Brad Bird Chats About 'Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol' & '1906'
We haven't heard much from director Brad Bird in quite a while, nor we have seen a trailer yet for the new Mission Impossible (though I did see some footage and heard one is coming in May), but that changes today as Entertainment Weekly has posted an interview with Bird in honor of the recent stunning release of one of his other greats, The Incredibles on Blu-Ray ($25 on Amazon - worth it). But they did slip in a few questions about Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol, which stars Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner and Paula Patton, as well as one quick update on 1906, that San Francisco earthquake project he's been developing for years.
Bird is already done shooting Ghost Protocol and is currently in post-production leading to a December 16th release this year. "It was a very challenging shoot. It's a big film and we had to move around a lot. We were doing a lot of physical effects live — we weren't using special effects. And so it was physically a real challenge." Obviously one of the most intriguing aspects of this new M:I movie is that Bird is directing his first live-action feature, which is why it's great to hear that he's doing things like using practical/physical effects rather than all CG effects. EW asked if he misses not being able to direct it as an animated movie:
"Yes and no. The wonderful thing about animation is you have absolute control over every frame. The nightmare of animation is that you have absolute control over every frame. Literally, you have to decide upon everything, and you don't get anything for free. You can't go to a location and simply say, 'This looks good,' and shoot there. You have to discuss what kind of trees, is it a railyard, how wide are the tracks, are the tracks new or old? The amount of planning you have to do is just jaw-dropping."
"So that part of it I'm not sorry to be away from [laughs]. But there are pleasures to be had in both mediums. With live-action, you're trying to catch little moments of lightning in a bottle. In animation you're trying to do that too, but you're doing it one volt at a time."
Speaking of "little moments of lightning in a bottle" coming together on M:I4, Bird confirmed that Cruise did indeed shoot those incredible Burj Khalifa scenes himself, adding that, "He did dangle! That's not a special effect." Oh and if you haven't heard, all of that was shot in glorious 65mm IMAX. From the little glimpse I got in New York, to the positive news I keep hearing about how it's coming together, I cannot wait to see what Brad Bird has got in store for us whenever we get to see the first official trailer for Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol. They're not rushing as they've got a while, but we'll tell you once it's released.
As for 1906, Bird's long-in-development, epic live-action project about the devastating 1906 San Francisco earthquake seems about as stuck in the mud as it was when we last reported on it over 12 months ago, which sadly seems to be this movie's fate. Here's what Bird says when EW asks him if that's still next after M:I4:
"I don't know. It's all about getting the story to work, and the canvas is so big on it that it's easy to bust down its movie-sized walls and go rampaging throughout the countryside. The problem has always been scaling it and containing it in a movie-sized length. It's really a movie that wants to be a miniseries. But if you did it as a miniseries, then you'd have to do it for the small screen, and the story demands to be told on a big screen. So we're still working on it."
That sounds like it would be an epic story to fill a miniseries, but remember this is an adaptation of James Dalessandro's novel. Years ago, Bird described it as "a romantic, epic mystery with lots of action in it, based around events leading up to and through the earthquake of San Francisco of 1906." It definitely sounds like an interesting project and something that I hope we'll one day see, but I have a feeling once Bird finishes Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol, he'll probably move on to something bigger and better (or maybe just different). If you want to read the full interview with Brad Bird that covers The Incredibles and his work on that, head over to Entertainment Weekly. In the meantime, we'll keep you updated on M:I4 and beyond!