Mission Impossible Tom Cruise 1996

Impossible Facts

10 Things You May Not Know About the Mission: Impossible Movies

Celebrate the 20th anniversary of Mission: Impossible this month on IFC.

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Paramount Pictures

It’s hard to believe that it’s been 20 years since Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt set out on his first impossible mission. With five movies under his belt, and many more on the way, it looks like it’s going to be awhile before you can get that darn theme song out of your head.

IFC is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the first Mission: Impossible all month, so before you catch the flick, dig into a few fun facts about the franchise. Your mission, if you chose to accept it, is to read this article to completion. But do it fast. It will self destruct.

10. First Comes Action, Then Comes Story, Then Comes Mission Impossible in all its glory.

Mission Impossible Ethan Hunt
Paramount Pictures

The first Mission: Impossible movie started shooting without a completed script. In fact, while director Brian De Palma had all of the action sequences figured out, writers had to scramble to make up a story that could then connect the narrative dots on the fly.


9. Cruise Got Super High For One Stunt.

Mission Impossible climbing
Paramount Pictures

Tom Cruise is famous for performing his own stunts, no matter how insane they may be. And, oh boy, does he do some crazy ones in the Mission movies. For instance, his signature stunt in Ghost Protocol required him to leap out of, and then climb the side of the Burj Khalifa skyscraper in Dubai, the world’s tallest building. While Cruise did wear a harness that was later digitally removed, the majority of his stunts were performed at a greater height than the Empire State Building.


8. Tom’s Hand Should Get a SAG Card.

Mission Impossible Cruise
Paramount Pictures

Mission: Impossible III director J.J. Abrams was a bit squeamish when it came to his star having to, you know, touch his fellow actors. That must explain why he had Cruise use his own hand to hold a gun when a henchman was supposed to shove it up his nose. Or why he had Cruise’s hand return for another scene, in which the screen legend was supposed to bite Billy Crudup. Not flinching when you chomp down on your own knuckle. Now that’s acting!


7. Cruise Realized One Stunt Needed Some “Change.”

Mission Impossible Wire
Paramount Pictures

During filming of the first Mission: Impossible‘s now iconic wire scene, in which Ethan Hunt is supposed to lower down into a sealed room, Cruise kept tipping over and smacking his face onto the floor. Fed up, the actor finally borrowed some pocket change from a stuntman and shoved the coins in his shoes. Somehow, this DIY solution worked, and film history was made. Tom Cruise, lifehacker!


6. Ladies and Gentlemen, Dermot Mulroney on Cello…

Mission Impossible Dermot Mulroney
Paramount Pictures

Actor Dermot Mulroney has never starred in a Mission: Impossible movie, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t lent his talents. An amateur cello player, he somehow found his way into the scoring sessions of both Mission: Impossible III and Ghost Protocol. Still, as he told the Today Show, it’s not like he was first chair or anything. “If you can hear the 11th cellist in the back of the section, that’s me.”


5. Rock Climbing Cruise Had Little Protection.

Mission Impossible Rock Climbing
Paramount Pictures

Director John Woo has described the rock climbing sequence that opened Mission: Impossible II as the most harrowing of his career. Cruise, of course, insisted on doing his own stunts, and because of the treacherous cliffs in Moab, the crew couldn’t set up protection on the ground. Cruise at one point had to jump 15 feet, and reportedly injured his shoulder trying to stick the landing, which we’re sure went over great in the director’s tent.


4. A Legendary Director Chipped In MI:3 Ideas.

Mission Impossible Camera
Paramount Pictures

When you’re making a movie, you’ll take ideas from just about anyone. Your wife. Your dentist. The most successful director in the history of Hollywood. Well, at least that’s what J.J. Abrams did, gladly accepting director Steven Spielberg’s pitch to use a disposable camera as a way to deliver top secret information to super spy Ethan Hunt in Mission: Impossible III.


3. The original TV show cast didn’t accept the movie’s impossible mission.

Mission Impossible Sunglasses
Paramount Pictures

While Peter Graves and Martin Landau, stars of the Mission: Impossible TV series, were approached about appearing in the first film, both turned down the offer. Landau passed because he hated how the original script killed off his character, and Graves said no because he was uncomfortable with Jim Phelps, the super spy he’d played for eight seasons, being turned into a double agent. Jon Voight would eventually be cast in the part, the only time a character from the TV series crossed over into the film world.


2. Jeremy Renner’s Star Making Plan Self Destructed.

Mission Impossible Jeremy Renner
Paramount Pictures

Jeremy Renner, who plays William Brandt in the film series, originally signed onto Ghost Protocol with the understanding that he would take over the franchise once Cruise stepped down. Unfortunately for him, the movies have kept making money, and the powers that be have realized that they can keep milking the Scientologist superstar until the cows come home. If that sounds familiar, it’s because Renner had the exact same thing happen with the Bourne franchise when his Bourne Legacy tanked and O.G. Bourne Matt Damon was brought back for 2016’s Jason Bourne. Poor Jeremy. Always the butt kicking bridesmaid, and never the bride.


1. For Once, Cruise Couldn’t Keep His Eyes Wide Shut.

Mission Impossible Airplane
Paramount Pictures

2015’s Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation provided another death defying stunt, and another headache for the director. This time Cruise was strapped to the side of an Airbus 400 as it takes off. Of course, he performed the stunt without any special effects, just a safety harness that kept him strapped to the side of the airplane like a madman. Unfortunately, the “risky” actor had to keep his eyes open for the shot to work, but his body had other ideas. To make it safe, special protective lenses were designed that would cover the star’s entire eyeball. Good thing it only took eight takes.

