Category Archives: Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol
Published January 10, 2012 on Vancouver is Awesome
The round-the-world spy thriller Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol has more Vancouver in it than the Mumbai running scene outside the Vancouver Convention Centre which I wrote about in my inaugural #YVRShoots series post and the Seattle post-mission team beer at a table on Granville Island which I covered in my second post about the Tom Cruise franchise filming here. Director Brad Bird filmed the last shot of Josh Holloway’s Budapest alley death scene in between the Dunsmuir and Georgia Viaducts; the Moscow scene where the team gets its Kremlin mission beneath the Burrard Bridge; the Kremlin explosion in a giant blue screen box at a gravel field near the Fraser River path; some of the Dubai sandstorm scene at an Arab market set at that same gravel field; the Sun Network station in Mumbai at a Richmond office park and the Mumbai automated car park scene inside a vast Vancouver Drydocks warehouse in North Vancouver.
Tom Cruise and his co-stars did go on location with Brad Bird and crew to Prague and Dubai before their final three months of shooting in Vancouver in late 2010 and early 2011, with the second unit filming scenes without cast in Moscow for a week and in Mumbai for the BMW coupe racing-through-the-streets sequence. Prague doubled for Budapest and Moscow, with some exceptions. And the Dubai showpiece of Cruise as IMF agent Ethan Hunt scaling and swinging from the tallest building in the world could not have be done anywhere but the actual Burj Khalifa.
Almost everything else happened here in studio at Canada Motion Picture Park or on location in the Vancouver area. It’s a credit to our crews and VFX expertise that the only things that give us away are glimpses of the Vancouver Convention Centre and a lit-up southwest False Creek between the Burrard and Granville Bridges.
So far, I’ve seen Mission Impossible -Ghost Protocol twice in theatres. Once to simply enjoy Brad Bird’s first big action movie with a non-animated cast and the second time to nail down as many of the Vancouver locations as possible. Despite my best efforts I’m sure I missed several.
The fourth in the Mission Impossible movie franchise opens with Josh Holloway as IMF agent Trevor Hanaway in Prague-as-Budapest trying to intercept a courier of a threat codenamed COBALT at a train station. Then we’re treated to Tom Cruise’s Moscow prison escape to the tune of Dean Martin’s Ain’t That a Kick in the Head, likely filmed here given the numerous Vancouver paparrazi shots of Cruise in his dirty white muscle shirt from prison. Post-escape Cruise meets his new team: Simon Pegg as newly promoted field agent Benji Dunn and Paula Patton as Hanaway’s team leader Jane Carter while they drive around in a Russian van.
Published March 4, 2011 on Vancouver is Awesome
Where has Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol been? Sightings of four-year-old Suri Cruise, the adorable fashionista/bookworm daughter of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, have been more plentiful than sightings of TANK production signs in January and February. I wondered if there would be any more big location shoots before the film wrapped this month. And then this week, Mission Impossible 4 (MI-4) lit up west False Creek at night like it’s never been lit before (not even during the Vancouver 2010 Olympics) as a backdrop to Tom Cruise and his co-stars at Granville Market.
Word spread that MI-4 would be filming on Granville Island within hours of the Vancouver Arts Club tweeting a photo on February 16th of Tom Cruise visiting a set under construction on the waterfront nearby. I checked its progress and it turned out to be Pier 47 (not Pier 67) in Seattle. Crew later added King County Water Taxi signs and two prop water taxis which docked during scenes.
MI-4’s dazzling display of light is what made this three-night shoot so extraordinary to see. Half a dozen giant film lights illuminated the area on Tuesday and Wednesday nights until 6 a.m. the next morning, including one placed on a barge floating in the middle of False Creek. Additional flat lights shone down from trucks parked on the Granville Bridge and other flat lights shone up on the bridge girders from trucks parked underneath. One irate, sleepless woman living in one of the condominium towers took her complaints directly to the site where MI4 stored the flat lights during the day. Maybe she got some relief Thursday night, the third and final night of the shoot, although I saw the MI-4 site glow from my home in south False Creek well after midnight.
The MI-4 crew appears to have done all of this – the Seattle set, dozens of flat and other film lights and hundreds of extras — as a backdrop mainly for scenes of Tom Cruise and his co-star Jeremy Renner (Oscar nominee for Hurt Locker and The Town) drinking Dosequis beer
Published January 13, 2011 on VancouverisAwesome.com
I had heard that Tom Cruise does his own stunts and is absolutely fearless with fans but discounted both claims until last Friday night when Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol (MI-4) turned the street outside the Vancouver Convention Centre into wedding procession traffic in Bangalore, India. Cruise ran very quickly through the vehicles and 350 Indian extras in take after take, at one point leaping over a car several times. And after midnight he walked straight into a scrum of fans watching the filming.
MI-4 rolled into Vancouver back at the beginning of December but Cruise proved elusive, spending most of his time filming in studio at Canada Motion Picture Park in Burnaby. Some wondered if MI-4 would do any big exterior shoots downtown. Then on Dec 16, an ad appeared in The Vancouver Sun calling for movie extras for Aries (MI-4’s working title) to depict a city in India in January.
On the first Monday of the new year, Cruise and co-star Simon Pegg (Star Trek) filmed a small scene under the Burrard Bridge. And that same day, MI-4 crew started prepping the VCC to look like Bangalore: attaching leaves to bare trees, unloading palm trees and affixing Indian signs & banners to the exterior. Buzz grew over the five days of prep that Cruise himself would be at the shoot, scheduled for the end of the week. (Simon Pegg was not in the India scenes, spending the day snow boarding at Grouse Mountain).
By 4 p.m. Friday, everything was in place from tuk tuks to saris for the star to do his own running stunt as spectators gathered in the bitter cold. Cruise took a detour to say hello on arrival. jogging on the spot to keep warm while some girls screamed in delight.
What amazed me was Cruise’s speed or as @jdcasa tweeted on #MI4: “He’s pretty spry for an old guy”.