The 2006 American action spy thriller film “Mission: Impossible III” has some of the goofiest production stories I’ve ever heard. Being the third entry in the hugely popular “Mission: Impossible” film franchise, you can imagine it was very popular by 2006. So much so it took hilarious left turns to film without fans showing up and so popular one of the film’s co-stars joked about how being in it be crazy…when he didn’t even know he was going to be in it.
As the production for the film could do nothing about inquisitive crowds watching them while they were filming in Rome, they actually set up a phony second unit a little further away, hired several girls in bikinis and several older women dressed as nuns and pretended to be filming takes for the film, while the main unit got on with their business largely undisturbed. Even more ironic is, after the success of 2004’s “Shaun of the Dead”, co-star Simon Pegg, who played the character Benjamín “Benji” Dunn, was asked at the time whether he was going to be pursuing a career in Hollywood, to which he laughed and replied, and I’m not kidding, “it’s not like I am going to be in Mission Impossible III”. Boy the look that must have been on Pegg’s face when he found out he was in fact in “Mission: Impossible III”!
On a final note, director J.J. Abrams saw his first direction of a film with “Mission: Impossible III”. Yes he created or co-created a number of TV drama series, including “Felicity” (co-creator, 1998–2002), “Alias” (creator, 2001–2006), “Lost” (co-creator, 2004–2010), and “Fringe” (co-creator, 2008–2013), but he had yet to show his metal as a film director. With a budget of $150 million, “Mission: Impossible III” is the most expensive movie ever undertaken by a first-time feature film director. The film was a massive success and when he produced follow-up films, 2011’s “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol” and 2015’s “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation”, he showed good instinct to stick with the franchise. Just like fans who kept hounding after any bit of info they could get about each film in the series, or Pegg who knew the popularity of the franchise. It’s clear…this series is one-of-a-kind and has been around for 20 years for a reason. It’s just that good and it’s expected that much they are going to be good each time. Somehow…they have gotten better each time.