The lucky few managed to snag a Mission Impossible 7-branded umbrella. There were dozens of them, neatly arranged on the marble banisters of the Spanish Steps, the majestic staircase of Rome’s Piazza di Spagna that is no stranger to large-scale social events, but rarely finds itself the center of a global premiere like this: The bow of Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One.

For everybody else — and we’re talking about thousands of people, of all ages and nationalities — all that’s left to do is to shelter themselves from the scorching sun, which melts the makeup of fans, journalists, and influencers —Tik Tok-ers are there to the left of the Barcaccia fountain — alike. They spent more than half an hour taking photos of the Piazza, with their studied poses and skimpy, glittery outfits.

The undisputed star on this very hot Roman afternoon is Tom Cruise. That quintessential action actor, who, while almost 61, continues to astound the world with increasingly reckless stunts and seemingly-inexhaustible crazy energy. Cruise even managed, on his Roman tour de force, to find time to stop in on Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, who, rather lamely, said “Mission: Impossible” is what her government faces every day.

But back to the Spanish Steps, to the sweltering crowd of red carpet gawkers, to the rowdy screams and cauldron of sweat and excitement that rises above those huge LED screens and can be heard over the “Top Secret” drum corps in M:I 7 uniforms performing on the steps, lending the air of a military tattoo to the event.

After descending the staircase, Cruise strolls around the red carpet semicircle running around the famed Barcaccia fountain: 36 slots representing the whole world united here for the world premiere of one of the last great blockbuster franchises still standing.

The M:I 7 red carpet, much like the Roman Coliseum, has a strict pecking order. High up, next to the Trinità dei Monti church, there’s a dedicated area for the select few: Those granted extensive face-time with Cruise, who signs every single autograph, shakes every hand, poses for every selfie. Below is an almost-uncontrolled rabble of second-tier fans, shoving and scuffling for their moment with the star.

Cruise, of course, is unflappable. He throws himself into the throng. “I’ve always made films for the audience and for the theaters, for distributors and for the big screen,” he tells THR Roma. “I love this experience, I’ve always studied the new tech and all the ways to involve viewers at every level and make it [the big screen], more immersive and fun. I’ve always wanted to make films and travel the world, to have this opportunity, and that’s what I want to keep doing.”

Addressing his fans directly, Cruise recalls the struggles the team had in making M:I 7, which shot at the peak of COVID lockdowns. “You have to see the film, we ran through these streets at a difficult time for everyone [the pandemic and lockdown]. I feel lucky to be here, and if there hadn’t been a team of people who made it possible we wouldn’t have been able to create a story like this. The film is an epic adventure, full of real action, we really ‘rocked’ in that car.”

He points to the yellow Fiat 500 featured in one of the film’s most exciting and exquisitely Roman scenes, parked a few meters away. A car is described as “a challenge” even for someone like Cruise, accustomed to doing his own stunts on jets, helicopters, motorcycles and race cars. “Driving on the cobblestones of Rome, that was something! Hayley [Atwell] was very brave to be in that car with me, I kept reassuring her ‘Don’t worry, I’ll take care of you,’ but it wasn’t easy.”

“It’s great to be back here in Rome,” says director Christopher McQuarrie. “It fills me with joy to have been here when it was empty during the pandemic and to see the streets today so full of people and life. I’ve never felt more happy to be stuck in traffic!”

M:I 7 is the first of a two-parter, with Dead Reckoning Part Two set for release next year. But McQuarrie, who has helmed the last three M:I movies, says he has no plans to walk away and sees no reason to stop the franchise now. “Mission: Impossible will end when the audience is no longer entertained,” he says. Judging by the reception of M:I 7 in Rome, that truly feels like mission impossible.


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