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When the coronavirus began to spread around the world, one of the first places that got hit hard was Italy. This meant that before every other movie in the world had to cease production, Mission: Impossible 7 was already on ice because it was only days away from shooting in Venice when the city was evacuated. While it's true the production had to shut down before it ever got started, other things you may have heard, including Tom Cruise's reaction to the whole thing, are not quite as real.
On the latest episode of the Light the Fuse podcast, Mission: Impossible writer/director Christopher McQuarrie explained that, while there were reports that Tom Cruise fled Venice in fear of infection, the truth is, Tom Cruise wasn't even in Venice when everything closed down. The seriousness of the situation didn't stop the director from giving his friend a hard time when he saw reports Cruise was hiding out in a Venice hotel. According to McQuarrie...
No, no no. We were not shooting it. We were two days away from shooting. We were in Venice. Contrary to what you read about in the paper, Tom [Cruise] was not in Venice. We gave him no end of ribbing. First the story came out Tom was holed up in the gritty hotel hiding from the virus. So, I immediately started texting Tom, sending him pictures, sending him screengrabs. I was like [joking], ‘You’re in the hotel and you didn’t call me?’ And then the next day I read, ‘Tom Cruise Flees The Virus Zone.’ So I text him and go, ‘you fled the virus zone and didn’t call me?!’
While one might assume that, two days before shooting was set to begin, Tom Cruise was on set, that wasn't the case. I mean, if he had been, I'm not sure anybody would blame him for deciding to "flee the virus zone" but that's just not what actually happened.
Instead, it turns out Tom Cruise was about 900 miles away in London when the decision was made to evacuate the city of Venice. Cruise was on his way to Italy when the call was made to close down instead. As it turns out, not even Christopher McQuarrie decided to flee the virus zone, as he we still in Venice on the day after much of the city had emptied, which honestly may have made it one of the safest places to be. McQuarrie goes on...
We were of course then imagining scenarios of Tom just running to the plane, ‘Just get on the plane – we’ll get other friends We’re fleeing the virus!’ Tom was in London. He was just about to get on the plane and come to us. We were coming up on the last day of Carnival and they ordered the city to be evacuated. It evacuated. I mean, people left instantaneously. I woke up on that Sunday and the city was completely deserted.
The delay in production has, as is the case with most other films at the moment, led to a delay in release. Mission: Impossible 7 and 8 were previously scheduled to release in the summer of 2021 and 2022, but now both films have seen their release dates pushed back to November of their respective years.
Currently, Italy does appear to be in recovery mode from the virus, although, as in many places, fears of a second wave are still lingering. Assuming that production can get back underway this summer, then those November dates should still be possible to hit, any delay beyond that, however, and we might very well see the Mission: Impossible films delayed even longer.