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Mission: Impossible II (2000) Poster

Trivia

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For the "knife-in-the-eye" scene, Tom Cruise insisted that a real knife be used, and that it stop exactly one quarter-inch from his eyeball, instead of somewhere vaguely near his eye, as John Woo suggested. The knife itself was connected to a cable that was measured carefully in order to achieve the effect and Cruise insisted that Dougray Scott use all his strength in the ensuing struggle.
The famous rock climbing sequence was filmed at Dead Horse Point in Utah. Tom Cruise was on cables which were then digitally removed. Ron Kauk was the climbing double and the overhang stunt was performed by main stunt double, Keith Campbell. John Woo was so scared each time but "Tom insisted on doing it".
John Woo's final cut of the film clocked in at 3-1/2 hours. The studio balked at this length and told him that the final length could not exceed 120 min. This could explain why there are so many plot holes and continuity errors in the theatrical cut.
Dougray Scott was originally slated to play Wolverine in X-Men (2000), but had to pull out when shooting on this film went into overtime.
This is the first movie that Metallica ever agreed to write a song for.
The scene where Tom Cruise "peels off his face" to reveal Dougray Scott was achieved in one shot by shooting both actors against a green screen. Cruise, not wearing a mask, was simply told to place his hand in a pre-arranged position under his chin then pull his hand across his face. Scott wore a plain mask with sensors that could provide a computer with a three-dimensional view of his face. He then peeled off this mask to finish the scene. Cruise's face was superimposed on the mask as it is pulled away and the two images morphed together in the computer; the background of the 747 cabin was added in to replace the green screen. (Watch the scene with frame advance and you will see a slight transitional 'swirl' on the mask halfway through the scene). Kevin Yagher contributed some more traditional latex mask effects for other face-peeling scenes.
Tom Cruise's then-wife Nicole Kidman suggested Thandie Newton (Kidman's co-star in Flirting (1991)) as the love interest for Ethan Hunt. She was cast before the script was written.
Luther Stickell's line "It's that simple, huh?" after hearing Ethan Hunt's explanation of what he thinks "Chimera" is was a joke about Mission: Impossible (1996), which was widely criticized for having an overly complicated plot.
SERIES TRADEMARK: At Hunt's meeting with Mission Commander Swanbeck, Hopkins offers him an espresso or cappuccino. At the preliminary meeting with Jim Phelps in Mission: Impossible (1996), Hunt asked if they could get a cappuccino machine.
Anthony Hopkins' character becomes the first person in any Mission Impossible episode or movie to actually use the phrase "mission: impossible." Ronald D. Moore and Brannon Braga also wrote the screenplay for Star Trek: First Contact (1996) which featured the first cinematic use in dialogue of the phrase "star trek."
The movie initially was rated "R", but was re rated "PG-13" after many action scenes were cut and the violence was trimmed down considerably.
SERIES TRADEMARK: Ethan is suspended by a cable while infiltrating the Biocyte Labs. See also Mission: Impossible (1996) and Mission: Impossible III (2006).
Production was delayed because Tom Cruise was shooting Eyes Wide Shut (1999) with Stanley Kubrick for over a year.
While filming in Sydney, Australian newspapers falsely reported that lead actor Tom Cruise was acting like a high-maintenance diva by sending out a memo to extras and bit part players telling them not to look him in the eye. This was incorrect. Actors in the horse track sequence were instructed not to look or make eye contact with Cruise during filming, because in several dailies shots, extras (who were star struck) were looking straight at him and pointing, destroying the shot.
The part of Mission Commander Swanbeck was originally offered to Ian McKellen. He was not able to accept the role, due to a prior theatre engagement in London and the part eventually went to Anthony Hopkins.
A brief shot of children playing "Ring Around the Roses" is shown. This is a subtle reference to the plague that would ensue should the Chimera virus be released onto the world. According to popular belief, "Ring Around the Roses" was a kids' song based on the medieval Black Plague. In this theory, the "ring around the roses" represented a ring of people around a grave with roses on it. "Pocket full of posies" refers to people carrying flowers in their pockets during the plague, to combat the stench of the corpses in the streets. "Ashes, ashes" refers to the mass burnings of bodies. "We all fall down" refers to the multitudes of people dying. In fact, the rhyme dates from Victorian times, and originally did not contain these specific references, which were created in improvisational children's playing. Nevertheless, the legend connecting the song with the plague persists making it a subtextual point.
Shipped to theaters under the fictitious name "Doll House" to deter potential thieves.
According to Robert Towne, much of his script was written around action scenes that director John Woo told him he wanted to able to direct in the movie.
Oliver Stone was the first director attached to this film in the period after the first film's release. He reportedly wrote a treatment but backed out due to scheduling conflicts resulting from Tom Cruise's prolonged stint on Eyes Wide Shut (1999).
Sean Ambrose's (Dougray Scott) waterfront house on Sydney Harbour is not a real house. It was located at Bradley's Head and was made of polystyrene and demolished after the shoot.
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Both Tom Cruise and John Woo attended a test screening of this movie in Warrenville, IL.
The sunglasses that Tom Cruise wears at the climax of the climbing scene providing him with his mission brief are modified Oakley Romeos that are now discontinued. They were modified for their appearance in the film in three ways: the ear stems are different (the commercially available model had curved ear stems while the movie version has straight stems), the lenses used in the film aren't mirrored (to prevent the film crew being seen in the reflection) and the most obvious modification being the earpieces grafted on to the frames.
