The latest 2024 film, “Thelma,” includes some footage from “Mission Impossible,” starring Tom Cruise. According to the filmmaker, Cruise himself approved of the use of this footage in the new film. Directed by Josh Margolin, “Thelma” is a comedy film starring 94-year-old June Squibb in the titular role. The movie marks Squibb’s first role as the leading actress. In the film, the 93-year-old character, Thelma Post, seeks revenge and becomes an unlikely action hero after being scammed out of $10,000. Interestingly, the story and the main character of the movie are inspired by Margolin’s 104-year-old grandmother. The film explores issues that older adults face in a meaningful and entertaining fashion.

How did ‘Mission Impossible’ Footage become part of ‘Thelma’?

With a 99% critical score and a 79% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes, “Thelma” proves to be a critic’s favorite film of 2024. What adds to the film’s success is the inclusion of Tom Cruise’s “Mission Impossible” footage. During an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Josh Margolin was asked about the action-comedy’s references to the “Mission: Impossible” franchise via clips and images from the films and of Cruise and whether Margolin needed to receive permission from the star himself.

Responding to the question, the filmmaker explained how he arranged these references and how they impacted Thelma’s production. He said,

“It came during production. We shot two versions of those scenes, one with Tom on [TVs and newspapers] and then one with like a replaceable green box. It was surprisingly smooth. Nicky Weinstock, who’s a producer on the movie, was at the same agency as him and has some pals in common there. We ended up sending the scene in the script to give him a little context and then a clip of the table read. We got his signoff and then we went to Paramount, which I suspect made things a lot easier there.”

However, it is crucial to note that there is just a small part of Tom Cruise and “Mission Impossible” references, and Thelma remains the show-stealer. It’s undoubtedly Squibb’s hilarious performance in the film that makes it a stellar comedy.

Margolin shared with THR that Squibb was the only actor he ever wanted for the role. Furthermore, he emphasized that she reminded him of his grandmother, who inspired the story, and that Squibb had the perfect dramatic and humorous range needed for the role. Even Rotten Tomatoes’ consensus reads: “A stellar showcase for the talented June Squibb, Thelma avoids cheap laughs as it finds the lighter side of some serious issues.”

Another pivotal aspect that adds to the film is its theme, which emphasizes issues that older adults face in a subtle and humorous way. The action-comedy genre allows “Thelma” to tackle these issues with clever humor that respects both its characters and viewers. It addresses tough topics, like mortality, without oversimplifying or becoming too bleak. As mentioned above, a major credit goes to Margolin’s real-life experiences with his grandmother, which helped him to portray the story so beautifully.

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