When word first came out that action star Tom Cruise was literally going to outer space to film the first narrative feature shot at the International Space Station. I wondered if the project would mark another reunion between Cruise and Christopher McQuarrie. The writer/director of the two most recent Mission: Impossible movies. While Doug Liman, who worked with Cruise on Edge of Tomorrow and American Made, is the one who will be sitting in the director’s chair. It turns out that McQuarrie will be involved after all.
According to Deadline, McQuarrie has been on board the project for a little while. As he was a part of a recent Zoom call with Universal executives which convinced the studio to shell out an estimated $200 million for the film’s budget. McQuarrie is said to be serving as a story advisor and producer on the movie.
This shouldn’t be particularly surprising to anyone who has followed Cruise’s career over the past decade. The two of them have practically been joined at the hip. With McQuarried either directing, producing, or writing a draft of the screenplay for nearly every Cruise movie since 2008’s Valkyrie.
While the involvement of Liman and McQuarrie makes sense to me considering their deep ties to Cruise. I was surprised to find out that there’s another person on board in a producing capacity: PJ van Sandwijk. Who’s relatively new to Hollywood and only has two producing credits thus far. He produced American Dharma, Errol Morris’s 2018’s documentary about Trump advisor Steve Bannon. And Citizen K, Alex Gibney’s 2019 documentary about a guy who was once considered to be the richest man in Russia. Exactly how a relative no-name in the industry worked his way into the company of Cruise, Liman. And McQuarrie remains a mystery to me. But props to him for making it happen.
The untitled Tom Cruise space film doesn’t have a start date yet. But Cruise and McQuarrie will be busy shooting back to back Mission: Impossible movies for a while. Elon Musk’s SpaceX is involved with this film, as is NASA. And the $200 million budget commitment from Universal is just an estimate. That price could shift as logistics are worked out. But think about all the free advertising they’re going to get when Cruise literally straps into a rocket and blasts into space.