UK makes the impossible a reality with Rogue Nation

Friday sees the US release of Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (Paramount Pictures), the latest instalment of the hugely successful franchise which follows secret agent Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) as he battles a covert terrorist operation. The series is no stranger to the UK, with the original 1996 film having shot here, and the production of Rogue Nation saw Cruise and company return to the UK in a major way.

As is only right for a high-octane spy thriller, Rogue Nation features a host of explosive action sequences, which translated to needing major stage space. Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden with its quarter of a million square feet of stage space and 100 acres of backlot catered for their needs, bringing Tom Cruise back to the studio for the second time in recent years after Edge of Tomorrow (Warner Bros.) filmed there in 2013. The production also accessed additional stage space at the UK’s legendary Pinewood Studios, just a few miles down the road.

I spy a great location

As well as making use of two of the world’s leading studios, shooting in the UK also meant easy access to a diverse range of locations. The production took full advantage, utilising the greatly varied settings of Langlebury Mansion in Hertfordshire, Fawley Power Station in Hampshire, Ascot Rasecourse in Berkshire and Ladybower Reservoir in Derbyshire.

Rogue Nation also filmed at some of London’s most well-known locations, including Piccadilly Circus, the Tower of London, the iconic Westminster Bridge and London’s historical Middle Temple. Shooting at such diverse and in-demand locations was made simple by screen agencies Creative England and Film London.

The BFC was also on hand from the earliest stages of development, advising the film’s producers on the UK’s generous Film Tax Relief, providing location troubleshooting, stage space availability and high-level introductions as well as key crew availability.

Rogues Gallery

The production also made use of some of the abundance of acting talent available in the UK, with Cruise being joined by franchise regular Simon Pegg as well as Sean Harris, who can also be seen later this year as Macduff in the major new UK-shot adaptation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth (StudioCanal/See-Saw Films).

Rogue Nation also took advantage of British production expertise, with the crew including Unit Production Manager Chris Brock, who is no stranger to UK-based spy thrillers with no less than four Bond films to his name. Other British crew featuring in the impressive credits include First AD Toby Hefferman, Hair and Make-up Supervisor Sarah Monzani, Costume Designer Joanna Johnston, Art Director Paul Inglis and Location Manager Chris Moore – to name but a few.

Highlighting the extensive services the UK is able to offer productions, Rogue Nation carried out VFX work at London based Double Negative, with David Vickery serving as VFX Supervisor. Having previously worked on both the Harry Potter and Dark Knight series (Warner Bros.), Vickery is just one example of UK VFX talent with experience of the most ambitious of projects.

Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation is the latest treat for fans of spy films in 2015, following the hugely successful Kingsman: The Secret Service (Warner Bros.) and coming ahead of James Bond’s much anticipated return in Spectre (MGM/Eon/Sony Columbia) released worldwide later in the year. Each of these productions features a host of ambitious stunts, stunning VFX and immersive locations – and all have chosen the UK for their main base.