‘Mission: Impossible – Fallout’ director discusses unique Navy SEAL influence on new movie

Left to right: Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Tom Cruise and Ving Rhames star in the latest action-packed addition to the "Mission Impossible" franchise. (Photo courtesy of Paramount Pictures and Skydance) High-speed motorcycle chases, restroom-based hand-to-hand combat using a sink pipe, helicopter duels slicing through narrow snow-covered canyons and an endless supply of high-tech spy gadgets — just a typical day in the life of Ethan Hunt and the rest of the crew from the Impossible Mission Force, or IMF.

Since its release in theaters a couple weeks ago, “Mission: Impossible – Fallout” has been overwhelmingly praised — critics have given the film a 97 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes — for delivering the type of unparalleled, hypertension-inducing action viewers have come to expect from the hit franchise, now on its sixth film.

During the filmmaking process, director Christopher McQuarrie, who’s worked with star actor Tom Cruise on other hit films such as “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation,” “Edge of Tomorrow," “Jack Reacher” and “Valkyrie,” enlisted the help of his brother, Doug, a former Navy SEAL, as a tactical consultant to ensure the most accurate depiction of weapons use cinema can provide.

Doug joined the Navy a day after turning 18 in 1981, shipping off to gunner’s mate A-school before eventually making it through BUD/S, Army Airborne training and assignments with Underwater Demolition Team 21. In 1983, he was deployed to Beirut, Lebanon, when the infamous barracks bombing occurred. McQuarrie completed a number of additional deployments around the globe until he retired in 2002.

Both Chris and Doug took time to chat with Military Times about the new film, action filmmaking, military service and the intricate details that go in to manufacturing such a spectacle.

How has having Doug advise on military matters and weapons use translated to improving the structure of action or cinematography in the films you’ve worked on together?

CHRIS: I see films in which actors are often too casual with guns or too self-conscious. When directing my cast, I focus on the fine line I perceive when I see professionals handling weapons — a simultaneous familiarity and respect.

Doug and I were not allowed to play with toy guns as kids, which naturally led to a fascination with them. Doug ended up a Navy SEAL and I ended up working for a detective agency. Our mother now jokingly tells mothers-to-be to give boys toy guns in the cradle and purge this fascination.

My job required me to train with and carry guns for four years and I was in more than one armed confrontation. I have a healthy respect for the escalation of force and the power of firearms. I also know I don’t know all that much. I rely on Doug to train the actors in proficiency and comfort with guns.

DOUG: The training I received has translated to film very well in more ways than one. I learned to train people in the military quickly, safely and effectively, which translates to the movie business very well. But I also use my […]

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