10 Things You Might Not Know About MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE III - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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10 Things You Might Not Know About MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE III

Geek Dave is part of an agency... called the IMF.

1. Keen to capitalise on the box office success of Mission: Impossible 2 a third film in the franchise went into per-production whilst the second was still playing in theatres. Director John Woo was not invited back, rather David Fincher was approached to direct the next installment of the film series, with a proposed summer of 2004 release date. However, in 2002 Fincher dropped out. Later citing creative differences with Tom Cruise over the direction of the series. He rather tactically had this to say...
"I think the problem with third movies is the people who are financing them are experts on how they should be made and what they should be. At that point, when you own a franchise like that, you want to get rid of any extraneous opinions."
2. Replacing Fincher was director Joe Carnahan. With the release date now pushed to Summer 2005, Carnahan worked on developing the film for 15 months. Under his involvement, Mission: Impossible 3 was to feature Kenneth Branagh playing a terrorist who was based on Timothy McVeigh (McVeigh perpetrated the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing that killed 168 people and injured over 680 others). Carnahan approached Thandie Newton to reprise her role as Nyah Nordoff-Hall from Mission: Impossible 2 but she declined, in order to concentrate on her family. Carnahan then had the role rewritten for a new character named Leah Quintcast and cast Carrie-Anne Moss in the part. He also lined up Scarlett Johansson for a supporting role.

In what is now sounding like a stuck record, Carnahan quit in July 2004, citing creative differences with Cruise amid a dispute over the film's tone.

3. In what would be his cinematic directorial debut, J.J. Abrams was signed up as director in August 2004. Cruise had been shown the pilot episode of Alias, and he subsequently binge-watched the first two seasons before meeting.

The film was then delayed for another year due to Tom Cruise's commitment to the abruptly green-lit War of the Worlds, and Abrams contractual obligations to both Alias and Lost. During this time, Branagh, Moss, and Johansson departed from the project because of the many delays in production. The story was also heavily reworked, with Moss's character completely written out, Branagh's antagonist developed into arms dealer Owen Davian (as played by Philip Seymour Hoffman) and Johansson's role being entirely rewritten (and recast with Keri Russell as Agent Farris).

Finally on July 12th 2005, filming began on Mission: Impossible III. Paramount Pictures had agreed a budget of $150 million, making Mission: Impossible III the most expensive movie ever undertaken by a first-time feature film director.

4. During publicity for 2004's Shaun of the Dead, Simon Pegg was asked whether he was going to be pursuing a career in Hollywood, to which he laughed and replied
"It's not like I'm going to be in Mission: Impossible III". 

5. As the production could do nothing about inquisitive crowds watching them while they were filming in Rome, a phony second unit was set-up a little further away to act as the main unit. Several glamorous girls in bikinis were hired and other older women dressed as nuns pretended to be filming takes for the film, while the main unit got on with their business largely undisturbed.

6. J.J. Abrams approached original series star Martin Landau to make a cameo, but Landau declined, saying he was finished with the franchise.

7. J.J. Abrams makes a cameo in the film. He can be seen in the hospital when Ethan is looking for his wife, and he provides the doctor's hands extracting the capsule from Agent Farris' head at the IMF headquarters. He is also the voice on the phone talking about a free trip to Mexico.

8. To promote the film's release, Paramount rigged 4,500 randomly selected Los Angeles Times vending boxes with digital audio players which would play the Mission: Impossible theme song when the door was opened. The audio players did not always stay concealed, however, and in many cases came loose and fell on top of the stack of newspapers in plain view, with the result that they were widely mistaken for bombs!

Police bomb squads detonated a number of the vending boxes and even temporarily shut down a veterans' hospital in response to the apparent "threat". Despite these problems, Paramount and The Los Angeles Times opted to leave the audio players in the boxes until two days after the movie's opening.

9. Opening on May 5th 2006, Mission: Impossible III saw the fourth largest domestic opening box office ever up to that point, making $47.7 million in its opening weekend. However, this was almost $10 million lower than the franchise's previous film. Its worldwide gross sits at of $397.8 million, the lowest to date of the series.

10. In March 2006 it was alleged and widely reported that Viacom (parent company of Paramount and Comedy Central) canceled the rebroadcast of the South Park episode "Trapped in the Closet" due to threats by Tom Cruise to refuse to participate in the Mission: Impossible III publicity circle.

The Washington Post reported that South Park fans "struck back" and threatened to boycott Mission: Impossible III until Comedy Central put "Trapped in the Closet" back on its schedule. A boycott of the film took place amid further claims that Cruise allegedly forced Comedy Central to censor a South Park episode about Scientologists.

When asked about his involvement with stopping the episode rebroadcast on Comedy Central, Cruise stated,
"First of all, could you ever imagine sitting down with anyone? I would never sit down with someone and question them on their beliefs. Here's the thing: I'm really not even going to dignify this. I honestly didn't really even know about it. I'm working, making my movie, I've got my family. I'm busy. I don't spend my days going, 'What are people saying about me?'" 
20 Things You Might Not Know About Mission: Impossible 
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