The Incredibles and Ratatouille director Brad Bird is the front-runner to direct a fourth Mission: Impossible movie, which would be his first live-action film after his Disney/Pixar hits, and screenwriters Andre Nemec and Josh Appelbaum say that the movie would definitely carry his own stamp.
"If Brad signs on, A, it would be the most incredible thing ever," Appelbaum said in a group interview at WonderCon in San Francisco, where he was promoting the ABC series Happy Town. "B, we would be crazy to not be using Brad's sensibilities to enrich the script. We're all just huge fans of his, and we're so excited about getting him into the collaborative process. His input and his ideas, I think, will only make this more fun and enjoyable. He'll help take it to another level."
J.J. Abrams, who directed Mission: Impossible III, is producing the fourth film with star Tom Cruise. If they make the deal with Bird, they want M:I IV to be a Brad Bird film. "Tom and J.J. get the thing that the first one felt like a Brian De Palma movie, the second one like a John Woo, the third like a J.J. Abrams movie," Appelbaum said. "This will absolutely feel like its own entity. There'll be all the things you love from Mission: Impossible in it, but it'll have its own sensibility. Certainly with whatever director we assign to it, that person will be somebody that will be able to create his own sort of spin and angle on what Mission: Impossible is while still staying very true to the genre and the franchise."
Cruise is set to reprise his role as IMF team leader Ethan Hunt. There was speculation that he would remain behind the scenes as a producer, given his 2006 split with Paramount. The writers always wrote the script with Hunt as the lead.
"There was a lot of talk in the press that Tom might not do it," Appelbaum said. "I think all along we knew that there is no Mission: Impossible without Ethan Hunt."
As for other IMF agents who've joined Hunt on past missions, Appelbaum only teased who we might see again. Ving Rhames? Maggie Q? Jonathan Rhys Meyers? "We might."