ByMark Newton, writer at
Movie Pilot Associate Editor. Email: [email protected]
Mark Newton

When we look back at the achievements of stars in their younger days, part of the attraction is reminding ourselves of how much they have changed with the intervening linear passage of time. When it comes to the original Mission: Impossible cast however, things are a little different. In fact, many of the main cast - especially Tom Cruise - seem to have accomplished the truly impossible mission of eternal youth. What is striking is how much they haven't changed.

Sure, some of them have gotten a little bit rougher around the edges, but considering almost 20 years has passed since Mission: Impossible released, the faces of our stars look like they've barely aged half that. To celebrate the recent release of Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation, let's take a look back in time at the main cast of the 1996 original movie.

Tom Cruise - Ethan Hunt

Cruise himself is the ringleader of his cast of eternal youth. I mean look at him. Sure, the hair has gone through various adjustments over the years (and maybe he's been periodically a bit chubbier around the jowls), but the fundamental features still remain mostly unchanged. He certainly doesn't look 53. Clearly Cruise is involved in some kind of sacrificial blood magic. Or maybe he just uses a good moisturizer.

Fun fact: During the famous scene in which Hunt descends into the CIA vault via cables, Cruise kept hitting his head on the floor. Eventually he got the idea of putting coins in his shoes to create equilibrium.

What has he been in since? Jerry Maguire (1996), Magnolia (1999), Mission: Impossible II (2000), Minority Report (2002), The Last Samurai (2003), War of the Worlds (2005), Mission: Impossible III (2006), Tropic Thunder (2008), Valkyrie (2008), Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol (2011), Rock of Ages (2012), Jack Reacher (2012), Edge of Tomorrow (2014), Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation (2015).

Ving Rhames - Luther Stickell

Although not quite as amazing as Cruise, Rhames still looks remarkably unchanged since 1996. Sure, his head isn't quite as shiny as it was in the late 1990s, while his soul patch has now migrated into a goatee, but it just goes to prove that if you do want to remain looking youthful, just shave all your hair off.

Fun fact: Ving Rhames has appeared in all the Mission: Impossible movies, included an uncredited appearance in Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol. Lead star, Tom Cruise, is the only other actor to achieve this.

What has he been in since? Con Air (1997), Entrapment (1999), Mission: Impossible II (2000), Lilo & Stitch (2002), Dawn of the Dead (2004), Kojak (2005), I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry (2007), Day of the Dead (2008), Piranha 3D (2010), Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol (2011), Won't Back Down (2012), Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation (2015).

Jon Voight - Jim Phelps

Even Voight, who wasn't exactly young when he appeared in Mission: Impossible, has changed remarkably little. OK, so maybe the last of his hair's color has finally jumped ship but at least it's all still basically there. The lines on his face are also slightly more furrowed, but I think this is just because he seems a bit more pissed off at the world than he was in 1996.

Fun fact: Jim Phelps is the only character from the original Mission: Impossible television series to make the jump to the big screen. In fact, when the movie was released, some fans were upset by the changes made to the character of Phelps. Peter Graves, who played Phelps in the TV series, turned down the chance to reprise the role partly for this reason.

What has he been in since? The Rainmaker (1997), Enemy of the State (1998), Pearl Harbor (2001), Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001), Zoolander (2001), National Treasure (2004), Transformers (2007), National Treasure: Book of Secrets (2007), 24 (2009), Dracula: The Dark Prince (2013).

Jean Reno - Franz Krieger

A few years ago, it would also have seemed like Reno hadn't changed in almost 20 years. After all, two decades of starring in English-speaking roles certainly hasn't changed his accent much. More recently, however, age and fine French cuisine has had an impact, while his widow's peak has finally retreated from his rugged stubble.

Fun fact: Although almost always cast in French roles, it seems (if we go by his name at least) Reno's character in Mission: Impossible is supposed to be German, Austrian or Swiss. Despite this, he still talks with a thick French accent. But hey, Europeans! They're all the same, right?

What has he been in since? Godzilla (1998), Ronin (1998), Rollerball (2002), Empire of the Wolves (2005), The Pink Panther (2006), The Da Vinci Code (2006), The Pink Panther 2 (2009), Couples Retreat (2009), Alex Cross (2012), Days and Nights (2013).

Emmanuelle Béart - Claire Phelps

If Emmanuelle Béart had let nature take its route, it's likely she might have joined the ranks of her timeless co-stars. Unfortunately, the French actresses decided to try and maintain her youth with some fairly bad plastic surgery. Since the operations, which were mostly on her lips, Béart has become a vocal critic of cosmetic surgery, claiming she now regrets the decision.

Fun fact: The role of Claire was originally offered to fellow French actress Juliette Binoche.

What has she been in since? Marcel Proust's Time Regained (1999), 8 Femmes (2002), D'Artagnan et les trois mousquetaires (2005), Disco (2008), Just the Three of Us (2010), Bye Bye Blondie (2012), My Mistress (2014).

Vanessa Redgrave - Max

At first glance it might look like Vanessa Redgrave has changed a lot over the last 20 years, but in reality her aging has been quite subtle. So her hair might have lost its color, but stick in some artificial dye and it would be like the last twenty years barely happened.

Fun fact: The role of Max was originally written for a man.

What has she been in since? Deep Impact (1998), Girl, Interrupted (1999), The Pledge (2001), Crime and Punishment (2002), The White Countess (2005), Atonement (2007) , Nip/Tuck (2004-2009), Cars 2 (2011), Foxcatcher (2014), Call The Midwife (2012-2016).


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