Mission: Impossible – Fallout is a 2018 American action spy film produced by Christopher McQuarrie. It is the sixth instalment in the Mission: Impossible film series. The cast includes Tom Cruise, Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Sean Harris, Michelle Monaghan, Alec Baldwin, Henry Cavill, Vanessa Kirby, and Angela Bassett.
In the film, Ethan Hunt and his team, supported by allies, race against time to track down stolen plutonium after a mission goes wrong.
Preikestolen at the Lysefjord, Fjord-Norway, was used as a key filming location for one of the most important action scenes.
Talks for a sixth Mission: Impossible film began prior to the release of the 5th film in the series – Rogue Nation – in 2015. The film was officially announced in November that year, with McQuarrie confirming his return as writer, director and producer, alongside J. J. Abrams and Tom Cruise.
Filming took place from April 2017 to March 2018, in Paris, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, the United Arab Emirates, and of course at Preikestolen, Norway.
Preikestolen was voted “Most Breathtaking Viewing Platform” by Lonely Planet in 2015. In the past, Preikestolen has been used as a scene in many film, PR and media projects. Commercials for cars, Bollywood productions, concerts and various music videos are just a few examples.
In Spring 2017, local authorities were informed Preikestolen was considered one of the filming set locations for Mission: Impossible – Fall Out. The Rogaland County Council immediately engaged Stiftelsen Preikestolen to fulfil two important tasks:
1) to act as a coordinator between the film production company and local authorities
2) on site hostmanship on behalf of the land owners.
For all communication about filming Mission: Impossible – Fallout at Preikestolen, project name “Gemini” was used, to (try to) keep a low profile.
The Gemini Project´s amount of paperwork and logistics was enormous. During preparation and filming itself, Stiftelsen Preikestolen and the local municipality of Forsand remained comprehensive communication and cooperation with Truenorth, the Islandic film production company hired by Paramount Pictures.
The decision to grant Paramount Pictures a license for filming at what is often referred to as Norway´s greatest natural icon, was not taking lightly by the municipality of Forsand. An exemption to Norway´s unique right to roam freely in nature had to be granted to be able to close Preikestolen for the public, so that the film crew could work in peace. Furthermore, impacts on the natural environment and local community had to be considered.
After a thorough process, the Municipal Council considered the advantages to outweigh the negative impacts. Major of Forsand, Bjarte Dagestad, says: “Forsand wants to be a municipality saying ‘Yes!’ to projects which can generate positive economic activity and ripple effects for our local community, region and nation.” Hosting a filming set for a Mission: Imposible film was looked upon as mostly positive for marketing the Norwegian natural scenery to a broad global audience.
The list of requirements Paramount Pictures agreed to was long. Most importantly, the final agreement stated that local providers should be used as far and as much as possible. As an example, local mountaineers and rescue teams were engaged in climbing, securing and safety related tasks. The local department of the Norwegian People’s Aid contributed with 1,000 hours of volunteering. In return, they received an undisclosed, but significant, financial contribution, which was used to finance future search and rescue operations around the Lysefjord. Also, most of the crew were staying at Preikestolen Mountain Lodge (Tom Cruise stayed at a private property and was flown directly to Preikestolen). Local chefs were hired to cooperate with the film production company´s own kitchen staff.
Originally, filming at Preikestolen was planned in the period September 20 – 28, 2017. However, in August 2018, Tom Cruise injured his right leg on the London set during filming. The studio announced it would stop production for at least nine weeks for Tom Cruise’s broken ankle and other injuries to heal, but released a statement saying that they would be keeping the July 2018 release date for the film. The injury resulted in a cost of around $80 million for the studio, because they had to pay the cast and crew while Cruise was recovering. However, the injury and subsequent costs were compensated by the production’s insurance company and did not count against the film’s final budget. Filming resumed in early October 2017, with Cruise spotted on the set seven weeks after his initial injury, and two weeks earlier than initially planned. Filming at Preikestolen was rescheduled to November, despite the risk of having to face logistical and weather challenges with winter approaching fast. To minimize having to halt filming due to snow, filming at Preikestolen started even though Tom Cruise´s ankle was not fully healed.
Preparations, filming and cleaning operations at Preikestolen took 8 days, between November 2 and November 9, executed by a crew counting on average 140 people. During this period, public access to Preikestolen was restricted. In total, 120 ton of equipment had to be flown up and down by 10 helicopters, executing 800 flights. To avoid damage to the rock and surrounding vegetation, helicopters were not allowed to land on Preikestolen itself – everything had to be lowered down from the air. Wind conditions posed some challenges, causing delays on the first day of filming. During the three days of filming, Preikestolen was totally closed for public.
