MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE - DEAD RECKONING Star Henry Czerny On Finally Reuniting With Tom Cruise (Exclusive)

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE - DEAD RECKONING Star Henry Czerny On Finally Reuniting With Tom Cruise (Exclusive)

With Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One taking the box office by storm, we were recently able to catch up with the excellent Henry Czerny to talk about his long overdue return as Kittridge!

By RohanPatel - Jul 18, 2023 05:07 PM EST
Filed Under: Mission: Impossible

Following last week's blockbuster debut for Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One, we were able to sit down with the always excellent Henry Czerny to talk about his long overdue return as former IMF director Eugene Kittridge.

While we avoided spoiler talk, we did delve into his initial conversations with director Chris McQuarrie and star/producer Tom Cruise about what was going to bring Kittridge back into the thick of the fire, as well as what it was like finally reuniting with Cruise for a standoff scene after twenty-five long years.  

He also tells me more about the fascinating backstory he crafted for Kittridge leading into the film, and elaborates on some of his motivations in the film, possibly offering slight hints as to what he may have planned in the next one. Whether that's good or bad news for Ethan Hunt, however, remains to be seen. 

Read on for our full interview with Czerny, and please remember to SUBSCRIBE to my YouTube channel for more exclusive content!

ROHAN: When you first got the call, what was Tom Cruise and Chris McQuarrie's initial pitch to you about returning as Kittridge?

HENRY: The pitch was, ‘We're not sure exactly what we want to do with him, but we do want to bring him back. We had an idea. Would you mind coming to - well, they were in Italy, at the time - would you mind coming to Italy and having a chat about it?’ Yes was my answer. An emphatic yes. Chris McQuarrie and Tom want to revisit a character that you explored 25 years ago, you've lived for 25 years, you've acted for those 25 years, you have all kinds of different elements floating around and do want to maybe float them through Kittridge? Yes!

ROHAN: You and Tom Cruise had that iconic scene in the diner in the first Mission: Impossible and now you're finally back together again, as Ethan Hunt and Eugene Kittridge. What was it like working with him again and finding that rhythm? Was it fairly instant?

HENRY: It is instant, yeah. I hadn't seen him in, you know, 25 years. I don’t chum around with the guy, right? He's busy being Tom Cruise. I'm busy doing other things, like grocery shopping and stuff, which I love. So, yeah, when I first saw him in the makeup trailer, when I showed up on the first day, it was lovely. He was lovely. He's always lovely. It was great to see him again, big hug, and off we go.

We're thrilled to have these two guys back on a soundstage together, or you're in an office of the Department of National Intelligence, and, the interesting thing about this scene - I don’t want to get into spoilers. So, getting back in front of a camera with Tom was great, and with McQ, who is very different from Brian De Palma. Brian loved watching the camera, to see what the camera was doing, what the characters were doing within the frame. McQ is the same way, but he was right there, and he loves exploring what each actor can bring, is allowed to bring, not required, but allowed.

So, we will do the scene quite a few times in different ways, and you can explore knowing full well, that whatever comes through you, at that time, is going to be treated respectfully and conscientiously. If it's lousy, you know, for some reason or another, what comes through you is a certain whatever flavor, it's like, oh that's not the movie, and you let it go, that's fine. That's going to be cut, but there might be another element in that iteration of the scene that Chris and Tom will feel is perfect.

There's no pressure to get it right. There's an opportunity and allowance to share, and both actors have that going on, so it's fantastic. I mean, you want every take every time they call action. You want that take to be as present as possible and be great if all of that was used, so each one starts that way and ends that way, but McQ gives you ample room to share more than the standard of what you think the script is asking for. It’s beautiful, great work.

ROHAN: What has Kittridge been up to for the past twenty-five years? I believe we're reintroduced to him as the director of the CIA and as the former IMF director, but it sure seems like he's played a role in various different agencies...

HENRY: That’s exactly right! That is exactly right. That was my backstory. McQ didn't really have a backstory for him. I mean, I asked him, would you please, McQ said, ‘I don’t know, go ahead, come up with something,’ where he was thinking more about story and arc and how to use the essence of Kittridge and bring him back in.

This is a graver Kittridge that we see now and he’s graver because the idea was, you know, after being schooled by Ethan on the train about who the real culprit is here, not being Max, on the first one. My story was he went back and simply went back through the agencies, through the FBI, CIA, Secret Service, the Department of National Intelligence, and he went back and worked at the highest echelons, including all of those agencies, so that he would have a more worldly view of what goes on and a less impetuous view and what we have here is a Kittridge who is not really thrilled with humanity based on how we have to have these things and do these things to keep ourselves from destroying ourselves. And, he also has the American shareholders, the American people as his shareholders.

