Tom Cruise made his big debut as Ethan Hunt in "Mission: Impossible" on May 22, 1996. The Brian De Palma-directed espionage-action flick — which centers around the fictional Impossible Missions Force and is based on a '60s TV show of the same name — was a huge hit at the global box office and spawned seven sequels. ("Mission: Impossible 7" is due in mid-2022, while the eighth installment in the massive film franchise is set to come out in the summer of 2023.) The first "M:I" movie chronicles Ethan's quest to uncover Job — the mole within the IMF responsible for killing his team and then framing him for their murders — following a mission gone horribly wrong. In honor of its big anniversary, Wonderwall.com is taking a look back at the stars of the first film in the series and how they've changed over the years.
Keep reading to catch up with Tom, Jon Voight, Emmanuelle Béart and more…
RELATED: 25 movies turning 25 in 2021
Tom Cruise starred as Impossible Missions Force agent Ethan Hunt, who's framed for killing his team following a mission gone wrong.
A year after "Mission: Impossible" debuted, Tom Cruise scored his second Oscar nomination for his work in "Jerry Maguire" — for which he also won his second Golden Globe. (He later won another Golden Globe and scored his third Academy Award nomination for his performance in "Magnolia.") In addition to his work in the "M:I" franchise, Tom has starred in a number of lauded sci-fi, action and drama films over the course of the past 25 years. He even earned raves (and yet another Golden Globe nomination) for his surprise appearance in the 2008 comedy "Tropic Thunder." The iconic yet divisive superstar spent hefty portions of 2020 and early 2021 shooting "M:I 7" — and made headlines for ranting about COVID-19 safety protocols on set and for allegedly getting close to co-star Hayley Atwell. (Back in 2017, there were also rumors about Tom's relationship with "M:I 6" co-star Vanessa Kirby.) In the years since he parted ways with third wife Katie Holmes in 2012, he's also been linked to "Oblivion" co-star Olga Kurylenko and to fellow Scientologists Laura Prepon (who's now married to Ben Foster) and Yolanda Pecoraro (who's since married Chris Masterson). After his marriage of more than a decade with second wife Nicole Kidman came to an end in 2001, he famously romanced "Vanilla Sky" co-star Penelope Cruz and briefly dated a pre-fame Sofia Vergara. In addition to the two children Tom adopted with Nicole in the early '90s, he also welcomed daughter Suri Cruise with Katie in 2006, about six months before they wed, though he hasn't been publicly seen with his daughter since 2013.
Jon Voight starred as Jim Phelps, Ethan's mentor and the leader of their IMF team.
After "Mission: Impossible," Jon Voight racked up Golden Globe nominations for "The Rainmaker," "Ali" (for which he also scored his fourth Oscar nomination) and "Ray Donovan." He took home one Globe for his work on the Showtime series and earned two Emmy nominations for his performance as the father of the titular fixer. (Other Emmy nominations stem from his work in the made-for-TV movie "Uprising" and for his portrayal of the title character on the miniseries "Pope John Paul II.") The actor — who's appeared in everything from "Anaconda" and "Varsity Blues" to "Pearl Harbor," "Transformers" and "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" over the course of the past 25 years — shared the screen with real-life daughter Angelina Jolie in 2001's "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider." (He played her character's father.) In 2022, he's set to return to the role of Mickey Donovan in the "Ray Donovan" movie.
Emmanuelle Béart starred as IMF agent Claire Phelps — Jim's wife.
Emmanuelle Béart hasn't appeared in any major Hollywood productions since "Mission: Impossible." Instead, she's worked predominantly in her native France, where she scored her eighth César Award nomination (the French equivalent of an Oscar nomination) for her work in "Les Destinées Sentimentales" in 2001. The same year "M:I" debuted, Emmanuelle reportedly welcomed her second child, son Jonah, with composer David François Moreau. (She previously had a daughter, Nelly, with actor Daniel Auteui, to whom she was briefly married in the mid-'90s.) In 2008, she married actor Michaël Cohen, with whom she adopted son Surafel the following year. They reportedly separated in 2011, and she moved on with documentary filmmaker Frédéric Chaudier, whom she married in 2018.
Ving Rhames starred as hacker Luther Stickell, a disavowed IMF agent who teams up with Ethan after his team is killed.
Aside from Tom Cruise, Ving Rhames is the only actor who's appeared in all six installments in the "Mission: Impossible" film franchise. (He's set to return to the role of Luther Stickell in "M:I 7" and "M:I 8.") He also starred in "Con Air," "Entrapment," "Baby Boy" and "Dawn of the Dead, voiced Cobra Bubbles in the "Lilo & Stitch" franchise and won a Golden Globe and scored an Emmy nomination for his performance as the titular boxing promoter in the HBO made-for-TV movie "Don King: Only in America." He split from his first wife, Valerie Scott, in 1999 and quickly moved on with his second wife, makeup artist Deborah Reed. They wed in 2000 — the same year they welcomed daughter Reign — and added son Freedom to their brood in 2002. They quietly separated in 2011 but were still legally married as of late 2020.
