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Brad Bird: Tom Cruise has ruined me for other actors

September 28, 2011 |  2:05 pm

Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol

Fans might run hot and cold on Tom Cruise these days, but on the set, every filmmaker seems to adore him. Brad Bird, director of Paramount's upcoming "Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol," is no different.

"He's ruined me for everyone else," says Bird, who makes his live-action directorial debut in December after minting a major Hollywood profile with animation powerhouse Pixar. "I'm not going to understand after this point why any actor doesn't want to do all of their own stunts and hang off of a mile-high building. He truly loves the movies and the movie-making process, and he knows a ton about it but is incredibly polite and shows up on time and has done all of his homework."

Bird and Paramount Pictures are taking an unprecedented approach with "Ghost Protocol" by releasing it five days earlier than its Dec. 21 opening date at more than 200 Imax theaters, as reported over at our sister blog Hero Complex. But it's not clear if a franchise that has been away for nearly six years is up to the assignment it has chosen to accept.

A major centerpiece of the film, which stars Cruise as Ethan Hunt and features an ensemble cast that includes Jeremy Renner, Paula Patton and Simon Pegg, is the tense action sequence filmed at the top of the Burj Khalifa, the Dubai skyscraper that stands as the world's tallest building.

Cruise risked life and limb doing the stunt work, and Bird said the veteran actor was both a resource and raconteur on the set, which was valuable considering the tight shooting schedule for the film.

"He's made for movies the way Michael Phelps is built for swimming," two-time Oscar winner Bird said. "You look at the directors he's worked with too, it's a who's who. Scorsese and Kubrick and Spielberg and Oliver Stone — when Oliver Stone was making better movies — and Michael Mann and Sydney Pollack and on and on and on. It's kind of stunning. Not every one of them was a great movie, but he's worked with great directors over and over again, and you can engage him in those conversations."


Brad Bird: 'Mission: Impossible' opening early at IMAX

Why can't Tom Cruise escape himself?

'Ghost Protocol' looks for acceptance

-- Geoff Boucher

Photo: Tom Cruise plays Ethan Hunt, left, Paula Patton plays Jane, Simon Pegg plays Benji and Jeremy Renner plays Brandt, right, in a scene from "Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol." Credit: Paramount.