Where in the world did they find that parking garage used in one of the climactic scenes of “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol“?
We will offer a three-stage answer.
First, the structure in the movie was not in Mumbai, India.
Second, it was actually built at the Canadian Motion Picture Park, in suburban Vancouver, British Columbia – which is where most of the movie was actually shot.
Third, the inspiration for the parking garage scene came from Volkswagen. The photo at the top of this article is of the interior of a 20-story car tower in Volkswagen’s Autostadt attraction in Wolfsburg, Germany (see its website here).
The Autostadt (in German, literally, it translates as “auto state” but “car city” is more what they mean) opened in May 2000, adjacent to VW’s manufacturing plant there. More than two million people visit it each year. Autostadt includes a hotel, restaurants, a museum, and other attractions – in particular the glass “car silos” (yes, there are two of them). If you arrange to purchase a Volkswagen direct from the factory, with factory pickup – you take delivery from these vending machine-like displays.
It’s a fully automated procedure whereby the automobile is plucked electronically from a cubbyhole in one of the “twin towers” – each of which holds up to 400 vehicles – and is brought to its owner on a special elevator.
The Mission: Impossible version of VW’s auto silo was built by Special Effects Supervisor Mike Meinardus and his crew in Vancouver. It took six months to construct. When it was finished, it worked just like the VW version, and was fully operable. The structure included a 35,000-pound, 78-foot tall center column that supported two 23-foot parking paddles, each of which weighed over three tons. Although the VW version is far larger, the MI IV version held about 70 cars, 18 on each level. Pretty impressive.
The filmmakers (including Tom Cruise) wanted the action scenes to be as “real” and “authentic” as possible, so Mr. Cruise (Ethan Hunt) and Michael Nyqvist (Dr. Hendricks) are actually in every shot.
The pair of actors were suspended from cables, attached to the ceiling of the structure, as well as to the ends of the paddles to prevent accidental falls between vehicle platforms and to guide planned jumps. Cruise, at one point, makes a three-story leap (shown in photo, above) from a deck level into a car on a moving paddle, slowed at the end of his fall by a decelerator. (The tethering cables were digitally erased in post production).
“Each paddle weighs 6,700 pounds and there’s only about a half-inch clearance between the paddle and the decks, so it’s like a giant sheer,” Mr. Meinardus explained. “When it was running, we’d have sirens and safety meetings, to make sure that nobody was rappelling between there.”
It was “challenging work,” he added, and nearly as dangerous to choreograph at it looked on film. But the cast and crew were elated with the way it turned out.
December 22, 2011