Mission: Impossible, ‘Cruise’ing its way into our hearts since 20 years!

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This May marked the 20th Anniversary of Tom Cruise’s first major franchise, Mission: Impossible. The series, with its action filled plot lines and over-the-top stunts (we’re looking at the Burj Al-Arab scene here), captivated its audience, every time a new addition to the series released. Your mission – should you choose to accept it – is to check out these 20 facts about the film, to commemorate its 20th Anniversary.

Mission: Impossible

  1. Cruise was originally not a fan of the helicopter flying into the tunnel after the train. De Palma insisted that they needed to go big for the film’s climatic set piece, so Cruise relented.
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  2. Before hiring Brian De Palma to direct, Cruise worked on the film’s story with legendary director Sydney Pollack, who’s uncredited in the final release
  3. The film was originally going to open with a scene that established a love triangle between Hunt, Phelps, and Phelps’s wife. De Palma scrapped that scene because it didn’t fit with the rest of the film.
  4. De Palma designed many of the film’s action sequences before the story connecting them was complete, forcing screenwriters to construct narratives around them.

Mission: Impossible II

  1. When developing the 2nd film of the series, director John Woo was inspired by Hitchcock’s “Notorious.” The classic thriller centers on a love triangle involving spies, and Woo wanted to bring a similar dynamic to the relationship between Ethan Hunt, the villain, Ambrose (Dougray Scott) and the love interest they both share, Nyah Nordoff-Hall (Thandie Newton).
  2. The opening scene, where Cruise climbs and leaps from a 2,000-foot cliff, was the scariest and most challenging of Woo’s career. Cruise did the aforementioned stunt himself, with no safety net on the ground (naturally) but with a safety harness, which was digitally-removed later.
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  3. Ambrose’s house on the water in Sydney wasn’t real. Instead, it was built of polystyrene and demolished after shooting.
  4. The famous shot of a dove flying through the fire, a Woo trademark, was computer-animated.

Mission: Impossible III

  1. Cruise became convinced that J.J. Abrams should direct the film after watching an episode of Alias at 2 a.m. one morning.
  2. Tom Cruise was holding cue cards for Crudup in the scene in which Musgrave reveals that he’s a villain. The scene was only written that morning and Crudup didn’t have time to learn his lines.
  3. Maggie Q, who plays Zhen Lei, hadn’t driven before shooting the film, a fact that became clear when she accidentally drove her character’s Lamborghini into another car during shooting in Italy.
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  4. The idea of providing mission information via a disposable camera came from Steven Spielberg.

Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol

  1. The opening scene in Budapest was to have depicted Ethan Hunt leaping off the building and getting assassinated. When it was decided to keep Hunt (and Cruise) around, the scene was changed to involve the character of Hanaway, played by “Lost’s” Josh Holloway.
  2. The code Ethan punches into a pay phone to get his mission is 07362, the date of Cruise’s birthday.
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  3. Actor Dermot Mulroney plays cello on the film’s soundtrack; he also provided music for M:I 3.
  4. Bird included a common Easter egg that he often drops in his films: the code “A113.” It’s the number of an animation classroom at the California Institute of the Arts where he and John Lasseter studied and it appears in Ghost Protocol on Hanaway’s (Josh Holloway) class ring.
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Mission: Impossible – Rouge Nation

  1. “Rogue Nation” continued the tradition of Cruise sporting long hair for the even-numbered installments, and short hair for the odd-numbered films.
  2. The airplane stunt that Tom Cruise performed himself, without any stunt double or special effects, had him suspended on the aircraft 5000 feet in the air at times!
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  3. All the good guys in the movie drive BMW cars. The bad guys drive an Audi or a Mercedes!
  4. Tom Cruise and Ving Rhames are the only actors to appear in all five films in the franchise.
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“The one with all the facts” – Things you didn’t know about F.R.I.E.N.D.S.

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F.R.I.E.N.D.S. is one of those cult TV shows that is loved by all. If you have been living under a rock, and have no clue about this amazing series, it follows the lives of a group of six friends who live in Manhattan, as they try to make it in the Big Apple! Here are a few friendly facts (pun intended) about the show that you probably hadn’t heard before:

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1. Three cast members from The Simpsons made guest appearances on Friends: Dan Castellaneta (Homer), Hank Azaria (Moe/Apu, etc.) and Harry Shearer (Mr. Burns/Smithers, etc.).

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2. The show was originally called Insomnia Cafe. It was then renamed Friends Like Us, and then Six of One before becoming Friends.

3. At the beginning of the 1st season, each cast member was paid $22,000 per episode. By the final season, they each got $1,000,000 per episode.

4. “The One Where No One’s Ready” takes place entirely in Monica’s apartment because the show didn’t have a large enough budget for guest stars or additional sets.

