In a recent interview in New York City with Slashfilm, the film’s writer/director Christopher McQuarrie spoke of a lengthy ten-minute sequence cut out from the middle of the film (just after the Morocco car chase).
The sequences involves Simon Pegg and Alec Baldwin’s characters, along with the series’ signature high-tech latex masks which Benji (Simon Pegg) finally gets to wear. McQuarrie goes in-depth describing what happens in it:
“In the ten-minute chunk of the movie that we cut out, [Benji got to wear a mask]. And he shows up very unexpectedly. It was really richly rewarding. He showed up as Alec Baldwin [playing CIA chief Alan Hunley, who wants to disband the IMF]. And it was this really fun moment, and he pulls off an Alec Baldwin mask as Benji, and you’re like, ‘F–k!’ And that’s how they escaped from Alec Baldwin.
And you cut back to the embassy and you see Alec and everybody come out of the embassy and leave, and then you see Alec Baldwin come out of the embassy alone, and you’re like, ‘Did I just miss a reel or what’s happening?’ Alec Baldwin realizes it before you do, and you cut back to the car and Benji pulls off the Alec Baldwin mask and then reaches under his sleeve and pulls this tab and his Alec Baldwin bodysuit deflates, cause he’s so much bigger than Simon.
[The performance] is Alec Baldwin at his absolute finest. He’s so good in this scene. It’s Alec taking a monologue and just chewing it with his back teeth and just loving every minute of it. He has great zingers, and it’s Tom Cruise just being torn apart by Alec Baldwin. And Tom – I said, ‘I’m sorry, does this feel weird, that you don’t have anything to do in this scene?’ And Tom goes, ‘I got a front-row seat, man. This is like the greatest.’ He’s just sitting there in handcuffs with Alec Baldwin just destroying him.”
Christopher McQuarrie says it threw off the pacing and made the already complicated film even more convoluted:
“We loved it, and it was a big laugh, it was great. [But] all of the elements that made the scene work were also things that led the audience down a path that they didn’t want to go, and confused them with information they didn’t need.”