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BIG READ: Making of MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: GHOST PROTOCOL

Published January 10, 2012 on Vancouver is Awesome

UPDATE: Worldwide Box Office — US$695 million.

The round-the-world spy thriller Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol has more Vancouver in it than the Mumbai running scene outside the Vancouver Convention Centre which I wrote about in my inaugural #YVRShoots series post and the Seattle post-mission team beer at a table on Granville Island which I covered in my second post about the Tom Cruise franchise filming here. Director Brad Bird filmed the last shot of Josh Holloway’s Budapest alley death scene in between the Dunsmuir and Georgia Viaducts; the Moscow scene where the team gets its Kremlin mission beneath the Burrard Bridge; the Kremlin explosion in a giant blue screen box at a gravel field near the Fraser River path; some of the Dubai sandstorm scene at an Arab market set at that same gravel field; the Sun Network station in Mumbai at a Richmond office park and the Mumbai automated car park scene inside a vast Vancouver Drydocks warehouse in North Vancouver.

Tom Cruise and his co-stars did go on location with Brad Bird and crew to Prague and Dubai before their final three months of shooting in Vancouver in late 2010 and early 2011, with the second unit filming scenes without cast in Moscow for a week and in Mumbai for the BMW coupe racing-through-the-streets sequence. Prague doubled for Budapest and Moscow, with some exceptions. And the Dubai showpiece of Cruise as IMF agent Ethan Hunt scaling and swinging from the tallest building in the world could not have be done anywhere but the actual Burj Khalifa.

Almost everything else happened here in studio at Canada Motion Picture Park or on location in the Vancouver area. It’s a credit to our crews and VFX expertise that the only things that give us away are glimpses of the Vancouver Convention Centre and a lit-up southwest False Creek between the Burrard and Granville Bridges.

So far, I’ve seen Mission Impossible -Ghost Protocol twice in theatres. Once to simply enjoy Brad Bird’s first big action movie with a non-animated cast and the second time to nail down as many of the Vancouver locations as possible. Despite my best efforts I’m sure I missed several.

The fourth in the Mission Impossible movie franchise opens with Josh Holloway as IMF agent Trevor Hanaway in Prague-as-Budapest trying to intercept a courier of a threat codenamed COBALT at a train station. Then we’re treated to Tom Cruise’s Moscow prison escape to the tune of Dean Martin’s Ain’t That a Kick in the Head, likely filmed here given the numerous Vancouver paparrazi shots of Cruise in his dirty white muscle shirt from prison. Post-escape Cruise meets his new team: Simon Pegg as newly promoted field agent Benji Dunn and Paula Patton as Hanaway’s team leader Jane Carter while they drive around in a Russian van. Read More »BIG READ: Making of MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: GHOST PROTOCOL