Monday, March 23, 2009

MTV Movies Blog: Who should direct the fourth 'Mission: Impossible'?

Some random AICN reader calling himself ‘supastring’ wrote in to report that Tom Cruise was on some popular program called “Smap Smap” in Japan where he revealed that he has started working on the story for a fourth film in the “Mission: Impossible” series, and that he’s been “thinking about how to stage a big action sequence in downtown Tokyo.”

Some of you might bemoan the idea of another "Mission: Impossible" film but I, for one, have always preferred Cruise’s Ethan Hunt to Matt Damon’s Jason Bourne, or any of the modern incarnations of James Bond, although to be fair, I am a Tom Cruise apologist who thinks the man is incapable of giving a flat-out bad performance.

Of course, this should be treated as just a rumor at this point but if “M:I:IV” were to happen relatively soon, we wanted to stay ahead of the development process and recommend 10 directors who might be a good fit for the series.

Now obviously it’d be cool if Steven Spielberg or James Cameron or Peter Jackson decided to do “M:I:IV” but that would NEVER happen, so they’re not on the list. Likewise, we eliminated Brian DePalma and John Woo who directed the first two installments, and while we wouldn’t oppose J.J. Abrams’ return considering his feature debut “M:I:III” was the best in the series and Paramount shouldn’t mess with a good thing, we have a feeling the studio won’t mind if Abrams is busy directing “Star Trek” sequels for the next few years. We also excluded Oliver Stone, David Fincher and Joe Carnahan, all of whom spent significant time developing “Impossible” sequels, as well as past Cruise collaborators Ben Stiller, Ed Zwick and Bryan Singer, plus directors like Gavin Hood and McG while we wait until May to see how “Wolverine” and “Terminator Salvation” turn out.

So without further ado, here’s my wishlist for “Mission: Impossible 4” directors, in alphabetical order.

1. Timur Bekmambetov – The Russian director of “Wanted” has his own distinctive style that could be just what the series is looking for. He’s currently prepping the English-language third installment of his “Night Watch” trilogy but I’m not sure he’d let that stop him from listening to Cruise’s pitch.

2. Peter Berg – The Hancock” director has really started to come into his own as a visual storyteller. I just think he has really good instincts and I like how he always seems to be challenging himself. Plus I just have a weird feeling that he and Tom would really get along.

3. Kathryn Bigelow – “The Hurt Locker” director would be a bold, brave choice who could really crank up the adrenaline. “The Hurt Locker” is the real deal and should have her in the hunt for Best Director at next year’s Oscars, after which everyone will want a piece of her.

4. Neill Blomkamp – Blomkamp directed the impressive short films “Alive in Joburg” and “Tempbot” before signing on to direct the long-gestating “Halo” movie. His debut feature, “District 9,” comes out this July and will be his first real mainstream test. Of course, if he ever has any questions, he can always ask his mentor Peter Jackson.

5. Jan de Bont – What the hell happened to this guy? He directed two AWESOME movies in “Speed” and “Twister” and then he fell off the face of the Earth after directing “Speed 2: Cruise Control” (HA!), “ The Haunting” and “Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life.” On second thought, maybe he should stay away from movies with colons in their titles. But on third thought, de Bont shot “Die Hard” and “The Hunt for Red October,” plus he served as a producer on “Minority Report,” which means he has ties to Cruise, who has the power to resurrect the man's once-great career.

6. Joe Johnston – The director of “Jurassic Park III” already knows a thing or two about inheriting franchises. This fall he’ll stake his claim on “The Wolf Man” and he’s also attached to the “Captain America” movie, which could keep him off this “Mission,” but like it or not, his stock is on the rise so long as “The Wolf Man” makes a killing at the box office.

7. Justin Lin – His work on “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift” brought him back for April’s “Fast and Furious,” which will test his box office metal. But if Cruise is serious about shooting in Tokyo then it couldn’t hurt for him to sit down and hear Lin’s take on the material.

8. Pierre Morel – The French filmmaker managed to turn “Ta ken’s” simple set-up into a surprise international hit. Lionsgate will soon distribute his new movie “From Paris With Love” which stars John Travolta, who might be able to put in a good word with his friend and fellow Scientologist.

9. Jonathan Mostow – The director of “Terminator: Rise of the Machines” has a lot riding on this fall’s Bruce Willis-starred “The Surrogates.” Disney obviously likes what they’ve seen since Mostow is attached to write and direct “Swiss Family Robinson” for the studio. He’s a realistic get and could be a decent catch for a new “Mission” movie. I mean, how many truly A-List directors are rushing to direct #4’s?

10. Matt Reeves –Could Abrams leave the reins of the “M:I” franchise in his longtime collaborator’s hands? Reeves is a really smart filmmaker who helped make “Cloverfield” a pop culture sensation, and while he’s currently working on the “Let the Right One In” remake and an “Invisible Man” movie, he could be an interesting if darker choice for the series.

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