So, he's in a very interesting situation, I think, a very interesting place 25 years later. I can't say he’s world weary, but he's worldwide and sometimes, in a bureaucratic position, that can be really tough to keep your optimism as high as it might be if you were say, a yoga teacher.

ROHAN: Having been there on the first Mission, which was Tom's first film as a producer, and now returning for this film - did you notice anything different about Tom, as not only a movie star, but as a producer? Has his approach changed from what you remember? How has he evolved as a filmmaker?

HENRY: He’s astonishing. He's far more, not that he wasn't secure then, but like Kittridge, like Ethan, he's gained gravitas. He knows these hats very well, and when Tom does something, be it a helicopter, skydive, motorbike, the thing you do with a parachute where you fly, whatever he's doing, he's going to find the best people to help him do it, and he's going to focus on it, and it's going to be really good. He's going to be really good at it, for himself. He's going to love it. So, with producing, he did the same thing, with directing, with film.

He and McQ watch films all the time, educating themselves incessantly about how they can, what elements are in that food, let's say, look at that meal. What do they do with this? Well, look at what they did with the beef there. Oh my god, is there something that we can take from that to enhance it. It's all banked, borrowed and stolen anyway, and that's an homage, to a certain extent. I mean, clearly De Palma, on the first one, wanted to pay homage to Hitchcock. So, he’s become more grounded, for sure, and more of a force in the in the production, and we like that.

ROHAN: What can you tell us about Part Two? Where does Kittridge stand after everything that's transpired?

HENRY: The honest truth is this. The scripts are so fluid. I mean, there were sections that were shot that people will never see because it didn't sit well in the meal. I mean, Tom and McQ and Eddie, the editor, they have full body passes to everything that's in the film, if they don't have a full body essence, it’s not in there. So, I don't know. You’ll have to wait and see.

In our review, we said, "Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One is the undisputed blockbuster movie event of the summer! Tom Cruise delivers yet another action movie masterpiece, packed with jaw-dropping spectacle, pulse-pounding action, heartfelt emotion, awe-inspiring performances, and an exhilarating chemistry opposite new leading lady Hayley Atwell that’ll have you begging for more."

In addition to Tom Cruise (Ethan Hunt), the cast features Hayley Atwell (Grace), Ving Rhames (Luther Stickell), Simon Pegg (Benji Dunn), Rebecca Ferguson (Ilsa Faust), Vanessa Kirby (Alanna Mitsopolis/White Widow), Esai Morales (Gabriel), Pom Klementieff (Paris), Mariela Garriga (Marie), Henry Czerny (Eugene Kittridge), Shea Whigham (Jasper Briggs), Greg Tarzan Davis (Degas), Charles Parnell, Frederick Schmidt (Zola Mitsopolis), Cary Elwes (Denlinger), Mark Gatiss, Indira Varma, and Rob Delaney. 

In Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One, Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his IMF team embark on their most dangerous mission yet: To track down a terrifying new weapon that threatens all of humanity before it falls into the wrong hands. With control of the future and the fate of the world at stake, and dark forces from Ethan's past closing in, a deadly race around the globe begins. Confronted by a mysterious, all-powerful enemy, Ethan is forced to consider that nothing can matter more than his mission – not even the lives of those he cares about most.

Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One is now playing in theaters, and Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part Two is already slated to light the fuse in theaters next year on June 28, 2024.

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McGee - 7/18/2023, 5:12 PM
Keatonfan8992 - 7/18/2023, 5:16 PM
One of my favorite characters in the entire franchise.
kylo0607 - 7/18/2023, 5:18 PM
Seen this 4 times now (including IMAX) and going in for a 5th one tomorrow.

Fallout still remains the best, but this was awesome and on par with Rogue Nation for me.

And also - this was beautiful visually and had stunning cinematography:

mountainman - 7/18/2023, 5:38 PM
@kylo0607 - I haven’t seen DR yet, but Rogue Nation was the 2nd best behind Fallout. If it’s on par with that one then it must be great!
HeavyMetal4Life - 7/18/2023, 6:09 PM
@kylo0607 - I've only seen it twice in theaters so far (in IMAX and XD), but agree with everything else you said.
Kadara - 7/18/2023, 6:11 PM
@kylo0607 - You're single handily boosting the summer blockbuster economy lol! Glad to hear you liked it though, this is also on my to watch list.
valmic - 7/18/2023, 5:36 PM
Kittridge, you've never seen me very upset!
ForceofWakanda - 7/18/2023, 6:26 PM
Good interview and questions Rohan. Nice job.

Henry is an actor that brings something to everything he's in and I've generally enjoyed him in all the stuff I've seen him in.

Jjudice - 7/19/2023, 12:18 PM
off topic, Henry Czerny would have made the perfect Lewis Dodgson.
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