Drew Pearce Explains the Tone Behind 'Mission: Impossible 5' and the Christopher McQuarrie Touch

Drew Pearce Explains the Tone Behind 'Mission: Impossible 5' and the Christopher McQuarrie Touch

Feb 10, 2014

Drew Pearce is having a very, very busy career of late. He cowrote Iron Man 3 with Shane Black, and also wrote and directed All Hail the King, a new Marvel One Shot that fans can see when they buy Thor: The Dark World (either as a digital download or on the Blu-ray/DVD). In his short film, Pearce offers fans a further look at one of the most controversial aspects of IM3: the Mandarin. We won't say what happens, but it definitely should help stoke some fan fires.

Pearce's screenwriting work, which continues to subvert fan expectations, hasn't been confined to just the superhero realm, though. He's also been attached to Sherlock Holmes 3 and Mission: Impossible 5. We spoke to the increasingly prolific writer earlier today, and while we'll save our Marvel talk for a bit closer to Thor: The Dark World's home video release on February 25, we wanted to offer an update on some of his other projects today, as well as what the British screenwriter thinks of the Hollywood system now that he's so deeply entrenched in it.


Movies.com: When it comes to Mission: Impossible 5, how do you even top a set piece as utterly massive as the Dubai sequence in Ghost Protocol?

Drew Pearce: You have to divorce yourself from that part of your brain. It's fine to have a competitive urge, but I think by isolating specific parts of movies that have come before, if you're doing sequels, trying to top them is not always the useful way of working. Now, maybe that's me running away in terror from trying to top the Burj, but I think if you look at the Mission movies, what's been really interesting about them is they've switched up tone with each creative team that's come to them. In all honesty, on Mission 5, Mr. Cruise and J.J. Brought me into get the ball rolling, really. I've written a draft and worked closely with the brilliant Chris McQuarrie, whose hands the movie's now in. I think what will be brilliant about it is it's a Mission whose tone we've never seen before. It'll be coming from the mastermind behind The Usual Suspects. I've hopefully given Chris a strong bedrock to build his movie on, and much like being in Mission: Impossible, if I'm needed at some point for a different mission somewhere around the world, I'm sure I'll get the phone call.

Movies.com: Can you tease anything about what that tone is?

Pearce: I think anyone who knows Chris McQuarrie's work knows tonally the palette in which he likes to work, but I also think Ghost Protocol is a wonderful blueprint for what the best of Mission: Impossible can be in the modern world. So it's a bit of that, but also the De Palma movie that started it all off. Those were our touchstones. I think what's then interesting is the prism that information goes through is my mind, and, more importantly, Chris McQuarrie's mind. He and Mr. Cruise have a tremendous working relationship, and I think it's through that crucible something very special will be born.

Movies.com: Now that you have been involved with quite a few massive tentpole films in a rather quick time, has anything changed about your perspective on Hollywood and the big-studio system?

Pearce: [Laughs] The facetious answer is that I thought I would be richer doing this. That really is the facetious answer. The truth is it's exactly the same as when you're making the small stuff. It's about the people you work with and the quality of your ideas and how much you trust people and the meshing of personalities. Boring though that is, it really is at the heart of it. The only thing that's different is the bigger a movie is, the more money that's being spent on it, and that means there are more people who will have a strong opinion of how you're spending that money. And anyone who goes into these tentpoles by thinking that's not the case is probably being a bit naive. That doesn't mean you can't circumnavigate it, and if you're working with the right people who have a shared view of what the project should be, then to a degree that doesn't matter because you're all on the same page.

There's also a simple aspect where I grew up watching movies in the '80s and '90s, and I fear in the 2010s there's definitely less debauchery and helicopters made of pure gold than there maybe were in other eras.


Look for the rest of our interview with Drew Pearce in the coming weeks.




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