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Thank Azaria

Best. Characters. Ever.

Our favorite Hank Azaria characters.

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GIFs via Giphy

Hank Azaria may well be the most prolific voice and character actor of our time. The work he’s done for The Simpsons alone has earned him a permanent place in the pop culture zeitgeist. And now he’s bringing another character to the mainstream: a washed-up sports announcer named Jim Brockmire, in the aptly titled new series Brockmire.

We’re looking forward to it. So much so that we want to look backward, too, with a short-but-sweet retrospective of some of Azaria’s important characters. Shall we begin?

Half The Recurring Simpsons Characters

He’s Comic Book Guy. He’s Chief Wiggum. He’s Apu. He’s Cletus. He’s Snake. He’s Superintendent Chalmers. He’s the Sea Captain. He’s Kurt “Can I Borrow A Feeling” Van Houten. He’s Professor Frink. He’s Carl. And he’s many more. But most importantly he’s Moe Szyslak, the staple character Azaria has voiced since his very first audition for The Simpsons.

Oh, and He’s Frank Grimes

For all the regular Simpsons characters Azaria has played over the years, his most brilliant performance may have been a one-off: Frank Grimes, the scrappy bootstrapper who worked tirelessly all his life for honest, incremental, and easily-undermined success. Azaria’s portrayal of this character was nuanced, emotional, and simply magical.

Patches O’Houlihan

Dodgeball is a “sport of violence, exclusion and degradation.” as Hank Azaria generously points out in his brief but crucial cameo in Dodgeball. That’s sage wisdom. Try applying his “five D’s” to your life on and off the court and enjoy the results.

Harold Zoid

Of Futurama fame. The crazy uncle of Dr. Zoidberg, Harold Zoid was once a lion (or lobster) of the silver screen until Smell-o-vision forced him into retirement.

Agador

The Birdcage was significant for many reasons, and the comic genius of Hank Azaria’s character “Agador” sits somewhere towards the top of that list. If you haven’t seen this movie, shame on you.

Gargamel

Nobody else could make a live-action Gargamel possible.

Ed Cochran

From Ray Donovan. Great character, great last name [editorial note: the author of this article may be bias].

Kahmunra, The Thinker, Abe Lincoln

All in the Night At The Museum: Battle Of The Smithsonian, a file that let Azaria flex his voice acting and live-action muscles in one fell swoop.

The Blue Raja

Mystery Men has everything, including a fatal case of Smash Mouth. Azaria’s iconic superhero makes the shortlist of redeemable qualities, though.

Dr. Huff

Huff put Azaria in a leading role, and it was good. So good that there is no good gif of it. Internet? More like Inter-not.

Learn more about Hank Azaria’s newest claim to fame right here, and don’t miss the premiere of Brockmire April 5 at 10P on IFC.

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Flame Out

Brockmire and Other Public Implosions

Brockmire Premieres April 5 at 10P on IFC.

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There’s less than a month until the Brockmire premiere, and to say we’re excited would be an insulting understatement. It’s not just that it stars Hank Azaria, who can do no wrong (and yes, that’s including Mystery Men, which is only cringeworthy because of Smash Mouth). It’s that the whole backstory of the titular character, Jim Brockmire, is the stuff of legends. A one-time iconic sportscaster who won the hearts of fans and players alike, he fell from grace after an unfortunate personal event triggered a seriously public meltdown. See for yourself in the NSFW Funny or Die digital short that spawned the IFC series:

See? NSFW and spectacularly catastrophic in a way that could almost be real. Which got us thinking: What are some real-life sports fails that have nothing to do with botched athletics and everything to do with going tragically off script? The internet is a dark and dirty place, friends, but these three examples are pretty special and mostly safe for work…

Disgruntled Sports Reporter

His co-anchor went offsides and he called it like he saw it.

Jim Rome vs Jim “Not Chris” Everett

You just don’t heckle a professional athlete when you’re within striking distance. Common sense.

Carl Lewis’s National Anthem

He killed it! As in murdered. It’s dead.

To see more moments just like these, we recommend spending a day in your pajamas combing through the muckiness of the internet. But to see something that’s Brockmire-level funny without having to clear your browser history, check out the sneak peeks and extras here.

Don’t miss the premiere of Brockmire April 5 at 10P on IFC.

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Mirror, Mirror

Portlandia Season 7 In Hindsight

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available Online and on the IFC App.

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Another season of Portlandia is behind us, and oh what a season it was. We laughed. We cried. And we chuckled uncomfortably while glancing nervously around the room. Like every season before it, the latest Portlandia has held a mirror up to ridiculousness of modern American life, but more than ever that same mirror has reflected our social reality in ways that are at once hysterical and sneakily thought-provoking. Here are just a few of the issues they tackled:

Nationalism

So long, America, Portland is out! And yes, the idea of Portland seceding is still less ludicrous than building a wall.

Men’s Rights

We all saw this coming. Exit gracefully, dudes.

Protests

Whatever you stand for, stand for it together. Or with at least one other person.

Free Love

No matter who we are or how we love, deep down we all have the ability to get stalky.

Social Status

Modern self-esteem basically hinges on likes, so this isn’t really a stretch at all.

These moments are just the tip of the iceberg, and much more can be found in the full seventh season of #Portlandia, available right now #online and on the #IFC app.

via GIPHY

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