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A still from the new film, ‘Mission: Impossible–Rogue Nation’.
A still from the new film, ‘Mission: Impossible–Rogue Nation’.

10 little known facts about ‘Mission: Impossible’

The new film's connection with 'Casablanca' and the series' connection with 'Chinatown'

It’s almost been 20 years since the first Mission: Impossible came out and introduced audiences to the IMF and Ethan Hunt. Now, with the release of the fast, funny fifth edition, Mission: Impossible–Rogue Nation, the franchise has hinted that it might be winding down. Then again, it’s still very lucrative, and it’s difficult to swallow the idea of anyone else but Tom Cruise in the lead. Here are 10 little-known facts about this series:

* The movies are based on a television series that ran from 1966 to 1973, and from 1988 to 1990. Most of the elements—the lighted fuse in the beginning, the self-destructing messages, the Impossible Missions Force—have been taken from here for the movies.

* In Mission: Impossible–Rogue Nation, Ethan Hunt receives his mission via record. This was how they were initially given missions in the original series.

* Jim Phelps is the only character from the TV series to appear in an M: I film. The part was supposed to be played by the original actor, Peter Graves, but he backed out. He was replaced by Jon Voight in the 1996 film, the first of the big screen adaptations.

*Tom Cruise does nearly all the highly dangerous stunts himself, including scaling the Burj Khalifa and hanging off an aeroplane.

* Two of the films were directed by part-debutants. Mission: Impossible III was J.J. Abrams’ debut as a film director, though he’d worked extensively in television earlier, creating the cult show Lost. And Mission: Impossible–Ghost Protocol was Brad Bird’s live-action debut; before that, he’d directed animated films like The Incredibles.

* Robert Towne, responsible for the screenplay for Roman Polanski’s Chinatown, rewrote the first film scene by scene. He was hesitant at first when he was offered a chance to write the second one. As he told Salon: “My biggest fear is that I will write a script just good enough to make a really bad movie."

* If you love Lalo Schifrin’s theme but find it difficult to dance to, that’s because it’s in the difficult 5/4 time. The only instrumental in this time that’s more ubiquitous is the Dave Brubeck classic Take Five.

* Schifrin’s theme was remixed by The Edge and Adam Clayton, the guitarist and drummer for the band U2, for the 1996 movie. Limp Bizkit used elements of the theme for their track Take A Look Around, recorded for the third movie. However, Metallica’s I Disappear, also recorded for M: I II, had nothing to do with the original tune.

* The idea for the primary antagonists in Rogue Nation was teased at the end of Ghost Protocol when Hunt is told about a new mission involving an organisation called “The Syndicate".

* In the new film, Rebecca Ferguson’s character, Ilsa, finds herself in Casablanca, Morocco. In the film Casablanca, the female lead is called Ilsa.

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