“Mission: Impossible” regularly features these sorts of deceptive gambits, but what makes this one so memorable is that we’re in the dark just as much as the IMF’s mark is. Blitzer’s appearance also brings verisimilitude to the fakeout. Since he’s a real newscaster, we’re inclined to trust his presence more so than if it was a fictional TV host in the scene.
As a result, most of Blitzer’s cameo is a screen within a screen; he only shows up physically when Benji walks up to Ethan and Luther then dramatically pulls off his mask in front of Delbruuk. On the audio commentary for “Fallout,” Cruise and director Christopher McQuarrie revealed that they gave Blitzer the mask prop as a gift:
McQuarrie: “[Wolf Blitzer] was so delightful. And we gave him a mask. We sent him a gift of a Wolf mask.”
Cruise: “It’s fantastic. In a clear box.”
McQuarrie: “Yes, in a clear box.”
Cruise: “He’s got his own Wolf mask.”
Take a look at the mask with some behind-the-scenes photos here. Now, since Hollywood’s tech isn’t quite up to snuff with the IMF’s, the prop Wolf Blitzer mask is nowhere near as uncannily lifelike as it’s meant to be in the movie. Take note of the black dots, which are markers for digital enhancement. Even so, the tactility of the mask is undeniable. One can only wonder if Blitzer kept the souvenir — I can’t imagine keeping a boxed, latex copy of my own face on a shelf, but I’ve also never gotten to play myself in a Hollywood blockbuster. With a name like “Wolf Blitzer,” the man definitely belongs in the movies.