The Oscar-winning actress considered for Mission : Impossible 7

Christopher McQuarrie on who he had in mind for Maria role

Paramount Pictures

Julia Roberts could’ve been a part of Mission : Impossible : Dead Reckoning – Part 1, according to director Christopher McQuarrie.

You’ll recall in the film there’s a flashback sequence showing Ethan Hunt’s (Tom Cruise) pre-IMF days and why he opted to enlist in the secret hot-shot troupe. In the scene, we see Esai Morales’ Gabriel murdering a woman named Marie – ultimately framing Hunt for the deed. Instead of going to prison for her death, Hunt decides to accept the mission to join the IMF.

Though actress Mariela Garriga ultimately played Marie in the short sequence, director and co-writer McQuarrie told Empire that he was initially eyeing Julia Roberts for the role.

“I said, ‘OK, if I were doing this sequence, it would be Tom in, say, 1989. It would be Tony Scott’s ‘Mission: Impossible.’ That’s who would have been directing the movie before Brian De Palma, you know, in that era.

We looked at ‘Days of Thunder’, and we looked at the style of it, and we started thinking what would it look like if Tony Scott had shot this, and who would it have been? I looked back at who was the ingenue, who was the breakout star in 1989?

Right around then was ‘Mystic Pizza.’ And I was like, ‘Oh my God. Julia Roberts, a then-pre-“Pretty Woman” Julia Roberts, as this young woman.’ The only way I could have seen doing the sequence justice [using de-aging] was to somehow convince Julia Roberts to come in and be this small role at the beginning of this story.

Ultimately, McQuarrie realized “all anybody’s going to be thinking about is the de-aging” of the characters. It would also be costly to do.

“If you put two of them in a shot together, or three of them in a shot together, it would have been as expensive as the train by the time we were done. It was so… the force multiplier of – and the way we shoot scenes, and the fluidity, and the camera movement. And of course, that wouldn’t be the style of the movie in 1989. That wouldn’t make sense if you were shooting an ’89 ‘Mission’ like a 2023 ‘Mission.’”

Maybe McQuarrie can bring Roberts into the franchise, as another character, later on?

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