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Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One” almost pulled an “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” by opening with an extended sequence featuring a de-aged version of its main star. “Dial of Destiny” de-aged Harrison Ford to mixed results for a 25-minute opener. “Dead Reckoning” director Christopher McQuarrie ultimately nixed an idea to de-age Tom Cruise because the technology just isn’t convincing enough yet.

“Originally, there had been a whole sequence at the beginning of the movie that was going to take place in 1989,” McQuarrie told GamesRadar+ and Total Film. “We talked about it as a cold open, we talked about it as flashbacks in the movie, we looked at de-aging.”

“One of the big things about [the de-aging] I was looking at while researching, I kept saying, ‘Boy, this de-aging is really good’ or ‘This de-aging is not so good,’” McQuarrie continued. “Never did I find myself actually following the story…I was so distracted by an actor that I had known for however long was now suddenly this young person.”

In researching de-aging technology for “Dead Reckoning,” McQuarrie added that he may have “cracked the code” on how to successfully pull it off in a future film.

“In researching that, I cracked the code – I think – on how best to approach it,” McQuarrie said. “By then, we had kind of moved away from it. We may still play with it. We never say never.”

McQuarrie’s decision not to de-age Tom Cruise is almost identical to George Miller’s decision not to de-age Charlize Theron for his “Mad Max: Fury Road” prequel “Furiosa.” Theron originated the eponymous road warrior in “Fury Road,” but Anya-Taylor Joy is taking over the role for Warner Bros. 2024 prequel.

“For the longest time, I thought we could just use CG de-aging on Charlize, but I don’t think we’re nearly there yet,” Miller told The New York Times in 2020 about ruling it out. “Despite the valiant attempts on ‘The Irishman,’ I think there’s still an uncanny valley. Everyone is on the verge of solving it, particularly Japanese video-game designers, but there’s still a pretty wide valley, I believe.”

“Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One” is now playing in theaters nationwide from Paramount Pictures.

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