Jean Reno starred as helicopter pilot Franz Krieger, a disavowed IMF agent who teams up with Ethan after his team is killed.
Jean Reno went on to star in a wide range of films — from "Godzilla" and "The Pink Panther" to "The Da Vinci Code" and "Hotel Rwanda." More recently, he starred in Spike Lee's "Da 5 Bloods" and on Kevin Hart's Quibi series "Die Hart." He also works regularly in France, where he first studied acting after immigrating from his native Morocco with his family as a teen. The same year "Mission: Impossible" debuted, Jean married second wife Nathalie Dyszkiewicz and welcomed his first child, son Tom, with the Polish model. (He divorced first wife Genevieve Reno – with whom he shares a son and a daughter — the previous year.) They reportedly welcomed daughter Serena in 1998 before splitting in 2001. He married third wife Zofia Borucka in 2006. (Future French president Nicolas Sarkozy served as his best man.) They later welcomed two sons: Cielo in 2009 and Dean in 2011.
Henry Czerny starred as IMF Director Eugene Kittridge, who's convinced Ethan is the IMF mole.
Henry Czerny is set to return to the role of Eugene Kittridge in "M:I 7" — and possibly in "M:I 8" as well. Since he first portrayed the character, he's appeared in countless films — "The Pink Panther," the 2010 "The A-Team" movie and 2019's "Ready or Not" are among his biggest hits. But the Canadian actor is best known for his work on television: He starred as Conrad Grayson on "Revenge" from 2011 to 2015 and had stints on "The Tudors," "Quantico" and "Sharp Objects." When "Mission: Impossible" debuted in 1996, Henry attended the premiere with then-girlfriend Dana Delany. After they split, he married Claudine Cassidy, with whom he shares son Cameron.
Vanessa Redgrave starred as Max, an arms dealer working with the IMF mole.
Vanessa Redgrave went on to star in a wide range of films — from "Deep Impact" and "Girl, Interrupted" to "Atonement," "Foxcatcher" and "The Butler." She also starred on the short-lived medical drama "Black Box" and had a memorable stint on "Nip/Tuck" — she and real-life offspring Joely Richardson played mother and daughter on the medical drama. (Vanessa shared the screen with her other daughter, late actress Natasha Richardson, in "Evening" and "The White Countess.") She's narrated the BBC period drama "Call the Midwife" since 2012 and she can be seen in two films that debuted in May 2021: "Finding You" and "Georgetown." After she starred in "Mission: Impossible," the esteemed theater actress added three more Golden Globe nominations and three Tony nominations to her name. (She won the Tony for best actress in a play in 2003 for her work in the revival of "Long Day's Journey into Night.") In 2006, she "married" actor Franco Nero in a non-legally binding ceremony to celebrate their union after reconnecting as friends in the '90s. The duo first connected on the set of the 1967 musical "Camelot" and welcomed son Carlo before going their separate ways. (During their time apart, she had a long-term romance with Timothy Dalton.) Carlo directed his mother in the 2004 drama "The Fever," while Franco directed her in the upcoming Italian film "L'uomo che disegnò Dio," which is due later this year. Meanwhile, the extremely political English actress made her directorial debut with the 2017 documentary "Sea Sorrow," which centers around the European migrant crisis.
Kristin Scott Thomas starred as IMF agent Sarah Davies, who's killed by the IMF mole during the mission gone wrong.
A year after "Mission: Impossible" debuted, Kristin Scott Thomas scored her first Oscar nomination for her performance in "The English Patient." She then starred in "The Horse Whisperer," "The Other Boleyn Girl," "Confessions of a Shopaholic," "Darkest Hour," "Tomb Raider" and, more recently, the 2020 remake of "Rebecca." She's also an accomplished stage actress and scored an Emmy nomination for her work on a 2019 episode of "Fleabag." In the coming years, the English actress — who's spent most of her adult life in France, where she went to college — is set to reunite with "M:I" co-star Jean Reno in "The Man Who Saved Paris," make her directorial debut with the romantic drama "The Sea Change" and star in a "Tomb Raider" sequel. In 2005, Kristin and husband François Olivennes — a French fertility expert with whom she shares three children — called it quits.
Emilio Estevez starred as IMF Agent Jack Harmon, a hacker who's killed by the IMF mole during the mission gone wrong.
Emilio Estevez's career cooled after he appeared in "Mission: Impossible." He went on to star in three movies he wrote and directed: "Bobby," "The Way" and "The Public." He also appeared in a handful of made-for-TV movies, did some work as a voice actor, popped up on episodes of "The West Wing" and "Two and a Half Men" and directed episodes of "Cold Case," "CSI: NY" and "Numb3rs." He scored a major comeback in 2021 when he returned to the role of Gordon Bombay on the Disney+ series "The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers." The former Brat Packer, who's become increasingly private over the years, got engaged in Sonja Magdevski in 2006. The duo spent several years running a wine label but never made it to the altar. It appears they've since called it quits.