."

Listen to
Donaggio's full score
for Domino online

De Palma/Lehman
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in Snakes

De Palma/Lehman
next novel is Terry

De Palma developing
Catch And Kill,
"a horror movie
based on real things
that have happened
in the news"

Supercut video
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edited by Carl Rodrigue

Washington Post
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Brian De Palma
Karoline Herfurth
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AV Club Review
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Sunday, March 19, 2023

At the New Zealand Herlad today, Wenlei Ma looks at the ways that several key scenes from Brian De Palma's Mission: Impossible came about from a creative standpoint:
One thing that hasn’t changed from De Palma’s first instalment to the eighth, helmed by Christopher McQuarrie, who has been on the franchise since the fifth movie, is the propensity to start with the stunts and set-pieces and then work backwards to the actual script.

McQuarrie had previously revealed the team started rolling the cameras on Fallout (number six) without a script, merely an outline. The working relationship between McQuarrie and Cruise is such that sometimes the actor tells the filmmaker what stunts he’s interested in trying and McQuarrie writes around those desires.

That philosophy clearly started early, with De Palma’s movie. Cruise said in a video interview to mark the 25th anniversary that De Palma pitched him two very clear ideas, now the film’s most iconic sequences – the CIA vault heist and the climactic train set-piece – and later worked out how to fit them into a story that wasn’t yet on the page.

Cruise recalled when De Palma raised the ideas, “I remember the train. He was like, ‘I wanna do a train’ and I was like, ‘Oh, that’s fantastic’. And so, how do we do it? How are we going to shoot this thing?

“And we didn’t have the story – surprise! – and we were like, ‘This is a cool idea, how do we, what could happen, what shots? He would set up shots and then we would go back and work on the story, who would be in it and then go back and forth.”

Cruise also recounted how De Palma called Cruise while the A-lister was stuck in traffic in Japan, and pitched him that intense CIA vault scene – “This movie is really cool, this guy is brilliant. It was a phenomenal idea”.

But when it came to shooting it, it wasn’t working – gravity can really work against you – and Cruise kept faceplanting on the floor on every take.

Cruise explained in another 25th anniversary video that they were running out of time before they had to move on, so he went up to the stunt guys to ask for coins to stuff into his shoes to recalibrate the balance.

De Palma gave Cruise one more take, and Cruise replied he was confident it would work this time.

“I said, ‘I can do it’. It was very physical, like straining, and I’m going it. So I went down, starting at the computer, went all the way down to the floor and I didn’t touch it. And I was holding it, holding it, holding it. I’m sweating and he just keeps rolling.

“And I just hear him off-camera and when he laughs, it makes me laugh, I could just hear him start to howl and he goes, ‘Alright, cut’.”

Still, not every light bulb moment ended up being the right idea.

Mission Impossible originally had a different beginning and it was cinema legend and De Palma’s friend George Lucas who told him to scrap it.

De Palma told the Light the Fuse podcast in 2021 that Lucas had seen an early cut and berated him for not having enough set-up.

“When George saw Mission Impossible, you know he said, ‘There’s no set-up to this thing, you’ve got to set this thing up! You’re going to do this, you’re going to do that, you’ve got to have that scene where that scene where they’re all sitting around the table and everybody gets their instructions about what’s going to happen.”

The original start was scene involving jealous tension between Ethan Hunt and Jim and Claire Phelps, the married spy characters portrayed by Jon Voight and Emmanuelle Beart. Even De Palma now conceded it was a “very strange scene”.

Following Lucas’ advice, De Palma went back with the cast to reshoot the beginning.

Posted by Geoff at 10:58 PM CDT
Post Comment | View Comments (5) | Permalink | Share This Post

Monday, March 20, 2023 - 9:49 PM CDT

Name: "Harry Georgatos "

Love to see all the deleted scenes to DePalma's Mission: Impossible movie.

Friday, April 28, 2023 - 1:07 PM CDT

Name: "p."

This is also true for me, especially for the scenes with Emmanuelle Béart, having just learned that there was another opening. I knew about the scrapped love scene halfway through (a "come here" hand gesture and a fade-out is all that's left of it). BdP claimed somewhere that the chemistry between the girl and Tom worked well in casting, but no longer on set. I remember seeing Emmanuelle on French TV in the nineties where she pulled a sour face and snapped, "Really, you liked that?" when a reporter told her he enjoyed M:I, so God only knows what went wrong and why this pivotal love triangle barely features in the finished film.

Friday, April 28, 2023 - 6:19 PM CDT

Name: "Geoff"
Home Page: http://https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/blog

I'm pretty certain that the love scene actually was on the train (a clip of it is in the trailer), and that the "come here" hand gesture and then fade-out was always meant to be that way. De Palma has said that the love scene slowed the movie down too much, or something like that. In any case, the shot used in the trailer looks a bit North-by-Northwest-ish.

Saturday, April 29, 2023 - 8:13 AM CDT

Name: "p."

Thanks! I just spotted the North by Northwest kissing on the train shot as featured in the trailer: it would still be cool if he'd kept the scene, at least in the European theatrical cut (like Basic Instinct, where they cut out the violence but put some skin back in). I wonder if the musical cue to this is on the 2-CD soundtrack just released by LaLaLand, probably one of the latter cues (somewhere around "Love Theme“ or "Ménage à trois").

Sunday, May 7, 2023 - 11:45 AM CDT

Name: "p."

Just found the reference that refutes the unsourced speculation the scene was cut for rhythm, here’s an excerpt from the Blumenfeld/Vachaud book, first edition, p. 172 (translated from French): 


—  Interviewer: The one thing that doesn’t work in the film is the relationship between the characters of Tom Cruise and Emmanuelle Béart.

—  Brian De Palma: Yes I know. It is however to be said that at the beginning they had more scenes together, but we cut a lot. It's hard to understand why it didn't work as intended. I’m a great admirer of Emmanuelle Béart: I met French, English and Italian actresses for the part, and she was the best, I really liked the couple she formed with Tom. In the screen test we shot in Paris, they had great chemistry! I was very surprised to find that in the end it didn’t come across any better than that.

—  Maybe M:I is not the ideal type of film to develop a sentimental plot?

—  The problem is elsewhere, American cinema is resistant to foreign actresses. Wonderful actresses like her, who give off warmth and magic when shot by filmmakers of their respective countries, don’t work when they have to act in English with American actors. I can’t explain why it is so. There are exceptions of course, like Ingrid Bergman […]

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