Piccadilly Circus in Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation
Date posted: 01.07.2015
When secret agent Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) first catapulted his way onto our screens in Mission: Impossible, London had a place firm place in the global franchise, showing off the likes of Liverpool Street as a safe house and Anchor Tavern along Bankside. Fast forward to Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation and the capital is once again firmly in the midst of the action.
Directed by Christopher McQuarrie (Jack Reacher), Hunt must assemble a team of agents to track down the Syndicate - a criminal organisation of assassins and rogue killers. However, the Syndicate operates in the mist, so Hunt and his team must also prove its existence before doing whatever it takes to bring them down.
Iconic Piccadilly Circus with its various crossings and never-ending traffic was a clear choice in location for the thriller. The name of the location itself is used as shorthand for the hustle and bustle of the street rammed with the rush of tourism and life. The location and its surroundings proved the perfect backdrop for scenes requiring naturalistic crowds for Hunt to immerse himself.
As Nigel Gale at Westminster explains, the logistical challenges were many. The production had "originally planned to shoot in the early hours", but then people started talking about secretly filming international celebrity Cruise at 9:00pm in a still-congested Piccadilly Circus.
For the scene to work, the production needed to film incognito. Handheld cameras were used while Cruise made traversed discreetly through the crowds and traffic. As Gale explains: "With some innovative thinking, the crew agreed to go totally covert with only Top Cat in view weaving in and amongst the public."
With Cruise being a high profile name, word inevitably got out. Gale recounts, "paparazzi were everywhere, but no one saw a thing - by the time they'd realised he'd already gone" - testament to the hard work and talent of the crew and location!
Filming at Piccadilly Circus
Piccadilly Circus lies at the heart of the West End. This particular street junction is iconic in its own right and links theatres from Shaftesbury Avenue, Haymarket and Coventry Street. Filming at Piccadilly Circus affords views of Piccadilly and Regent Street. Famous for its illuminated signs, advertisements grace the north-western corner.
Equally recognisable are the steps that lead to Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain as well as the Statue of Eros. Criterion Theatre and London Pavilion exteriors are also in view and there are various London Underground subway entrances.
The Special Events & Filming Team in Westminster is responsible for all on street filming in Piccadilly Circus. Download the map below, mark your intended position for filming and submit it online with your completed Filming Application Form.