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5. David Schwimmer directed 10 Friends episodes.

6. The story-line of Phoebe carrying her brother’s triplets was written because Lisa Kudrow was pregnant in real life.

7. In the opening credits of “The One After Vegas”, which is dedicated to Courteney Cox and David Arquette’s marriage, every cast member has the surname Arquette added to the end of his or her real name.

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8. Phoebe and Chandler were originally supposed to be supporting characters. David Schwimmer was the first of the main six actors to be cast in the show and Jennifer Aniston was the last.

9. All of the six main characters have kissed each other at one point (if you include the alternative “what if?” episodes), except Monica and Phoebe.

10. The orange couch in Central Perk was found in the basement of the Warner Bros. studio.

11. The Magna Doodle actually made its debut in Episode 18, but it was much clearer in 19. The first column appears to be a grocery list, while the second one reads, “Joey call your dad.” After this, each doodle had some connection to the storyline of the episode.

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12. Giovanni Ribisi plays Phoebe’s brother Frank Jr. in later episodes, but he also has a small cameo in the earlier seasons. He plays a boy who accidentally throws a condom into Phoebe’s guitar case instead of a coin.

13. When Rachel is trying to find a new officiate for Chandler and Monica’s wedding, she finds a Greek Orthodox priest coming out of the Anastassakis/Papasifakis wedding. Anastassakis is Jennifer Aniston’s family name.

14. Monica’s apartment changed from number 5 to number 20 when the show’s writers realised that “5” wouldn’t denote an apartment on an upper level floor in a large block. So they matched, Chandler’s also changed from 4 to 19.

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15. When Lisa Kudrow first read the script, she thought Chandler’s character was gay.

16.  Courteney Cox was a neat freak, just like Monica and would clean the others’ dressing rooms.

17. James Michael Tyler was cast as Gunther because he was the only extra who knew how to operate an espresso machine. Also, Gunther wasn’t given a name until the middle of the second season.

18. Ellen DeGeneres turned down an offer to play Phoebe.

19. In the last episode, it is mentioned that all six characters have lived in Monica’s apartment. They have all also lived in Joey’s apartment.

20. When the last series ended, each cast member was given a piece of the sidewalk from outside Central Perk as a keepsake.

21. June Gable, who played Joey’s agent Estelle Leonard, also played a nurse in the episode where Carol gives birth to Ben.

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22. The writers used a pie chart to track how many lines and jokes each character said, to make sure each actor had the same amount.

23. Cox had a special place called “Courteney’s Candy Cabinet” on the set, for “once famous for scarfing down junk food”, according to A Natural Living Today story from 1996.

24. The actors, led by David Schwimmer, held an ‘intervention’ for Jennifer Aniston because of her lateness to the set.

25. Lisa Kudrow was scared of the duck that was in Joey’s and Chandler’s apartment, along with the chick.

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Bollywood’s filmy facts you probably didn’t know!

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There is something magical about the world of cinema. When it comes to Bollywood, movie buffs take their love and obsession to a whole new level. They know every dialogue, every behind-the-scene story, and even every last bit of gossip, revolving around Bollywood films. We tried digging a little deeper and extracting a few facts that we think even hardcore Bollywood buffs will not know. Here they are:

Bollywood was born 11 years before Hollywood! Bollywood’s first production was an 1899 short film, whereas Hollywood’s first film came out in 1910.

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Raj Kapoor’s Mera Naam Joker was the first Hindi movie to have not one, but two intervals. Aamir Khan’s Dhobi Ghaat, on the other hand, released without an interval!

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Indians buy 2.7 billion movie tickets annually, the highest in the world. Since our average ticket price is among the lowest in the world, revenues are a fraction compared to Hollywood.

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The film with the most number of songs ever is (surprise, surprise) a Bollywood movie! With a whopping 71 songs, Indar Sabha (1932) claimed this title with ease and has never even had a close competitor.

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Bhanu Athaiya was the first Indian ever to win the prestigious Academy Award. She’s been associated with the industry for over 50 years now and she won the award for the ‘Best Costume Deisgner’ for Richard Attenborough’s Gandhi in 1982.

Bollywood viewership is pegged at anywhere between 3 billion and 4 billion — which is more than half the population of our planet! It overtook Hollywood in 2004 and has been leading viewership numbers ever since.

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The Bachchans hold the Guinness World record for being the only father-son duo to have played reversed roles on-screen in Paa.

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The film Kaho Naa.. Pyar Hai has been added in the Guinness Book of World Records’ 2002 edition for being the film to have won the largest number of awards. It won a whopping 92 awards the year after its release!

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Special Mention:

Rajnikanth never said “Enna Rascala!”