Until the recent sixth film “Mission: Impossible – Fallout,” one of the defining traits of the “Mission: Impossible” franchise had been that each entry boasted a different director, many of them auteurs of sorts with their own distinct style, resulting in a quite different feel to each one.
The original 1996 film was helmed by Brian DePalma of “Carrie,” “Dressed to Kill” and “Scarface” fame, and it was arguably amongst the most commercial-friendly films he ever did alongside “The Untouchables” and “Scarface”.
In fact, De Palma’s work after that point began to slide with the compromised “Snake Eyes,” the widely panned “Mission to Mars” and decent but flawed pieces like “Femme Fatale” and “The Black Dahlia”. In a new interview with AP News, De Palma says the period he made the first ‘Mission’ in was a time he considered himself at the peak of his powers:
“In my mid-50s doing ‘Carlito’s Way’ and then ‘Mission: Impossible’. It doesn’t get much better than that. You have all the power and tools at your disposal. When you have the Hollywood system working for you, you can do some remarkable things. But as your movies become less successful, it gets harder to hold on to the power and you have to start making compromises. I don’t know if you even realize you’re making them… I tend to be very hard-nosed about this. If you have a couple of good decades, that’s good, that’s great.”
De Palma says he’s not a fan of films and TV series that are never-ending, especially he’s not a fan of the way studios find success and immediately begin to plan sequels and multiple seasons:
“Stories, they keep making them longer and longer only for economic reasons. After I made ‘Mission: Impossible,’ Tom [Cruise] asked me to start working on the next one. I said: ‘Are you kidding?’ One of these is enough. Why would anybody want to make another one? Of course, the reason they make another one is to make money. I was never a movie director to make money, which is the big problem of Hollywood. That’s the corruption of Hollywood.”
De Palma also says he’s not a fan of the look of a lot of modern films due to the way they are lit and the digital cinematography:
“The things that they’re doing now have nothing to do with what we were doing making movies in the ’70s, ‘80s and ’90s. The first thing that drives me crazy is the way they look. Because they’re shooting digitally they’re just lit terribly. I can’t stand the darkness, the bounced light. They all look the same. I believe in beauty in cinema. Susan and I were looking at ‘Gone With the Wind’ the other day and you’re just struck at how beautiful the whole movie is. The sets, how Vivien Leigh is lit, it’s just extraordinary. If you look at the stuff that’s streaming all the time, it’s all muck. Visual storytelling has gone out the window.”
De Palma says it’s also “always gratifying” when films that critics or audiences didn’t respond to find an audience and are re-thought of as a masterpiece decades later such as “Blow Out”. He’s still working on his Harvey Weinstein-inspired horror film “Catch and Kill” which he hopes to begin shooting in August.