Picture editor Tony Ciccone was badly injured in a motorcycle accident on his way to work and was unable to finish the movie. It took almost a year of physical therapy for him to regain full use of his hands.
Andrew Lesnie was the film's original cinematographer. He left less than a month into shooting, due to "stylistic differences" with director John Woo.
Stuart Baird did uncredited re-editing work on this film and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001) for Paramount in order to get the job of directing Star Trek: Nemesis (2002).
"Iko-Iko," the song playing during the rock climbing scene, is also prominently featured in Cruise's earlier movie "Rain Man."
John Woo clashed with original cinematographer Andrew Lesnie, when Woo felt Lesnie was unable to keep up with his shooting style of multiple cameras/shots. Lesnie was eventually replaced.
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Triumph Motorcycles supplied the Speed Triple and Daytona models used as Tom Cruise and Dougray Scott's rides respectively.
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Tom Cruise offered Brian De Palma the chance to direct the sequel, but De Palma declined.
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Tom Cruise performed most of his own stunts.
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The song "I disappear" by Metallica is on the soundtrack for MI2 and and early unfinished version of the song was leaked on Napster, starting the infamous "Metallica vs Napster" court case.
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Steve Zahn was originally cast as Billy Baird.
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Theatrical trailer shows three extended scenes which are not in the movie; Ethan saying "Welcome to Australia, mate" to Luther when they first meet, extra line of dialogue by Swanbeck in the ending where he says to Ethan "Well, Mr. Hunt. I don't quite know where to begin", and Ethan charging at Sean and two of them falling off the cliff. Originally this scene happened right after they crash their bikes and before their fight on the beach. Making of documentary where stunts from the movie are discussed also shows some behind the scenes footage from filming of this scene and couple shots from it; motorbike flying towards camera which is buried in the ground, Ethan and Sean lying on ground after crashing into each other when the other crashed motorbike explodes, and Ethan running towards Sean.
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The knife used in the fight scene at the end of the film is a Kershaw Amphibian.
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Was to be film editor Tony Ciccone's big break as a studio co-editor. Unfortunately, a motorcycle accident a year into production prevented him from finishing the film. He was given the lesser credit of additional editor.
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Both Tom Cruise and Dougray Scott starred in films with two of "Charlie's Angels." Scott starred with Drew Barrymore in Ever After: A Cinderella Story (1998) and Cruise starred with Cameron Diaz twice in Vanilla Sky (2001) and Knight and Day (2010). Also, Thandie Newton was originally cast as Alex in Charlie's Angels, but had to pull out due to scheduling conflicts with this film, and the role went to Lucy Liu.
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Two actors in this film have gone on to battle other action star Liam Nesson in the "Taken" films. Dougray Scott (Sean Ambrose) was the villain in Tak3n (2015) and Rade Sherbedgia (Dr. Nekhorvich) was the villain in Taken 2.
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In Greek mythology the Chimera was a monster with a lion's head, a goat's body, and a serpent's tail eventually killed by the hero Bellerophon, hence the name of the virus and its antidote,
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John O'Hare was considered for the role of Sean Ambrose.
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In the final battle, the building's security systems shows a problem in Level 42, the name of a 1980s band with hits that include "Lessons in Love" and "Something About You".
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In one scene in the film when asked by Billy what the security looks like from his point of view, Ethan replies "Risky." This may be a reference to his star vehicle Risky Business (1983).
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Director Trademark 

John Woo:  [guns]  Ethan Hunt uses a gun in each hand.
John Woo:  [Doves] 
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John Woo:  [slow motion] 
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Spoilers 

The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

As of 2015, this is the only Mission: Impossible film where Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is actually working for the IMF and not on the run, working outside IMF and/or disavowed. In Mission: Impossible (1996), Ethan is believed to be a mole and is disavowed; In Mission: Impossible III (2006), Ethan is eventually on the run from the IMF after he is believed to be an enemy; in Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol (2011), the IMF is shut down; and in Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation, the IMF is disbanded and Ethan is considered a rogue agent.
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This instalment features the highest amount of mask wearing in any Mission: Impossible film. Ambrose wears an Ethan mask twice, Stamp wears an Ethan mask and Ethan wears both a Stamp mask and a Nekhorvich mask.
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The sunglasses Tom Cruise wears in the motorcycle chase are Oakley Fives. They are black frames with grey lenses. The O's were painted black whereas commercial models were white or silver in color. Along with the Romeos featured at the beginning of the film, this is the only mission: Impossible film to feature 2 pairs of glasses Oakley Inc.
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