Despite Tom Crusie’s insanity and the very real possibility that this movie was going to be shelved because of it, Mission Impossible III began filming yesterday in Rome. Original plans called for shooting inside the walls of Vatican City, but permission was summarily denied, in part because of Cruise’s very vocal support of Scientology, which is widely regarded as a dangerous cult in most of Europe.
Originally set to be written and directed by the great Joe Carnahan and co-starring Scarlett Johansson and Carrie Ann Moss, the movie is now helmed by JJ Abrams (Alias, Lost) and co-starring Keri Russell and Maggie Q. Publicly it was reported that Abrahms rewrote the script and the part Johansson was set to play no longer existed. Privately it is well known that Cruise arranged a meeting with Johansson at the Scientology Celebrity Center in Hollywood and, in effect, auditioned Johansson for the part currently played by Katie Holmes. Scarlett freaked and promptly left the meeting, at which point Cruise barked at some guards, saying, “Fools, she’s getting away!” and then he followed the progress of the chase on a crystal ball. From what I understand, the odds that I made that last part up are about 50-50.
So, to recap, Johansson rejected Scientology and got written out. Russell converted to Scientology and got her first decent part in 5 years. Everyone sees how this works, right?
Mission Impossible III is set for domestic release May 5, 2006.