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MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE III

About The Locations And Production Design
"Mission: Impossible III” lives up to the tradition of spy thrillers taking audiences to exotic international locations. However, Abrams is careful to note, the locations were chosen because they were specifically part of the story he tells. "I didn't want the audience to get ‘travelogue syndrome,'” he says. "The places we chose are integral to the whole story.”

Enzo Sisti in Italy and Eric Schwab in China worked with production designer Scott Chambliss and the filmmakers to find locations that could be incorporated into the film organically.

"From the very start, J.J. didn't want ‘Mission: Impossible III' to look super-slick,” explains the production designer, Scott Chambliss, who previously collaborated with Abrams on the television series "Felicity” and "Alias.” "He wanted it to be grounded in reality. He wanted grit and texture and reality to the character. That meant that our locations had to have the same reality and also be at the enormous scale that befits a ‘Mission: Impossible.'”

To bring that to life, the filmmakers chose, in Chambliss's words, "a huge Vatican sequence, a huge rooftop sequence in Shanghai, and huge factory sequence in Berlin. J.J.'s concept drives the scale of all the action in our story.” In order to find the kind of unique locations they were looking for, Chambliss embarked on a worldwide scout. "I've visited some of the most amazing, exciting locations in the world,” he marvels. "Every country we visited offered incredible opportunities and incredible challenges as well. We looked for places with dramatic power. This isn't a fantastical world, it isn't a period piece; every place we go, we want to believe in it.”

Principal photography began in Rome. The first thrilling action sequence took place on the Tiber River, which runs through the middle of the city. The filming in such a public place caused great excitement, with crowds of paparazzi and onlookers crowding the banks and bridges overlooking the river.

Tom Cruise and the actors playing the other members of the I.M.F. team – Ving Rhames (Luther), Jonathan Rhys Meyers (Declan) and Maggie Q (Zhen) – took part in a high speed motor boat chase on the Tiber, which featured the incredible backdrop of the Vatican itself.

Jonathan Rhys Meyers describes the scene: "We're flying along in this speedboat, going through these archways, and all of a sudden I hear this sound in my head – the theme to ‘Mission: Impossible': dun, dun, dun dun, dun, dun, dun dun… doodle doo, doodle doo… and I realize, it's coming from Tom. Tom's actually singing it. He's still that same kid, sitting down with popcorn and ice cream to watch the show on a Friday evening. He still believes in the magic of it.”

From Rome, the production moved south to the Palazzo Reale Della Reggia Di Caserta, near Naples, which would double for the Vatican. Chambliss was responsible for transforming the monumental fortress into the Vatican courtyard. "The scene involves a party for 300 people in a gigantic rotunda; it had to have a texture and a punch so that it wouldn't get lost in the enormous architecture. We very studiously went through mounds of research on Vatican ceremonies, public and private. As it turns out, they don't have one single color palate for their ceremonies, so we fabricated dozens of enormous Papal banners.”

From there, the production moved to Shanghai, China. From the very beginning, Abrams envisioned a sequence taking place in the Far East; after scouting Japan, the filmmakers took a trip to China and found a location unlike any other in the world. The China locations were produced with the assistance of China Film Co-Production Corporation and The Fourth Production Company China Film Group Corporation.

"Shanghai is a futuristic, science-fiction city,” says Abrams. "It's also a city that

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