During filming, little information about Cruise’s whereabouts or role at the set was shared with the public. It is commonly known, though, that Cruise performs his stunts himself. It soon became clear that a large part of Cruise’s activity at Preikestolen was related to climbing up the last meters of the cliff himself, hanging at 604 meters above the Lysefjord.
All in all, timing proved to be perfect. Delays were caught up and filming took only just over 2 days. The day after Cruise had left the set, Preikestolen experienced heavy snow fall, which marked the start of a long and snow-rich winter. When leaving, McQuarrie expressed a “sincerest heartfelt appreciation to the people of Norway for sharing the unparalleled beauty of your home with us” on behalf of the entire MI6 crew. He concluded his post on Instagram with the Norwegian expression ‘tusen takk’ – a thousand thanks.
The total production budget was 178 million US dollars.
Fun fact: As you know Preikestolen is located near Stavanger, Fjord-Norway. In the movie, the scene filmed at Preikestolen was used in a sequence that was set in Kashmir.
Pre-premiere at Preikestolen
Mission: Impossible – Fallout had its world premiere in Paris on July 12, 2018 and was released in the United States on July 27, 2018. The official Norwegian premiere was planned on August 3, 2018. However, due to an initiative by major Dagestad, a unique outdoor pre-premiere found place at Preikestolen itself on August 1, 2018.
Major Dagestad tells us about his personal on-set meeting with McQuarrie, Cruise and Cavill at Preikestolen. During a discussion about the film’s positive effects for the local community, they coined the idea of showing the movie at Preikestolen itself. According to Dagestad, “McQuarry was very enthousiastic towards a pre-premiere in what he called ‘amazing surroundings’. So I travelled to Oslo to meet Paramount Pictures to get permission for an exclusive pre-premiere on August 1.”
Dagestad further points out that this initiative never would have seen daylight without the huge contributions of all cooperating partners, including Stiftelsen Preikestolen, the local land-owners, the local Norwegian People’s Aid department, local mountaineer, rescue and safety experts, the surrounding municipalities, private contributors, and many more.
One of the world’s latest and most advanced laser projectors was used to project Fallout on a 14 by 9-meter large canvas screen. Full surround sound equipment was installed to ensure spectators would feel like they were part of the scene. The Daily Mirror wondered if this once-in-a-lifetime event in such an epic setting could have been “the world’s prettiest outdoor cinema”.
The pre-premiere started at 11pm and lasted for 2 hours and 25 minutes. At 1:30 am in the morning, 2,000 people walked down the 4-kilometre trail, which was illuminated by 200 torches. The local Norwegian People’s Aid department made sure everyone came down safely.
Dagestad enthusiastically tells as he relives the memory: “The pre-premiere was supposed to be a public festival, and it was just that. The 2,000 tickets were torn away and sold out in just 10 minutes. The weather was fantastic, further contributing to a truly memorable experience – one for the history books. The main attraction was the movie itself, but even today, I still receive feedback about the magic of the event and the vibe among the spectators. To experience a sunset and full moonrise above the Lysefjord while watching Fallout in that scenery… To see 2,000 people equipped with headlamps walk down the mountain in one endless chain of lights… It was just magic!”
Norwegian actor Kristoffer Joner – playing a nuclear researcher in the film – was present at Preikestolen during the pre-premiere. Tom Cruise was not present but posted a drone photo of Preikestolen and the outdoor cinema on his Instagram account, accompanied by the text “2,000 feet, 2,000 peope, 4 hours of hiking. The most impossible screening of Mission: Impossible Fallout. Thank you all for coming! I wish I could have made it.”
A well-kept secret was the personal video message Cruise, McQuarrie and Cavill had recorded for the visitors of the pre-premiere at Preikestolen. People were touched to tears when they saw these celebrities on screen, telling them what a spectacular film set Preikestolen had been, and how much they had wanted to be part of this unique event.
No permanent negative effects on the local flora and fauna have been registered. The accessibility restrictions that were put in place around Preikestolen during filming is assumed to not have had any negative impact on Preikestolen´s reputation. On the contrary, the exposure to millions of cinema visitors and viewers worldwide is expected to have increased the awareness of Preikestolen, the Lysefjord and Norway as a natural scenic location and travel destination. Although effects on actual visitor numbers – now and in the future – are difficult to measure, they are likely to be positive, and expected to last well into the future.
Mission: Impossible – Fallout received critical acclaim for its screenplay, direction, cinematography, action sequences, stunts, musical score and performances (particularly Cruise, Cavill and Kirby). Many critics called it the best instalment in the franchise, with some regarding it as one of the greatest action films of all-time (BBC News). The film is now listed as the best instalment of the Mission: Impossible series. It currently has a 97% rating at review website Rotten Tomatoes, 7.8/10 at IMDB, and an A status at CinemaScore.
As of January 2019, Mission: Impossible – Fallout had generated almost 800 million US dollars in revenue, exceeding its production costs budget with almost 350%.